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7 July 2017

7 July 2017 – Sipper of Dew

Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis)

Last night’s trap, in my opinion, was a success. While we did not increase the number of species to Shandy Hall, there were plenty which I have never seen before, including some interesting macro moths.

The Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis) was one of those. It was one of the first moths I noticed when looking into the trap as the light bouncing off its white body made it shine, almost like a beacon. The infamous yellow tail was not visible at first, but viewing the fluffy moth from a different angle exposed the golden abdomen. Its scientific name refers to its yellow tail, as Eu means ‘good’ and proctis means ‘backside’. The other half of the binomial similis means ‘similar’ because it resembles the Brown-tail (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) species. The larvae of the Yellow-tail feed on deciduous trees and shrubs.

The Drinker (Euthrix potataria)

As I was examining one of the egg boxes, looking closely for any micro moths, I looked underneath and there lay a peculiar shaped moth. This moth is called The Drinker (Euthrix potatoria), and it was resting in a spot previously occupied by an egg; the two don’t look too dissimilar either. I may go so far as to call it cute even, with its seemingly chubby body and pointed head. Its name Euthrix means ‘hair’, describing the hairy adult, and potatoria means ‘pertaining to drinking’, referring to the drinking habits of the larvae. Grasses and reeds make up the main diet for the caterpillars of The Drinker, but they also have an attraction to drops of dew, hence its name.

Double Lobed (Apamea ophiogramma)

The Double Lobed (Apamea ophiogramma), was another moth found in our trap from last night. It can be easily identified with its unmistakable pattern of two circular lobes, one on each wing. Apamea ophiogramma, meaning ‘snake marking’, makes reference to the meandering edge creating a partition between the two contrasting light and dark colors. The larvae feed on reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and reed sweet-grass (Glycera maxima).  I need to confirm whether either of these plants are in the gardens here in Coxwold.

Along with these three species, we have also found Cryptoblabes bistriga, Clouded Silver, Common Emerald, Crambus lathoniellus, Green Arches, Elephant Hawk-moth, Muslin Footman, and Mottled Rustic, to name but a few.

Post : Walter Chen [UPenn intern]