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8 June 2012

7 June 2012 – A Fussy Bunch

Unidentified Pug
Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata)

This morning was a bit comical as the three moths I wanted to photograph were the three most energetic. The first moth, the Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata), zipped out of the trap as soon as it was uncapped, leaving me to hop around the garden as it escaped my reach time and time again. I was finally able to take a snapshot of it as it rested in the yew tree. The picture helps you see how it derived part of its Latin name, Xanthorhoe montanata. Xanthorhoe is Latin for stream, an appropriate comparison for the wavy designs on its forewings. Montana refers to the mountainous regions in Vienna where the Silver-ground Carpet was first discovered.

The next species, the Silver Y was a close relative to yesterday’s Beautiful Golden Y. If you read yesterday’s post you can probably guess the meaning of its Latin name, Autographa gamma. Gamma refers to the Greek letter “ɣonits forewings that looks as if it’s autographa, “written in its own hand”. This moth positioned itself as inconveniently as possible, deep in the crevice of an egg carton. While this species is normally docile in the morning, this particular one began to fly around as soon as I tried to ease it into a more exposed location.

However, none of the moths were as relentless as the pug moth we captured. I chased it around the yard twice before refrigerating it with the hopes that it would calm down. Eventually, I gave in and let it free. It didn’t go too far so I was able to snap a photograph. However, its markings were not revealing enough for us to confidently identify it. Take a look at the picture and send us a tweet @LSterneTrust if you think you know which Pug it is.

Otherwise, we had the usual species for this time of year: a Poplar Hawk, a White Ermine, and a Common Swift. We can’t wait until the weather starts to feel like a proper June so that we can wake up to a new species.

Post by Helen Levins