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9 September 2015

9 September 2015 – Plume, Veneer, Mullein and Farewell

Common Grass-veneer (Agriphila tristella)

The Common Grass-veneer (Agriphila tristella) is another of those moths that has been recorded but not photographed. It must have been caught in the early days of trapping at Shandy Hall when the moths were identified by Dave Chesmore (thereby guaranteeing accuracy) but the obsession of recording had only just begun.  So here it is amongst this little gallery of images that date from a couple of weeks ago.

Plume Moth (**)

The Plume Moth is a particular favourite but this one has slipped by without certain identification.  I am pretty sure it is Stenoptilia sterodactyla but I could easily be wrong as there are a number of these spectacular micro-moths.  I remember seeing a White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla) in our back garden in Bilborough when aged about 5 years old.  It left an impression.  


Mullein caterpillar (and something else)

The Mullein Moth caterpillar can be seen bottom right but the main purpose of the photograph was to try to record the flight of the Hummingbird Hawkmoth that can be seen as a blur in the middle of the image.  Don’t look too hard as it is not worth the effort.  The moth appeared about a month ago and was spotted by a visitor to the gardens who identified it correctly as it zipped in and out of the jasmine flowers.  The Mullein Moth caterpillar munched on the figwort leaf oblivious of its own flighty future.

Mullein Moth (caterpillar)

And now a ‘farewell’ from Ariel…

My time at Shandy Hall concluded with the smallest trap we’ve seen yet. There must have been only 20-30 moths in the egg-cartons, and they were all ones we’d seen before: Underwings, Square Spot, Bird-cherry Ermine, Barred fruit-tree Tortrix, Flounced Rustic, and Snout. This dearth of moths was probably due to the full moon last night, which was enormous and bright; it clearly overshadowed the smaller light source of our trap. But on the positive side, I was able to recognize all of these moths, and I’ve noticed that the amount of deeply-colored and strange-shaped ones is only increasing as summer draws to a close; which means the pictures you’ll be seeing in this space will only get more interesting as time goes by. Included is a photograph of the moonrise last evening; it’s the point of light in the left, and you can see the sunset on the right.

Post : Ariel A Smith [UPenn]