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Shandy Hall Moths

Mullein moth

13 June 2023

12 June 2023 – Sharks in Coxwold

My first time sighting a shark (moth) at Shandy Hall! I’ve been terrified of sharks my whole life, but this little fellow was quite docile and fuzzy – far from fearsome. Shargacucullia refers to a genus of moths known as the Sharks, or, as translated, the Shark-Hooded ones. Verbasci is simply the genitive of Verbascum, […]

Spectacle moth

10 June 2023

6 June 2023 – A Real Spectacle

Peering into the moth trap this morning yielded a pair of eyes, staring right back! Abrostola tripartita, or ‘Spectacle,’ sports two unmistakable black spots surrounded by white, giving the impression of two eyes, (or perhaps a pair of reading glasses) on the thorax when viewed from the front. Seemingly, these “eyes” could give unsuspecting predators […]

7 August 2022

13 July 2022 – Which is which?

I think this is the most difficult species identification that I have attempted so far.  I have spent a couple of hours looking at some micro-moths which I can barely see, but even then they weren’t as perplexing as this one.  I am still not 100% sure that my hypothesis (or hymothesis) is correct.  I […]

7 August 2022

10 July 2022 – Unusual Plume

The Dot Moth!  A rather ‘ordinary’ name for a moth.  Many species have dots, so what makes this one so special?  The scientific name Melanchra persicariae (black complexion, peach tree) doesn’t really give any clues, though it is more descriptive than just a dot.  There is a small orange dot on the thorax, but because […]

6 July 2022

29 June 2022 – Moths in Disguise

Buff-tip (Phalera bucephalia) Here we have the fabulous Buff-tip, blending in flawlessly with a piece of tree bark.  It does not stand out in some ways: its buff tips! Hence the name.  ‘Buff’ refers to the light-yellow color, as in ‘Buff Ermine’ (a moth of similar colour) not muscles.  It makes you wonder why it […]

22 June 2022

20 June 2022 – Headstand Moth

Argyresthia spinosella  If you don’t look closely you might well miss the tiny Argyresthia spinosella as it is smaller than the fingernail on my thumb – about 4mm.  It is also quite difficult to identify.  It is similar to a few others in the Argyresthia family, namely A. conjugella (the Apple Fruit Moth) and A. […]

22 June 2022

17 June 2022 – White-pinion Spotted

White-pinion Spotted (Lomographa bimaculata) How ethereal the White-pinion Spotted looks on a sunny morning.  It is such a bright white that its wings are almost transparent.  The only immediately recognizable visual features this little moth has are the two brownish dots on the costa.  In fact that’s how it came to be named; Loma- meaning […]

19 June 2022

16 June 2022 – Comfrey Ermel

Comfrey Ermel (Ethmia quadrillella) A micro moth which looks like a longhorn cow with its black and white spots and long antennae!  This little beauty is an Ethmia quadrillella, sometimes known as the Comfrey Ermel.  It is found on the eastern side of England and is local in the British Isles.  However, it is present […]

Dotted Border

7 March 2022

7 March 2022 – Unexpected Gathering

Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)   ‘Too early for moths’ is not an expression that can be applied to these creatures.     Throughout the winter months many species find the conditions perfectly acceptable – notwithstanding the winds, gales and other tempests that cause such disruption.     This morning I came upon five moths clinging to the kitchen […]

10 November 2021

9 November 2021 – Muffled against the Cold

December Moth (Poecilocampa populi)       A reliable arrival, as soon as the weather begins to turn, is the December Moth.  Muffled against the cold it is able to survive despite the overnight frosts of November. The scientific name makes reference to the larva (kampe in Greek) and its appearance, which is ‘varied’ (poekilos); […]

10 October 2021

10 October 2021 – Autumnal Confusion

Northern Winter Moth (Operophtera fagata) Is it a Northern Winter Moth or is it a Winter Moth?  Or is it a November Moth? Or perhaps a Pale November Moth?  I could try searching for the wingless female (of whichever species it is) in the dark tonight and that might help with identification. I did catch […]

9 September 2021

9 September 2021 – Reed Mace and Wainscots

Bulrush Wainscot (Nonagria typhae)    A surprise in the trap this morning, a very welcome surprise.  The dominant species flying that night was immediately apparent – Setaceous Hebrew Characters (Xestia c-negrum) were clinging to every surface with dozens of crane flies for company.  A Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria) and a few Brimstone Moths (Oposthograptis lutolata) […]