27 June 2016 - Difficult Identification

(Phycitodes maritima)
This moth was captured on 25 June. It has greyish silver wings, ‘seeded’ at one-half and two-thirds down, and palps that curve around clayish black eyes. I believed that I had identified it as a Phycitodes maritima, but because of the poor condition of the insect I could not get a solid confirmation from Charlie Fletcher, who nonetheless said that maritima is more than likely to be correct. Whether it counts as our 378th species or not, it is definitely worth an honorary mention as no member of the Phycitodes genus has been recorded at Shandy Hall before.

Phycitodes maritima (top view)

Created in 1917, the genus Phycitodes is a fairly new one. ‘Eidos’ or the prefix ‘od-‘ means form or shape, so Phycitodes means a genus resembling Phycita. The latter’s name is taken from ‘phukos’, a sea-weed from which a red dye was prepared, or ‘phykītis’, a precious stone showing the same color. This can be confusing as the our species is by no means red and can only be said to resemble the other in the shape of its labial palpa, the way its wings are folded, and the presence of black dots. When looking up the illustration for it, I found that the genus Phycita used to be a lot bigger and encompassed species which are now considered very much akin to ours, such as Homoeosoma nebulella and Phycitodes binaevella. So, here is a plate of all the Phycita’s! And you can try to guess which one is our maritima.

Other moths in the trap were also difficult to identify and it took some serious squinting to make out a P. perlucidalis, a S. ambigualis, and a Small Square-spot. Buff Arches and Riband Wave were also nice finds as they were new to me.

On Friday evening (1 July) the gardens at Shandy Hall are open for the National Garden Scheme. We will set the trap on Thursday night and hope that there will be something for visitors to see before the moths are released.  All are welcome.

Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

26 June 2016 - New 'Bird Dropping' Moth

Epiblema trimaculana
Though to me the scenery may not change much from day to day, the moth world is seeing a total revamp. The first of the summer for the Barred-fruit Tree Moth, Common Footman, Common Wave, Coxcomb Prominent, Large Yellow-underwing, Phlyctaenia perlucidalis, Straw Dot, and Uncertain have all made an appearance, while some previously abundant species – Small Square-spot, Diamond Back – have diminished in number. A total of 38 species were recorded, including one new: Epiblema trimaculana, identification confirmed by Charlie Fletcher.

E. trimaculana (from above)
This is the second Epiblema species I have seen, the other one being E. cynosbatella. Comepared to the latter, E. trimaculana has a narrower forewing, lacks the yellow palps, and, as suggested by its name, shows three (tri-) spots (macula) in the ocellar region of the forewing. Below is our moth illustrated under the name Spilonota trimaculana, showing the slipperiness of the naming system and the degree of similarities between the so-called ‘bird dropping’ moths. From now on, I shall get a nervous twitch in the stomach whenever I see a member of this family – not from the appetizing nickname but the difficulty of identification. It brings our species count to 377.

E. trimaculana (illustration)
The Common Footman (Eilema lurideola) is a rather Lego-looking piece of a gem. Wearing a conspicuous grey and yellow, this moth has a fashion sense that informs both its common and scientific name. I learn that it got the former from the long livery of the footman, which is echoed in the involuted forewings at rest. The same is implied by its scientific name, where ‘eilēma’ means ‘a veil’ and luridus pale yellow (from the costal streaks).

Common Footman (Eilema lurideola)

Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

22 June 2016 - Not a Threadbare Carpet

Dark Marbled Carpet (Dysstroma citrata )

We are in luck to finally get a photograph of the Dark Marbled Carpet (Dysstroma citrata) here at Shandy Hall.* Having decided that this moth was a worn Broken-barred Carpet, I had to struggle with myself for quite a time when I was informed of its true identity by Dr. Chesmore. Staring into the jagged lines in the subterminal area is like beholding a print of Katsushika Hokusai’s waves, the thrusting vigor of which is then checked by a more somber inky overtone.  

It was great fun trying to decode the moth's scientific identity as, through the years, it has undergone many changes since Linnaeus coined the name Phalaena citrata, where ‘phalaina’ is a term used by Aristotle for a moth, and 'citrata' a reference to the orange colour displayed on its forewings. It then came under the genus Chloroclysta: ‘khlōros’ meaning greenish yellow and ‘kluzo’, to wash off or away, both vividly describe the ground colour and wavy markings of this insect. We believe that one of the three moths illustrated below pertains to our species, as two of them bear the names marmorata and immanata, which are listed as synonyms to D. citrata, though with the different generic name, Polyphasia.

Dark Marbled Carpet - but which one?

The last two traps have held many wonders for me: the mouse-like appearance of the Brown House-moth, the perky resting position of the Barred Straw, the sequin shimmer of the Gold Spot and Burnished Brass, and the most stunning and visceral of them all – the Blood-vein. I cannot help but wonder how such flagrant beauty can survive in nature, though perhaps I should refrain from venturing any more anthropocentric judgments.

(Crambus lathoniellus)

I have also taken a liking to micromoths for their dazzling variety and their fine markings that will put to shame even the most scrupulous ceramic glazing. Four were new to me – Crambus lathoniellus (above), Timothy Tortrix (Aphelia paleana), Plutella porrectella, and Eucosma cana, each with a distinct resting position, palpus, head shape, and patterning, making identification a great joy.

*We had the moth listed as having been identified by Dr Chesmore at Shandy Hall, but  that was before this blog was started and we had no photographic proof.
Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

20 June 2016 - Chance Encounter

(Dicroramphra .agg)
A few nights ago, a stroll in the garden with a cup of hot chocolate in my hands destined my encounter with this moth. I searched myself for a camera but alas! I had made the conscious decision not to bring any technology on the walk (the one time!). I hurried back for my phone, but when I came back - it was gone. The moth's distinctive creamy mid-body blotch occupied my mind the whole of next day, so much so that, when I was doing the identifications for the following day’s trap, I was also secretly looking for an illustration that matched my chance encounter. I was forced to give up my obsessive search because my mental image of it was not sharp enough. I tried to let it go by telling myself that it was an after hours interlude anyway.

Last night, however, I found it again, at the same spot, at the same time! Fortunately, this time I was able to get a decent picture of it and examine it leisurely – although my two guesses, Epiblema turbidana and Epinotia tenerana were incorrect and I had to consult the expert. Charlie Fletcher told me that it is a Dichrorampha but that anything beyond that would require dissection. With that information I then went on the Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight website and found that only three in the genus are active around this time of the year. The mid-body mark on the D. petiverella and the D.alpinana both seemed cleaner and more well-defined than that on our specimen, so my best guess is that it is a D. montanana.

Pseudotomia circle a Corn Cockle*
If, like me, you are thinking the name Dichrorampha is a proper tongue twister, at least the name-giver (A.Guenée) himself agreed. - In this name, which I unsuccessfully tried to make less of a mouthful and easier on the ear, I wanted to draw attention to the palpi. Thus, ‘dikhroos’, two-coloured and ‘rhamphē’, a hooked knife, both refer to the moth's labial palpus.

Any member of the Dichrorampha family is new to Shandy Hall so, regardless of which species it is, it happily adds to our species count which now stands at 376.

*The illustration shows members of the Pseudotomia family, one of which will be our Dichrorampha - but which one?  The common corn cockle (Agrostemma gittago) can be found (introduced) in the wild garden at Shandy Hall.

Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

17 June 2016 - The Moth with the Striped Antenna

Coleophera mayrella
I was beginning to think that moth-trapping is merely a serendipitous venture, but it turns out that you really have to know what you are looking for so as not to miss any precious species. 

This little one (above) has been confirmed by Charlie Fletcher as Coleophora mayrella, a newcomer to Shandy Hall. No bigger than 7mm and matching the dark color of the trap, it would have been easily missed by untrained eyes (like mine). Luckily, a shimmer of its wings gave it away, and we were able to collect it in a vial for a closer inspection. I first thought it was a C. trifolii because of the metallic golden green, but Charlie pointed out that it is far too small for a trifolii and that its striped antenna is diagnostic of C. mayrella instead. This species isn't, however, included in the Lewington guide so perhaps I can be excused.  

Metallosetia spissicornis (Fig 35)
Its current name refers to U. Mayer, the person who sent the specimen for identification. An alternative version of the name, Porrectaria spissicornis, coined in 1828 by Haworth gives a better reference for its appearance. Porrectus, meaning ‘outstretched’, indicates its forward-extended antenna; spissus (thick) and cornu (a horn), both denote the thickened base of the antenna. The 1845 illustration (above) records it under yet another name, Metallosetia spissicornis, a nod to its color.

(Tinea semifulvella)
Also new is this delightful Tinea semifulvella. This species is distinguished by the reddish orange cap of scales on its head and a black tornal spot. The larval form feeds on birds' nests, animal carcasses and clothes, hence the name tinea, meaning a gnawing worm. Semi (half), and fulvus (reddish yellow), appeal to the color of its distal forewing. Below is an old illustration with an out-of-date name, ‘the fulvus-tip’.

(Tinea semifulvella)

It was also high time that I met the Peppered Moth (Biston betularia), whose evolution into the carbonaria form during the Industrial Revolution plagued every introduction to biology textbook that I have ever come across. 

Peppered Moth (Biston betularia)

Other moths I had not seen before - Garden Grass Veneer, Scalloped Hazel, Eyed Hawkmoth (which was sort of a jack-in-the-box experience for me), Common Marbled Carpet, and Least Black Arches.  The Common Marbled Carpet, to our surprise, laid a dozen eggs in the tube in which it was being kept. We will be monitoring them so fingers crossed that they hatch.

The species count is now 375.

Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

14 June 2016 - Knot Grass

Knot Grass (Acronicta rumicis)
With the epic influx of Diamond Backs making BBC News, moths are now en vogue – bad news for cabbages, surprize news for moth enthusiasts. 

A trap put out on 13 June had plenty of lodgers, many of which were new to me: Silver Y, Fan-foot, Garden Pebble, Argyresthia trifasciata, Bright-line Brown Eye, Ingrailed Clay, Middle-barred Minor, Epiblema cynosbatella, Celypha lacunana, Scorched Wing, Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Small Angle Shades, and Water Carpet - but also the unrecorded Knot Grass. 

Knot Grass (illustration)
After staring at the ‘eyes’ on the forewing of this individual for a good while, I confirmed with Dr. Chesmore that my identification was correct - welcome to the Knot Grass (Acronicta rumicis). The first ever to be seen at Shandy Hall, it brings our species count to 373! This moth has a distinct chalky white mark near its trailing corner and a shaky white cross-line on the outer edge. ‘Akronux’ means ‘nightfall’ in Greek, probably a skew on Noctuidae, the name of its family, since this moth actually flies at night and not at dusk.

A illustration from 1843 (above) shows the Knot Grass next to a dewberry plant which belongs to the genus Rubus, after which the moth is named (rumicis). Another foodplant is the bramble and the moth used to be referred to as ‘bramble moth’, though this seems no longer to be in use. This moth has a stunning larval form with bright orange spiracles.

(Argyresthia trifasciata)
Like a shiny candy wrap, Argyresthia trifasciata is distinguished by the golden luster and three (tri-) stripes (fascia) on its wings. The only other time it has been recorded here was in 2013, since it is very local and quite scarce. I was very keen on getting all the micros identified (my co-worker remarked that I was turning into ‘the moth lady’), but was amazed at how many of them required dissection, which is where we draw the line.  Fortunately this moth is one that can be identified by observation only.

Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

13 June 2016 - Wet Weekend

Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi )
In the wild garden, the bucket of rain that had collected from our Japanese rain chain (kusari doi) shows that it rained plenty the night before. Even so a total of 17 species turned up in our trap in the garden on the morning of 10 June, including one example of the theme for this year's National Moth Night, the Poplar Hawk Moth (Laothoe populi).

Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella) 
Although all the other species seemed to replicate the result of our last trap, it was my first time seeing a Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis), the most recorded species in Yorkshire at this time of year. A petite Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata) was playing elusive by resting in all kinds of positions and almost had us think it was a species we hadn't seen before. Also in the trap: Brimstone Moth, Bee Moth, Green Carpet, Buff Ermine, White Ermine, Silver-ground Carpet, Orange Swift, Pale Tussock, Sandy Carpet, Diamond Back, Beautiful Golden Y, Clouded-Bordered Brindle, Small Square-spot, and a couple of  pugs. 

Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata)

The following two nights were drenched in storms, making it to difficult to do anymore trapping. Although moths will fly in the rain there are too many drowned casualties in and around the trap to justify the action. We are hoping to set one up tonight, but again nature will have the last say.

Post : Tung Chau (UPenn)

9 June 2016 - Two Nights in One

Diamond Back (Plutella xylostella)
I arrived in England when it was emerging from a fortnight of unprecedented cold. The sun returned with a vengeance and has been grilling the pastures outside my kitchen window for three whole days – an unusual occurrence I am told. For all its glory, the warmth was deceptive, for the nights were still too chilly for a decent yield in the moth trap. Compared to the frantic bee swarm that commandeered the roof of the cottage this morning, our moth trap, which was set up the night of Sunday 5 June, made a pretty modest entry. The species we found were pretty high up on the ‘Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight’ list. Still, there was joy turning over an egg box and spotting a stunning pattern like that of the Pale-shouldered Brocade, which recalls for me Persian rugs and fractal art. The other ones present were: Common Swift, Buff Ermine, Rustic Shoulder Knot, Diamond Back, Lychnis, Common Pug, White Ermine, and Clouded-bordered Brindle.

Lychnis (Hedena bicruris)
Sitting down with the close-up photographs I had taken and my field guides, I had a sudden flashback to my Art History exam where I was asked to identify a work of art from a nitty-gritty detail chosen from a reservoir of some three hundred. One learns to recognize a Picasso when he or she sees one; I guess the same goes for moths. By the time I had finished my first nine identifications (with help)I felt ready to dive into this new field encompassing not only biology but also art and etymology. 

I was thrilled, for instance, to find that the Plutella part of the name Plutella xylostella (Diamond Back) has a number of derivations. It can be rooted in ‘ploutos’, meaning ‘wealth’, or ‘plutos’, meaning ‘washed’, the latter of which would be consistent with the smudged markings on the insect's wings. However taking the mythical path, the word could derive from Pluto, the Roman god of the Underworld. It appears that the German naturalist Schrank (1747 - 1835), a name-giver for moths and butterflies, had a penchant for names of Greek gods or mythical creatures – especially the grimmer ones (e.g. Hadena, Maniola) – a coincidence that we got both Pluto and Hades in the trap?

Meanwhile, in this earthly realm we are hoping for the cold to recede for National Moth Night running Thursday 9 June through Saturday 11 June.

Apple Fruit Moth (Argyresthia conjugella)

A second trap set in the quarry on the night of 7 June redeemed the first, with higher yields in number as well as species. When I arrived the rim and the lid of the trap were littered with what must have been hundreds of Diamond Backs (Plutella xylostella) – apparently so many have not been seen before at Shandy Hall and might have been due to an increase in one food plant in the wild garden. 

We discovered a precious little Apple Fruit Moth (Argyrestina conjugella) that blended into the swarm of Diamond Backs. A scarce and local resident, this species has only been recorded 13 times in Yorkshire and was recorded at Shandy Hall for the first time in June 2014. The metallic sheen on the forewings earns it the first part of its name, in which ‘arguros’ means silver and ‘esthes’, a dress. 

I watched Patrick fish out one egg box after another like a magician to reveal the striking contours of a Poplar Hawk Moth, a Pale Tussock, a Clouded-silver, a Little Emerald, along with a wide assortment of Geometridae and Noctuidae. The Pale Prominent (Pterostoma papina) caught my eyes. With three ridges on its back, its sculpted scallop-shaped forewing, and its feathery labial palps, which gives it the name of its genus Pterostoma ('feathery mouth'). The first generation of this moth flies May-June and has been greeting the previous interns at around this time of the year without fail. I am glad to finally join the squad.

Pale Prominent (Pterostoma palpina)

I had a generous welcome from a Mottled Pug (Eupithecia exiguata), which hugged my sleeve and posed conveniently against the pink material. Much of its dorsum had flaked off and the markings had faded considerably, but the interlace of dark and light vein marks were still visible. The name Eupithecia comes from ‘eu’, meaning good and ‘pithēx’, meaning dwarf – allegedly a compliment to the moth's elegant resting position with wings fully spread. This pug feeds on hawthorn (Crataegus), which is enjoying an exceptionally jolly and long blossom season in Yorkshire.

Mottled Pug (Eupithecia exiguata)

And a bonus – we finally have a picture of the May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata) on our own patch! The moth showed itself for the first time last year and it is not common. It is distinguished by a light-colored band going across the wings with two staple marks, and three parallel dark streaks near the fore-wing tips running along the veins. 

May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata)

Post : Tung Chau (University of Pennsylvania intern)

6 May 2016 - Quakers and a New Species

Powdered Quaker (Orthosia gracilis)
The night was chilly once again.  The owl, for all his feathers, sounded somewhat a-cold as he hooted from the granary roof and the idea that any moths would be out and about seemed optimistic.  When both traps were examined the following morning a grand total of 15 moths could be found hiding in the egg-boxes - the majority being in the trap set in the quarry which was probably a degree or two warmer than the large lawn.  
A Powdered Quaker (only the second recorded), four Common Quakers, a Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) (again rarely seen in Coxwold and previously not photographed), six Hebrew Characters, a Streamer, a Pale Pinion and a male Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica).  

Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda)

The traps had been set for National Gardens Scheme on Friday evening opening and Dave Chesmore kindly turned up to inform and identify. I had misidentified the Small Quaker. Orthosia is an epithet for Artemis (the huntress) and cruda has the meaning 'unripe'. Dave turned Artemisian and with his net swishing before him disappeared into the quarry. It was good fortune he did for he managed to capture a moth he had not seen before. The moth is pictured below.

(Phyllonorycter blancardella)
This moth is not uncommon and is a 'leaf-digger' (phyllonorycter) named after the Dutch lepidopterist, S. Blankaart.  It is very small indeed and does not appear in the 'Field Guide to Micromoths' and is very low down on the list of moths flying in Yorkshire at this time of year.  A new species on the first trap of 2016 makes the total 372.

NGS Identify and release evening

27 October 2015 - Wormingford Moths

Bottengoms Farm, Wormingford

Shandy Hall dates from 1430.  Bottengoms Farm is probably earlier, probably Saxon.  A period of time that allows a wide enough margin to encompass the ancient feeling of this spot, in this dell, down a track.  The day had been glorious with warm sun and not a breath of wind, winding down to a perfect, early Autumn evening. But the forecast was for a cold night.  The trap was set with the hope that surely something mothy would be attracted to the mercury vapour lamp.  Ronnie Blythe had kindly agreed to let me to introduce the moth-trap to this wonderful, luxuriant wild place.  I was anxious in case nothing was to be found the following morning. 

Deep-brown Dart (Aporophyla lutulenta)
The Deep-brown Dart was the first to be seen, clinging to the white sheet that had been laid on the grass.  It was new to me. I wasn't certain that this was the correct identification but I was sure that I hadn't seen one like it before. Charlie Fletcher confirmed and told me that there is possibly a Northern version of this species.  The scientific name refers to 'difficulty' (aporos) and 'muddy' (lutulentus) which pretty much sums up its appearance.  But it was also a new moth so was imbued with that special quality of not having been seen before.

Merveille du Jour (Griposia aprilina)
This moth is the complete opposite to the Deep-brown Dart.  I had already seen one in Monks Eleigh about an hour before and of all the possible moths that might be found I had hoped this would be seen at Wormingford.  Anxiety dispelled, the rest of the egg-boxes were examined and a total of fifteen species was recorded - not brilliant but far, far better than I had expected.

Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum)

The Turnip Moth looked very spruce with its distinct decal markings on the forewings.  Not a common moth in the shadow of the Hambleton Hills but much more common down in Suffolk.  This earthy moth is seen as a pest of root crops - the scientific name making reference to the 'Countryman of the crop-field'. 

Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa)

The Lunar Underwing has been seen in all of the gardens visited this Autumn but this must be the most sumptuous of all of them.  The thick plush around the head and the beautiful palette of browns and creams made this one stand out.

Brown-spot Pinion (Agrochola litura)
'A smearing on a wax writing tablet' is the meaning of litura. A good example for a writer's house.  And 'of the field' agrochola. The author of Akenfield, Under a Broad Sky and The Circling Year (to name but three of Ronald Blythe's brilliant accounts of life in the countryside) has the perfect companion flitting around the old long house on Autumn evenings.

Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)

The Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria) is a handsome moth and always a pleasure to see. The other species trapped that evening were: Setaceous Hebrew Character, Rosy Rustic, Red-line Quaker, Chestnut, Beaded Chestnut, Yellow Underwing, Sallow and Common Marbled Carpet.  I thought there was a Common Rustic as well but the flight times don't correspond with Suffolk Moths 'What's Flying Tonight', so one moth is unidentified.  [Wormingford is in Essex but only just over the Stour so apologies to the excellent Herts and Essex Moths.]

Ronald Blythe and friends with moth lamp

15 October 2015 - Suffolk Trapping

Feathered Ranunculus (Polimixis lichenae)
Sunday night was spent in Suffolk, just down the road from Lavenham, in the village of Monks Eleigh.  The weather forecast made no promises and even though the afternoon was warm, after a spectacular sunset, the evening turned chilly.  The trap was set close to a stand of bamboo next to a river with hundreds of willow trees on the opposite bank.  A check was made at midnight but the only sign of life was a small group of caddis flies using the rain-shield as a ballroom floor.

The morning brought good fortune and the sight of a Merveille du Jour in the grass a few yards from the light made the journey from the north worthwhile.  Some moths never quite make it to the light-trap and the M du Jour is one of those that can often be found on the sheet or just close by.  

The next moth to be seen was very prettily painted. The Feathered Ranunculus (Polimixis lichenae) was quite active as it was being photographed, making little darting runs rather like the Mouse Moth.  The scientific name refers to the mixture of colouring on the wings (mixis) and polus meaning 'much'; another interpretation could be that the moth is promiscuous (polumix) but this seems unlikely.  This moth has not been seen at Shandy Hall but it can occasionally be seen in North Yorkshire.

Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra)
The Black Rustic has a powerful presence with its inky colouring and little white squints of kidney marks with just a hint of orange mixed in.  The moth feeds on heathers and clovers and can be found over most of the country - but only during September and October.

Red Underwing (Catocala nupta)
The Red Underwing is always worth seeing.  Two were found on this Monday morning, one very active and restless and the other much more restrained.  It is a big moth and can be found near willow, aspen and poplar and especially on riverbanks.  The trap had been placed in the perfect location. The moth that was released flew high into the air and found a resting place at the top of a tall willow leaving a flash of red and white in the morning light. 

Merveille du Jour (Griposia aprilina)
Here is that special moth, the Merveille du Jour.  Even photographed with an egg-box as a background it transcends its location and almost pulses with colour.

Another trap was set on the same night - in Wormingford.  As soon as a couple of moths have been passed before the eyes of the experts a full list will be posted on the next blog.

28 September 2015 - Leamington Spa Moths

Nigel Hutchinson with moth trap
The weather forecast was not promising, although in early evening the sky was largely clear, a waxing moon rising. The moth trap looking like an alien spacecraft touched down on the lawn. An otherworldly cool glow filling the garden like stagelights for all-night performances. Overnight it rained more heavily than predicted, with a consequent drop in temperature. In the morning only nine moths and two crane flies in the trap.

Patrick unpacking with care and identifying most moths. I realised at this point how conditional identification is, are they old, are they worn? Puzzled too that not all micro-moths are as small as their name suggests. 

Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa)

The Underwing family well represented. The Large Yellow (Noctua pronuba) with its buttery surprise flashes of colour the commonest. Lesser Yellow Underwings (Noctua comes) too, convincingly camouflaged. They may be curious to us and worthy of study, but to other creatures they're just food! Subtle details of patterning identified the Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa). Intrigued by this, omphalos is the Greek word for 'navel'. Omphalos stones were the 'navel of the world' where contact could be made with the gods, such as at Delphi. Is this the origin of the moth's name? Why?

Silver Y (Autographa gramma)

Snout (Hypena probosciscidalis)

The Silver Y (Autographa gramma), the Snout (Hypena probosciscidalis) with a clearly visible 'nose' much finer than the name suggests and the 'does-what-it-says-on-the-tin', Light Brown Apple Moth, (Epiphyas postvittana), fittingly caught near a Bramley apple tree.

Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)

A Common Wainscot too, although its name (Mythimna palens) suggests a store of fables and more solid architectural detail.

Common Wainscot (Mythimna palens)

Vine's Rustic (Hoplondrina ambigua)
Looking no more aggressive than any of its companions, a Vine's Rustic – (Hoplondrina ambigua), named from the Greek 'hoplon', a weapon. Dusky, delicate patterning, why a weapon? In contrast, a Square-spot rustic, (Xestra xanthographa). Named in Latin by some romantic charmed by the marks of two 'kisses'?

Square-spot Rustic (Xestra xanthographa

Very few moths, but a first layer of stories and speculations.

Post by : Nigel Hutchinson