Saturday, 6 September 2014

Back Home - Green Silver-lines & Small Ranunculus

Having spent most of the last 12 months in Sweden, I've had little to report, but on returning at the end of August was keen to get an idea of what was around in my East Oxford back garden. Pretty much as expected, but the night of 4 September was a highlight, with beautiful warm, still, overcast conditions. Among 176 moths of 28 species (a big total for my slightly leaky Actinic) there were signs of immigration with one each of Silver-Y, Rusty-dot Pearl and Diamond-back Moth. The pick of the bunch otherwise were my second record (first since July 2011) of Small Ranunculus and what I took at first to be Scarce Silver-lines which appeared sitting on the outside of the trap at c. 2330. I've edited this post to reflect Marc Botham's helpful comments (below) that this is actually a Green Silver-lines - also a first record for my garden. I was misled by the fact that it had only two parallel white lines & lacked the red hind edge to the forewing and white stripes on thorax; a bit of googling turns up the occasional example of Green Silver-lines looking like this. Still, as Dave Wilton points out below, it just goes to show that the statement 'unmistakeable' - found in Waring and Townsend for both species - is at jeopardy when relative beginners are let loose!
Small Ranunculus, East Oxford, 4 Sept 2014
Green Silver-lines, East Oxford, 4 Sept 2014
Ben Sheldon
Twitter: @Ben_Sheldon_EGI


  1. That was quick work - welcome to the blog, Ben. Just one small point and that's don't forget to add a title to your posts. The title box is at the top of that blogger page and (as you found) is quite easy to miss!

    Just as a reminder to everyone, you can go back and amend anything in your own posts at any time by clicking on the 'pencil' symbol underneath it.

  2. Hi Dave - yes, just realised I'd forgotten the title; now added!

  3. Good catch with Small Ranunculus. Still finding larvae everywhere but seen no adults this year. I think the Scarce Silver-lines is a Green Silver-lines, not quite right shape or pattern for Scarce. Must be a second small second brood - lots of species seem to having extra broods this year. Best wishes, Marc

  4. Hi Marc
    I have to admit to having puzzled a bit over the silver-lines because the darker posterior and anterior margins to the white lines do look very like those on Green Silver-lines (a species I have no experience of either), but I can find very few images on Google that look like this, in terms of having only two cross lines, other than the one on this page:

    Is lacking a third cross-line a well known variant for this species?

  5. Hi Ben,
    I agree with Marc that it is Green Silver-lines. This rather contradicts the "Unmistakable" comment in the field guide (!), although to be fair there are other pointers in the text which should really have led you away from Scarce, not least being the flight-time comments for the two species. It doesn't help if you haven't seen Scarce Silver-lines yet, but when you do you'll notice the differences because Scarce is larger, has a slightly different shape when at rest, has a smoother overall appearance and the lines are invariably dead straight.

    It might be an idea to amend the post title and image caption because your picture now comes up very early on in Google Images under a search for Scarce Silver-lines. This is something I hadn't previously considered - we should all really be amending photo captions if errors are pointed out to us.


  6. Thanks Dave & Marc for your very helpful comments. I have edited the post - and provided a bit more background on why I went wrong - as suggested!


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