Sunday, 29 November 2015

Found while digging the veg patch

I think that this is a Large Yellow Underwing caterpillar but would be very grateful for confirmation.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Help needed on some dodgy IDs

I started trapping and identifying moths in the spring of 2013, before this marvellous site was up and running. As a result, I was reliant mainly on a couple of books and the UK moths website to help me out, and it was quite a steep (but very enjoyable) learning curve.
Now at virtually the end of 2015, I thought I would look back to my early mothing days and see if I have made any serious blunders. Many of the moths I first identified in 2013 I have subsequently seen again in the subsequent years, but there are a small number that I have not seen again since that first year. This led me to thinking that maybe some of these were in fact wrongly identified.

Having gone through my photos, I have to say that I am pretty happy with most of them. However, below are a couple that I probably mis-identified in my novice days.
The first, trapped on 3rd July 2013, I had identified as a Pale-shouldered Brocade, but looking at the photo now I think it was in fact a Light Brocade.

The second, trapped on 29th May 2013, I have recorded as a Blossom Underwing. I did not record its size or the colour of the hindwings unfortunately (I only found out the importance of these things later!). Looking at the photo now, I am not really sure about this one. What do the experts think?

Finally, below are photos of 2 moths that I think I did identify correctly, but please let me know if you think otherwise. The first of these, trapped on 24th July 2013, I have recorded as a Kent Black Arches.

And the second, trapped on 25th September 2013, I believe is a Dusky-lemon Sallow.

All help much appreciated.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Hanging on

Very quiet as expected here in Didcot garden, with first few winter zeros coming in recently. However, milder weather over last couple of nights has seen Red-line Quaker still out and about, Turnip (very fresh), Pale Mottled Willow, Mottled Umber (already seen way more than last winter) and Crocidosema plebejana (2 different individuals), oh yes and the normal spatterings of postvittana. More interestingly, at least to me anyway, is the Swallow-tailed Moth I caught earlier in November which returned to the trap a while back and has been sitting it out since, still alive and well even after those very cold nights and frosts. He's looking a bit forlorn now but he's still going! Marc Botham, Didcot

Hanging around waiting for July temperatures - Swallow-tailed Moth Didcot 26th November

Crocidosema plebejana Didcot 26th November

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


After a Sprawler on the 7th November, my trap was just about turned off, bar the odd night/evening. On Wednesday the 18th a female December Moth appeared at my front porch light and stayed there till Tuesday 24th. I ran the trap all night on 24th as I thought because she had gone moths may be flying, with no luck whatsoever. Tonight so far, 3 December and 1 Mottled Umber, the first this winter.
After asking some advice about bulbs etc a few weeks ago I've decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present, my new twin 30w actinic Robinson trap will be here Friday..........happy happy with loads more moths to come.
Dave Wilton could you please send me your email, I've got a few moth from earlier in the year for Peter, including a probable Gelechia Nigra. My email is Thanks
Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

Monday, 23 November 2015

National Moth Night 2015 records submission deadline

Below is a note from Les Hill about the records.
Please send in your records if you can.
In the case of Buckinghamshire, if you don't fancy either of the options given, then please send your records to me.
The nights in question are 10 - 12 September.


Martin Albertini

Hi all,

This is just the annual reminder to all recorders to ensure all Moth Night 2015 datasets are submitted via our online recording system ( or by MapMate Sync file (via the MapMate Web Server or email to by close-of-play Sunday, 29th November 2015, after which the online system will be closed and the data shortly afterwards will be forwarded to all County Moth Recorders for verification.

The full written report will appear in a future edition of Atropos.

Many thanks for taking part, all of us in the Moth Night Team hope you enjoyed the event.

Best wishes,

Les Hill

Moth Night Team

Friday, 20 November 2015

Tatty, but nice hair

Things are very quiet here now with only a Winter/Autumnal/Pale moth in the porch and a Satellite in the trap, plus this raggedy, but impressively hirsute, individual. My best guess is Yellow-line Quaker or Brick but I'd be very happy to be put right.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Just two moths

Only two moths came to the garden actinic last night, a washed-out Scarce Umber (the 14th garden record so far this month - it seems to be doing rather well this year) and the inevitable Dark Chestnut.  Time now, perhaps, to be a little more selective about when I run the trap!  Northern Winter Moth is the only macro-moth which might still appear here this year and that's just as likely to come to the light of our kitchen window as it is to the moth-trap.  This year's final macro total depends also upon a handful of dissections of Minors and Common Rustics but with luck could reach 320 species which is way above average for the garden.

Westcott, 19th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Another set of Leafminers for ID

Hopefully there will be some that are ok enough to be ID'd.

the first one I think might be Callisto denticulella on Apple

the second and third, don't know (again on Apple)

 the fourth on bramble, maybe Stigmella aurella?

the fifth was on Lime - no real idea

the final one on Apple I think is  Lyonetia clerkella

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Leaf miner help please

I took a batch of photos last month and am just going through them using a key Dave Wilton put up a while back. This first lot were all on Copper beech.

The first I think might be Parornix fagivora, if not I've seen it but just need to get some later pics

the second is perhaps Phyllonorycter maestingella

the third I'm thinking is Stigmella tityrella?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

ID from October

hi, I noticed this going back over my records ..maybe a small square-spot but can't see the spot? Or maybe a Pale Mottled Willow?

caught 6th Oct.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

The last reasonable night?

There were actually quite a few moths around last night because it remained mild, there was little wind and the forecast rain turned out not to be as heavy as expected.  The actinic was run indoors again and found on the conservatory windows at 6am this morning were Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Udea ferrugalis (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Red-green Carpet (4), Winter Moth (3), Turnip (1), Dark Chestnut (2), Brick (1), Red-line Quaker (1) & Silver Y (1), although the moths were easily outnumbered by diptera - in particular the yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria!  The previous night had seen only two moths brave the high winds, December Moth (1) & Angle Shades (1).  None of last night's collection was in good condition and the Rusty-dot Pearl below illustrates this rather well.

Udea ferrugalis, Westcott 16th November

Silver Y, Westcott 16th November

With another storm due tonight and then the weather expected to turn much colder, that may be it for the chance of any migrant activity this year, especially this far inland, but I'd happily be proved wrong...

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Caterpillar i.d. needed

I found this caterpillar crawling across a lane in Cornwall, and wondered if any Bucks entomologists could give me a suggestion as to it's species? It was about 2cm long, and may be some type of Footman larva, or possibly a Tiger species. Found on 25-10-2015 in West Penwith.  Dave Maunder
Unknown larva

Tawny pinion confirmation

Possible tawny pinion found in Sibford, Oxfordshire on 7th October 2015. Found in woodshed between logs.

Confirmation of ID would be appreciated please.

Andy Newbold
Sibford Ferris

A Zero Return

The first zero return of the winter.  There were no moths to the trap here last night, which was no great surprise really considering the weather.  Actually, when I say trap, what I mean is that there were no moths to our conservatory windows because at this time of year if there's a danger of the trap floating or being blown away then I run the light indoors.  There is usually at least one set of windows sheltered from the wind and rain on which the moths tend to congregate, but it does mean that you have to be up to check for results well before it starts to get light! 

Over the previous four nights I had Nomophila noctuella, December Moth,  Red-green Carpet, Winter Moth, Scarce Umber, Mottled Umber, Feathered Thorn, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Sprawler, Green-brindled Crescent, Dark Chestnut, Brick, Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Pink-barred Sallow, Angle Shades & Silver Y in the garden so there are still plenty of species out there, along with those rather nice migrants which others have been getting.  Hopefully some at least will manage to survive the current period of stormy weather.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Parasite food-chain.

I opened up a leaf-mine of Phyllonorycter schreberella collected from Shire Lane (on the border of Bucks with Herts) today. I was looking for the moth's pupa but instead found a Hymenopteran pupa. However, this pupa didn't look entirely healthy and, behind it in the cocoon was a small grub, which was still very much alive.

The brown gash is the remains of the leaf-mine (in an Elm leaf) and I've labelled the other important things.
The larva of the moth was, of course, a parasite, as it fed on the leaf of a living plant. The Hymenopteran was, in turn, a parasite of the larva  (which was presumably completely devoured, as I couldn't find a trace of it). As a parasite it counts as a hyperparasite. Strictly speaking it is a hyperparasitoid, as it killed its host. The small grub (is it a Dipteran or another Hymenopteran?), in its turn, lived within the first Hymenopteran: I suppose that makes it a hyper-hyperparasitoid.
What price it carries bacteria, which in turn carry viruses?
Andy King.

Striped Lychnis

This should be of interest.  A post today on the Upper Thames Branch Facebook page here has a link to a TV interview with Tony Gillie on YouTube about our efforts to help the local population of Striped Lychnis.

Slender Burnished Brass

The second Oxon VC 23 Slender Burnished Brass came to MV at Middle Assendon last night. The first record was in 1969 caught by Kettlewell. That's not counting the one that came out of a bunch of flowers in Witney in 2009. Wayne is happy to show it to anyone who wants to see it today. If so please email me and I will forward your message.

This and the gilvata prove what Dave was saying - keeping trapping - you never know. Wayne also had vitrealis last week. He's using one of my Robinsons

- I must remember to mark it as the lucky trap !


Only 3

Three moths last night (Min 8 degrees). One this Rusty-dot Pearl.
Steve Lockey (Garsington).

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Migrants Still

Only two moths in my trap in Longwick tonight - but both presumably migrants. A Rusty Dot Pearl and a rather fine Palpita Vitrealis.

Turnip moth

A Turnip moth entered my Radnage, Bucks house tonight. Another late sighting.
Ched George.

Uresiphita gilvata

I've not had much of note in my garden trap recently until i looked in this morning and found a nice specimen of Uresiphita gilvata - quite a scarce species so i'm told by Peter Hall, and a possible first for Bucks. A couple of poor quality pictures are attatched, as it is pretty lively in the pot and already escaped once this morning, but thankfully it returned to my garden trap this morning! Dave Maunder

Uresiphita gilvata, Aylesbury, 11-11-2015

Grey Shoulder-knot

A Grey Shoulder-knot came to my Radnage garden MV trap last night. Also run-of-the-mill Feathered Thorn, Angle Shades, Yellow-line Quaker, a single Red-line Quaker, Blair's Shoulder-knot, 6 Red-green Carpets and a LBAM. Alas, still no sign of Figure-of-Eight.
Ched George.

Common Emerald

This in Middle Assendon to MV on 9th November. Also recently Plumed Prominent and Palpita vitrealis, caught by Wayne Borras.

Swallow-tailed Moth, yes that's right!

Thought I was imagining things this morning when sat on the grass next to the trap at the beginning of the second week in November there was a fresh Swallow-tailed Moth. I've had second brood individuals of this species in the past but never this late. What a crazy year. Marc Botham, Didcot

Swallow-tailed Moth, Didcot, 10th November.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

More fog, or at least smoke

Just to add more data to Steve's fog research, we caused dense clouds of artificial fog with fireworks last night. The cordite smell lingered until late but this morning there were moths in the trap, albeit only four: a Feathered Thorn, a November/Autumnal, a Blair's Shoulder-knot and this Dark Sword-grass (I hope my ID for that is correct).  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Satellite night

Mild weather and clear skies early on brought out three Satellites here last night, two browny ones and the third with the bright eye. In addition to the man-made kind whirling overhead. Also three Feathered Thorns, two Red-green Carpet, two battered Quakerish things and a November/Autumnal.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

The Bonfire Night Moth

Bonfire Night is usually the prompt to go looking for Plumed Prominent, a smart nationally scarce species which we are lucky to have in a few Chiltern woodlands in the vicinity of Henley-on-Thames but which flies at this very unsociable time of year.  The forecast seemed more suitable last night than on the 5th so I went to one of its known sites in south Bucks.  As usual, the Met Office got it hopelessly wrong and I was rained on for most of the time I was there, but at least it remained mild and the rain didn't stop the moths (or, for that matter, a couple of very late Hornets).

In the usual three hour period from dusk, now very early of course because it was fully dark by 5.15pm, I saw 20 species.  They included Ypsolopha parenthesella, Ypsolopha ustella, Diurnea lipsiellaAcleris cristana, Acleris sparsana, Alucita hexadactyla, Oak Nycteoline and Snout as well as the expected seasonal macro-moths.  Thankfully, after last year's experience when I had to make three visits before seeing just one moth, at this site two Plumed Prominents turned up on time, a male and a female (just to prove that you don't have to wait all night to see the lady of this species).  Home by 9.30pm too - can't be bad!

Plumed Prominent male, 6th November

Plumed Prominent female, 6th November

Tea-cake anyone?   Plumed Prominent eggs

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Ypsolopha mucronella

This was the only moth attracted to our house lights last night.


Friday, 6 November 2015

Another Cypress Carpet

Ched George had a Cypress Carpet in his Radnage, Bucks garden trap on 3rd November.

Unseasonal: Cryptoblabes bistriga

Cryptoblabes bistriga in garden trap last night along with two Acleris schalleriana. only migrants were Silver Y and Dark Sword-grass. Night before was interesting as micros dominated another low, but better than has been recently catch: Clepsis consimilana, Acleris schalleriana, Acleris sparsana, lots of Ephiphyas postvittana, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Scrobipalpa costella, Eudonia angustea. Marc Botham, Didcot

Cryptoblabes bistriga - Didcot 05/11/2015

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

IDs please

Three tired out moths this morning.

Sorry about the first picture, I opened the pot and it was gone. Maybe a faded Garden Rose Tortrix or something else?

The second I'm guessing is a knackered November agg.?

The third a tired Yellow Line Quaker? Or maybe my first Brick?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Emoth newsletter

The latest "Emoth" newsletter is available from the National Moth Recording Scheme, via Zoe Randle at Butterfly Conservation.

Zoe says:
"Here is the latest edition of E-moth, it contains the usual update on the National Moth Recording Scheme, the programme for the National Moth Recorders’ Meeting on Saturday 30th January 2016, feedback about Moth Night 2015 and some other interesting snippets. Please feel free to pass E-moth onto others or include parts of it in your own newsletters, websites etc."

Click on the image to read the newsletter:

A better night

Reasonably mild and damp in my garden last night, without any fog, so I was pleased to get 29 moths of 18 different species. Migrants were limited to 1 Angle Shades and 1 Rush Veneer.
There were a few new ones for the year as well - Sprawler (1), Large Wainscot (1 - many thanks Martin Wainwright for sending one down), Dark Chestnut (1) and what I think is a rather faded Yellow-line Quaker based on the black dot near the wing base - photo below.

Here is my Dark Chestnut -

Finally, the moth below I have decided is a Feathered Thorn, but I was thrown a bit by the fact that the usual whitish spot near the wing tip is missing.

Steve Trigg, Cookham