Monday, 29 May 2017

Fantastic Mr Fox

Well, that was a BIG surprise!  A male Fox Moth came to the garden actinic trap last night and it wasn't until I looked at the books that I realised he can occasionally fly at night as well as during the daytime.  I've only ever had this supposedly common moth to light at two sites in Bucks (Stoke Common and Bernwood Forest, females in each case) so it must be more thinly spread in the county even than its close relative the Oak Eggar. 

Fox Moth, Westcott 28th May

Fox Moth, Westcott 28th May

In the thundery conditions last night the garden tally came to 336 moths of 95 species, not quite breaking the 100 species barrier but that's probably still the best total I've ever had here during May.  Apart from the Fox Moth, new for the year-list were Coptotriche marginea, Paraswammerdamia albicapitella, Elachista argentella, Agapeta hamana, Cochylimorpha straminea, Epinotia bilunana, Epinotia tedella, Lathronympha strigana, Udea olivalis, Sloe Pug, Eyed Hawk-moth, Poplar Kitten & Sycamore.  Following the appearance of the tortrix Ptycholoma lecheana here for the first time ever on the 26th I had no less than three more last night, while highest counts were provided by Straw Dot (26) & Small Square-spot (22).

White Ermines, Westcott 27th May

New for the year the previous night (27th) were Nemapogon cloacella, Argyresthia spinosella, Blastobasis lacticolella, Scoparia pyralella, Peppered Moth, Mottled Beauty, Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Dark/Grey Dagger agg. & Marbled White Spot.  I also had to look twice at the left-hand White Ermine above but unfortunately that's what it was, just a lesser-spotted White Ermine!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


  1. I've trapped Fox moths in Wales, especially on Cors Caron NNR and also in northern Scotland and never had a male to light.

  2. Your garden really is a moth mecca, Dave. I can't help thinking it would be a great venue for a moth ID training session, if you ever fancied holding one. I have no idea how you manage to recognise and name all those micros so quickly.

  3. It is a case of familiarity really. I forget some of the micro names from one year to the next as easily as the next person, I can assure you, but recognising the family and then knowing where to look in the books doesn't really take long at all and then it is generally lodged in the memory cells for the rest of the season. Of course, being retired has its benefits as I have all the time in the world to look things up!!


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