Saturday, 22 June 2013

Moth Watch

I have been amazed at the number and variety of moths we have had in the three nights I've put the box out. Species I never even knew existed. The warmth of recent days must have had a beneficial effect because Wednesday night/ Thursday morning brought in 50-60 moths and 36 different species. Altogether over the three nights the box has been out we've counted 46 different types of moth.

Here are a a selection. I have IDs for most but would be grateful for any thoughts on the unidentified ones, or indeed if you spot any mistakes. The label refers to the photo underneath, just to be clear.

Blood Vein

Silver green lines (female). 
Isn't she stunning? The green is a really fresh green

Green carpet

Grey dagger

Lobster moth

Pale tussock

Pebble hooktip

Pebble prominent

Peppered moth

Sharp angled peacock

I am struggling with this one.
The nearest I can come is some sort of Peacock moth.
Any thoughts gratefully received.

Treble bar

Peppered moth head-on

Treble lines

Pebble prominent side view

Another Peppered moth.
There were three in total, including one in the house on our curtain! 

White ermine (9 of these in the box)

Light emerald
A gorgeous pale green colour which doesn't show so well in the pic
She was also in the house sitting on the curtain
We think the light from the box illuminated the wall of the house and our ceiling so some of the moths were on the wall and others came inside. They slept all day and went back outside at night once the moon was up calling to them 

Cream wave

Dart of some sort
I find distinguishing between the various darts quite hard
they all look so similar to one another

Carpet moth?
I'm not too certain about the ID on this one

Heart and dart

Green Carpet
(I think a pale version)

No ID for this one at present

Clouded silver

Scalloped hazel

Spectacle moth

We've come to the conclusion that the various habitats around the house (largely unfarmed and unmanaged so free from synthetic chemicals) support such a wide range of plant life that the moths do well here. Add to that the fact that there is also a ready supply of water in the form of lakes, our pond and a stream, and the absence of too many people or houses and I suspect they have most of the things they need to do well.

I am very interested to hear from those of you who also study moths to see how our lot compares, both in numbers and types, with those you have been getting in different areas of the country.


  1. HI CT Now I cannot help with identification. I don't know my moths however I can admire them and your are fantastic. I especially like the Ermine one with her fur collar and the one above it is also lovely. Hope someone who knows their moths can help you ID them for you. Have a great weekend. Margaret

    1. I'm glad you liked the photos. They are amazing creatures. It's so strange to think they are all around us when we sleep.

  2. What an amazing number and species of moths . I love the silver green one!
    Sarah x

    1. Me too, I thought she was absolutely beautiful.

  3. I love the hairy legged moths....they are all amazing though, and I'm delighted you are enjoying your moth studies so much.

    1. I think it would be impossible not to enjoy looking at them and learning about them, they are such fascinating creatures, so varied and interesting. I shall await news that you have a moth box too at some point in the future!! :-)

  4. What a lovely collection of moths CT, some very attractive ones too. I do have moth identification books (from when I was considering buying a trap) but my goodness, there are so many moths in the UK and a lot are vey similar as I'm sure you have found. It is a fascinating subject though.

    Really interesting post about the house and cottage you visited and lovely photos too. I'm not keen on guided tours either, a bit too much like being back at school ;-) I would love to have visited Hardy's cottage having enjoyed his novels. It must have felt very special to be in the place where he lived and wrote as it must have with Jane Austen's house too.

    1. SO many moths SB, I really had no idea how many there were, how varied but also how similar, until we got the box and started learning about them. They've edged butterflies for me now in the interest stakes, probably largely because I now come into contact with them on a regular basis and also we've had so few butterflies so far this year :-(

      The houses this past week have been a real treat, it's been fantastic to be able to get so close to writers that I have admired for so many years :-)

  5. Gorgeous! What an amazing range. You must spend hours identifying them but I'm sure you have a fantastic moth book by now. Really lovely to see them so close up.

    1. Hours, even with two very good moth books and the local county "whats flying tonight" and UK moth ID web pages! I am getting better tho I think, building up my knowledge slowly.

  6. Wow, what a superb haul and some great species in just the matter of a few days :-) However that superb Pebble Hook-tip has to be the star of the show, absolutely stunning :-) I'm afraid I can't be much help ID wise but I think the possible Carpet moth species is maybe a May Highflyer :-)

    As regards your last question I have been catching about 40-50 moths a night of typically 20-25 species in the last week, though up until early June far fewer species were being caught (this year has been one of the worst on record I believe as regards moth numbers). If you like you can check out my blog for a full list of species recorded so far this year (click on the 'Garden Moths' tab below the blog banner/title).

    1. I think you're right about the May Highflyer, thanks for that one :-) And I love the pebble hook tip too.
      The box was out last night and there was an elephant hawk moth in there this morning! I mentioned to a friend yesterday that that was one species I would really like to get so I am thrilled.
      I've just joined the Garden Moth Challenge after seeing it on Ragged Robin's blog and wondered if you were doing it too? There are some fantastic moths on there.
      Will have a look at your list of recorded species- might help me with ids!!

  7. Just loved reading your post and seeing the amazing variety you are catching :) Quite a few of yours I have never trapped - looks like you are in an ideal location :) Glad you've joined the Garden Moth Challenge too - its good fun and adds an incentive to trap more than I would usually!

    Look forward to reading more of your trapping exploits :)

    1. I'm so pleased with the moths we've been getting. The whole family are enjoying looking at and learning about them so it's a fantastic thing to be involved with :-)

  8. Wow! I never realised we had such a diversity of moths in this country!

    I reckon the unidentified one is called Colin. He looks like a Colin to me. Possibly a Dave.

  9. I'm amazed at the variety of moths there are. Your location does sound ideal for them. And they're also so beautiful; it will be so interesting at the end of the summer to review what you've caught and what is common/rare.

    1. Is it astonishing, and most of it hidden from our eyes. I'm amazed at the numbers of different species we've been getting and how beautiful they are.

  10. Beautiful photos and a glimpse through the lens, down the rabbit hole to an awakening of the rich biodiversity of wild species all around us. You have a great gift. You clearly can look out the same window each day and find something new, surprising and beautiful. Thank you for this and for sharing!

    1. Bless you Mark.

      I was really shocked reading your bat post last week but you coined a phrase I've been thinking about and searching for over the last couple of months which I'm going to borrow if that's ok, and that was "citizen science". I am certain that people power can and will make all the difference when it comes to protecting our wild things and places this century. Lord knows they need our help and we do owe them as we're responsible for interfering with and messing up their environments much of the time.

      Hope all's well, CT x


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x