Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Moth Post

Bearing in mind that it was hot and sticky and muggy last night (and that, to moths, is Manna From Heaven), how many do you think there were in the Moth Box this morning?

I counted three hundred and eighty nine. I reckon I missed praps another twenty. That's over four hundred moths.

It has taken me all day to process them :-)

There were ninety different species, of which 19 were new for the year, and they have taken my total of Moth Species to visit here so far in 2014 up to two hundred and forty two. Last year's entire total was around the three hundred and eleven mark (although I only started in June last year), so I think it's safe to say we will beat that.

There were forty-one Rosy Footmen. They took the prize for visiting in the largest numbers....

There were thirteen Ruby Tigers: Beautiful but Grumpy, they flash their scarlet knickers whenever you ask them to move and generally stomp about in a temper (if things that fly can be said to stomp about). For all that I am rather fond of them....

There were two Dun-Bars, new for the year and Rather Handsome I always think. One is slightly darker than the other, which often happens in Moth World....

The Yellow Underwing Family were also Well Represented, with firstly this beautifully marked creamy/ lemony Broad-Bodied Yellow Underwing....

And then his cousin, the smaller and therefore aptly-named Lesser Broad-Bodied Yellow Underwing (the yellow refers to the pantaloons or petticoats, which are a bright yellow hue- they flash them when they are flying, or annoyed. It is Very Difficult to get a picture of these pantaloons/ petticoats. Believe me, I have tried. More than once). I like their stripy stockings. Very natty.

There were a few Large Yellow Underwings too but I didn't take any pictures of them as they had buried their heads inside the egg boxes and they are Grumpy too when you ask them to move :-(

Various Footmen were on good form, with Rosy, Four-Spot, Scarce, Buff, Dingy and Common (below) all well represented.

Common Footman
Various members of the Scalloped and Hook-Tip Clans were also out in force. Below is a Scalloped Oak, and below him a Scalloped Hook-Tip....

Scalloped Oak

Scalloped Hook-Tip

There was one Nut-Tree Tussock in the box, a little battered and worn but still handsome. I like his eyes (the ones on his wings, she adds, hastily, in case you think there is something more wrong with me than usual)...

There was also this Mouse Moth, a species I have never seen before. I am indebted to DD on ispot for the ID :-) I had pegged it down as a 'faded' moth, of which we moth'ers get many. But in fact he is supposed to look like this. That'll teach me eh?

Mouse Moth
Black Arches are a favourite with me so they get three pictures. I found two of them this morning. One was asleep on the wall of the house and this one (below) was sitting on the box lid. He's currently fast asleep on his piece of paper beside the computer where he has spent most of the day, but he will soon be waking up and heading outside as darkness falls. Black Arches are Friendly Moths, quite happy to pose for a piccy or two and to climb on your finger to say hello without fluttering their wings crossly in a 'I'm about to take off' sort of way, as some of the others do.

We also had a visit from a Chinese Character. This is only the second time I have seen this little moth who measures only a few mm and resembles nothing so much as a dollop of bird poo.....Quite Adorable :-)

Three Peppereds came a-calling....

The Prominents and Kittens also had Good Representation, with four Sallow Kittens being recorded, such as the one below who was snoozing on the warmth of the kitchen wall at six thirty this morning..

...and a Pebble Prominent and two Lesser Swallow Prominents. There was also an Iron Prominent but his piccy didn't come out so well so you'll just have to imagine him :-)

Pebble Prom (see the pebble shape at the back of his wing?)

Lesser Swallow Prom (the white triangle on the edge of the wing goes less than half way. In Swallow Proms is goes all the way towards the head)
There were twenty-one Riband Waves in the box, both types (f.remutata and Idaea aversata which has a band across it) equally well-represented...

F remutata

Idaea aversata
Small (micro) moths were also present in large numbers (as usual), and accounted for most of the ones I missed (as usual). Here is Acleris Forsskaleana, a small but jazzily-patterned moth with a largely unpronounceable name that comes out like a swear-word if you're not careful....

And (not to be outdone in the silly names stakes) the Brown-Spot-Flat-Body or Agonopterix alstromeriana if you want the Intellectual And Bookish Latin (it's a good job we're not named for the way we look. Otherwise, at the moment I would be 'hair-needs-highlighting-shiny-faced-fat-belly').

Mother Of Pearls are biggish moths that come under the heading micro and I don't know why? They're on the last page of my Micro Moth Bible, as if the authors couldn't explain it either and stuffed them in there at the last minute in the hope no-one would notice and ask awkward questions. They are beautiful when their colours catch the light. We gets lots of them here (*I've just googled it and it's down to Family Classification, not size).

Pearl's Mother
And Being Curious among the greenery
Ten Sharp-Angled Peacocks turned up and proceeded to flit about the room unable to decide exactly where they wanted to land and rest...Two of them ended up on my shoulder and rode around there for a couple of hours without me noticing.

And finally, this beautiful female Ghost Moth (Hepialus humili humili), who I think must have been a tad stressed because she shed some eggs in the pot....

Ghost Swift Eggs
Ghost moths are Interesting Creatures: they are known as 'primitive' moths because their forewings and hindwings are a similar size and shape. They dance at night, or at least the males do, and the females scatter their eggs in the grasses rather than laying them directly on the plant.

The larvae live underground for two years, feeding on plant roots among which they pupate, and they over-winter twice. The adult moth has no proboscis so does not feed. Ghost moths are found anywhere the food plant of the larvae exists (grasses, nettles, docks, burdocks, wild strawberry). They often live in areas where the ground has been disturbed and where what we would consider to be weed type plants become established. They are common throughout GB and Ireland, right the way up to Shetland and the Hebrides. The male is pure white with a fluffy orange head. I am Rather Fond Of Them.

Well, hope you've enjoyed all the Mothy Folk. I have about fifty scattered on the walls and ceiling here who will need ushering outside when darkness falls....

Tomorrow, L and I are off shoe shopping. Today, he had an end-of-term non uniform day and for some reason decided to wear trainers that are two sizes too small for him. Instead of texting me when he realised his mistake and asking me to bring in his school shoes or his crocs which fit him, he decided the best course of action was to take the trainers off and limp round shoeless.
Lord knows what his teachers thought. The lollipop lady who sees them safely across the main road on the walk back to the car clearly thought he was a neglect case judging from her concerned 'oh! You have no shoes, sweetheart!' Something that was doubtless compounded by the fact he was also wearing his favourite jeans which possess no knees, only ragged tears in the material where the knees once were. Thank God he wasn't also wearing the Evolution T-Shirt I innocently bought him for Christmas. It took me several months to work out that the last man in the line wasn't in fact holding up his hand to the others, but instead was making a rude gesture. Needless to say this T-Shirt isn't often parted from L's body, just like the knee-less jeans.

When I was his age I had a favourite cardigan that I absolutely loved and my mother detested. I also used to dye my hair every colour under the rainbow, and later got my nose pierced (the stud used to shoot out every time I sneezed so it didn't last long, but it drove my mother into apoplexy). 

I'd love to hear your Teenage Rebellion Tales....

Have a good evening all,

CT :-)



  1. What a lot of mothy folk indeed!! No wonder you were so busy. Sadly I have no teenage rebellion stories as I was so dull and boring! Actually too terrified to rebel if truth be told. I think that a little rebellion is good, and your son doesn't sound too bad at all! xx

    1. L is a good lad- his sense of humour usually gets us through any clashing moments! Teenage rebellion is a funny thing, isn't it? Our older two are not that way inclined at all xx

  2. Stunning moth count and moths, in the morning do you bring them into the house ? How do you stop them flying of all round the many questions I need to ask. In your next moth post do a little step by step guide of what you do ( please )
    Amanda xx

    1. That's a good idea- I will pop a post up later today with the relevant info xx

  3. HI CT Congratulation of so many moths caught. Now you know I know noting about Moths but love seeing all the varieties you caught overnight. I think my favorite also is the Black Arches but some of the others are fascinating. it must have been a lot of work to do this post.

    1. Thanks Margaret :-) Yup, it sure was a busy day yesterday and today/ tomorrow I have more butterfly surveys to do so hopefully more nice piccies then. Hope all's well x

  4. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggghhhhh
    Is my one and only response I can give to this post. I am TRULY petrified of Moths. I hate their furry bodies, their sinister legs etc etc ugh ugh ugh!
    On the other hand, great photos ! I will just quickly go find non mothy posts *shudder*

    1. Don't worry Rachel- stick around here long enough and we'll soon break you of that aversion!! Try to think of them as butterflies of the night and repeat the mantra 'moths are nice, moths are nice' over and over when you go to bed :-)

  5. Great photos.. still trying to get over my dis-like of moths but I have to admit they have some stunning markings on them and I do enjoy looking at all your moth pictures :o)

    1. Perhaps admiring them from a distance will help :-) (I'm the same with spiders- a phobia is a phobia) xx

  6. You know what I like best - is that you give us all the photos n interesting facts about so many species of moths and then add a pinch of interest in just regular stuff like you n L going shopping for shoes and then a bit about kneeless jeans, nose piercing, etc. There is always some balance after the moths. I love the way you write about moths and had no idea that there were so many species. I would love to see how you get them out of the Moth Boxes - did you do a previous post on this, or did I miss it - Very interesting post today. Have a wonderful day :)

    1. Thanks honey :-)
      I've just posted something on moth trapping with all that info for you and Amanda. Hope it's useful. Hope all is well in Canada too :-)

    2. Thank you - just read the new post and it was "A World Of Discovery Reading" - thank you :)

    3. V welcome- glad it was useful :-)

  7. A great collection of photos :)

  8. Really impressed! Just out of interest, when you get them out of the egg boxes in the morning, are they quiet and sluggish, or do they wake up straight away? I had a huge (well, big) moth that looked interesting come in through the window last night but it was going beserk buzzing all over the room bashing into everything and never settled so I don't know what it was. No sign of it this morning. :-( A moth trap will be my next year's project. :-)

    1. I know you've now read the next one so won't repeat the info here :-)

      You will love a moth trap- it's highly addictive and they are soooo lovely. I'd be very pleased if you got one then we could compare notes on species between here and France- be a great project x

    2. It will be very time consuming! :-) I have wanted to try ever since I found a hind wing of a Clifden Nonpareil in my garden last summer. Anyway found some plans for making a home made one which my DIY expert aka husband says he could make, just have to source some white corrugated plastic. So I don't think it's going to happen this year.... hopefully a winter project for him!

    3. Now that would be a fascinating moth to see. Not resident here any more and they don't arrive in great numbers as migrants either. Ours seem to come from Scandinavia as they're mainly found on the south/ east coast. I've yet to see one.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.