Saturday, 17 May 2014

Norfolk moths: Rockland St. Peter garden, 16 May 2014

Eyed Hawk-moth Smerinthus ocellata
After a warm, sunny day, the sky remained clear at least until my last look at the trap at 22h00, by which time the temperature was still 14.0°C. The moon was a couple of nights past full and there was little evening activity at the trap. By dawn (04h30), the temperature had only dropped to 10.8°C and there were a dozen or more moths around the trap, with several Blackbirds anticipating an easy breakfast.

It proved to be a diverse, if small, haul of macros, including 16 species new for the trap: Chinese Character, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Silver-ground Carpet, Foxglove Pug, Mottled Pug, Common Pug, Eyed Hawk-moth, Iron Prominent, Marbled Brown, White Ermine, Buff Ermine, Heart and Dart, Light Brocade, Marbled Minor agg, Treble Lines and Buttoned Snout.

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata
Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata is now thought to be considerably scarcer than Red Twin-spot Carpet X. spadicearia, since previous separation criteria (including the pronounced notch on the inner edge of the wing-band at the costa in X. ferrugata) have been called into question. I have trapped good candidates for X. ferrugata in the past, but this one is about as close as one can get to being sure of the species without dissecting the animal. No hint of red on that dark central bar. And this one does show the wing notch...

Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis, a local, former UK BAP species
Scarcer still was my first Buttoned Snout. This was, until 2007, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species. The larvae feed on Hop Humulus lupulus (of which we have a supply in the garden) and adults over-winter to emerge about now.

Scorched Carpet (first caught in early April) is another fairly local species, whose larvae feed on Spindle Euonymus europaeus.

Light Brocade Lacanobia w-latinum      

Marbled Brown is a local moth of "long-established woodland in which mature oaks remain plentiful" (Waring et al. 2003), of which there is precious little in this area. Unfortunately, this smart little Notodontid fell victim to a Blackbird before I could photograph it (and despite my best efforts to protect it).

In contrast, Light Brocade, another local species represented by two of last night's catch, is associated with open ground on calcareous soil.

Foxglove Pug was attractive and easily identified (and, of course escaped before I could photograph it), but I struggled for a long time several other pugs and had to leave two unidentified, despite unstinting help from Norfolk Moths groups. I felt confident of Common and Mottled though.

Mottled Pug Eupithecia exiguata

Five species were firsts for 2014: Common Marbled Carpet, Green Carpet, Pebble Prominent, Turnip Moth and Small Square-spot.

Macro-moths (45 moths of 30 spp.):-

Cilix glaucata Chinese Character 1
Xanthorhoe ferrugata Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet 1
Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet 1
Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 4
Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 2
Eupithecia pulchellata Foxglove Pug 1
Eupithecia exiguata Mottled Pug 1
Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug 1
Ligdia adustata Scorched Carpet 1
Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 5
Menophra abruptaria Waved Umber 1
Smerinthus ocellata Eyed Hawk-moth 1
Notodonta dromedarius Iron Prominent 2
Notodonta ziczac Pebble Prominent 1
Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown 1
Clostera curtula Chocolate-tip 1
Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock 2
Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine 3
Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine 1
Agrotis segetum Turnip Moth 1
Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart 1
Agrotis puta Shuttle-shaped Dart 1
Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 2
Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot 1
Lacanobia w-latinum Light Brocade 2
Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades 1
Apamea sordens Rustic Shoulder-knot 1
Oligia strigilis agg. Marbled Minor agg. 1
Charanyca trigrammica Treble Lines 2
Hypena rostralis Buttoned Snout 1

Micro-moths (3 moths of 2 spp.):-

Evergestis forficalis Garden Pebble 2
Eurrhypara hortulata Small Magpie 1


Waring, P., Townsend, M. & Lewington, R. (2003) Field guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing: Hook, Hampshire. 432 pp.

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