As we travel widely during the summer
looking for insects to photograph, Roger Edmondson and I have decided to put a
record of our more interesting finds on this website.
New entries are not always entered in date order so please check
for changes by clicking on 'What's new' on the home page.
9th July 2017
This trip was to a mixed woodland site
in Kent. Although we still have moths in our local area around Bristol that we
have not yet photographed, we have found that mothing is much more productive in
the south-east of England and we are more likely to find species we have not yet
Our journey went well and we arrived at
the site at about 9.30pm. The lights were lit on the two 20w compact fluorescent
traps we used that night by 9.45pm. Roger also sprayed 'sugar' on some of
the foilage along the ride.
The evening was very successful as we
had nearly 50 Waved Carpet, 5 Festoon, 2 Olive Crescent, several
Pale Oak Beauty, 4 Beautiful Carpet, a Large Twin-spot
Carpet, an Orange Moth, 2 Clouded Magpie, several Satin
Lutestring, a Poplar Lutestring, the green form of Barred Red, and
15 Dusky Peacock amongst the eighty species we recorded.
On the sugar were 8 Herald
moths, but none of this species came to the light traps.
The Waved Carpet Hydrelia
sylvata is on the wing from June to early August. Its larvae feed on a
variety of trees and shrubs including sallows, birch, Sycamore and Sweet
Chestnut. The latter species was probably the foodplant in this case as there
were several along the ride where the traps were placed.
Waved Carpet Hydrelia sylvata
Waved Carpet is found mainly in south-west and
south-east England, south and central Wales, Cumbria, more northerly parts of
the Midlands and recently in Guernsey. It is also found in some parts of Ireland
although it is perhaps declining. The specimen in the picture had a forewing
length of 11mm.
The Barred Red Hylaea
fasciaria is usually a shade of reddish-brown, but in Kent green specimens
occasionally occur. This colour form is much more common on the continent and
green moths occur as migrants on the south coast of Britain, as did a recent specimen at
the Portland Observatory. The species is on the wing between June and
August and occasionally in September and October. The larvae feed on Scot's
Pine, Norway Spruce and other conifers, and can be abundant.
The moth occurs throughout Britain and
Ireland except for central areas of Ireland. The moth in the picture had a
forewing length of 16mm.
Barred Red Hylaea
fasciaria f. prasinaria
Until 2005 when a resident population
was discovered in Kent, Dusky Peacock Macaria signaria was a rare
migrant in Britain. There are now at least two resident populations in Kent as
well as occasional migrant records along the south coast. Migrants have been
recorded as far north as Herefordshire and Norfolk.
It is on the wing from late May until
the end of July, and in this warm year most of the specimens we recorded were
already very worn, although luckily we had one good specimen which is shown in the
Like the Barred Red the larvae feed on Scot's
Pine and Norway Spruce. The specimen in the picture had a forewing length of
Dusky Peacock Macaria signaria
In early May this year Roger and I were
trapping on the coastal sand dunes at Berrow in Somerset. It was another of
those cool, clear evenings after a warm day and there were not many moths
arriving at the lights, so we decided to search for larvae to pass the
Two of the larvae we found on Grey
Willow Salix cinerea had a dark length ways stripe and were about 15mm in
length. I later identified them at home as the larvae of July Highflyer Hydriomena
furcata. Within a few days one of them had pupated and the other
only grew a further millimetre or so in size before pupating.
July Highflyer larva - Berrow Somerset
In less then a month one of them has
emerged and I was surprised to find it was a colour form that I had never seen
before. I have photographed forms with a cream band across the wings, but never
with such a broad band as this one.
July Highflyer from larva pictured above
Above and below - more typical forms of
The larvae also feed on other Salix spp,
Hazel, Heather and Bilberry. All of the moths above had a forewing length of 15
or 16mm, but they are sometimes as small as 13mm.
This species is common throughout
Britain and Ireland and is a regular visitor at light traps. The usual flight
period is between mid-June and mid-August in southern Britain. They start a
month later in Scotland occasionally through to early October.
One of the aspects of
studying moths that makes them interesting no matter how long you have been
doing it, is the discovery of a form of a species that you have not come across
before. This was the case for me with the olive banded form of Pine Beauty
Panolis flammea that came to a UV light
in my garden. Although I have never lived in an area where there are lots of
conifers and the moth is common, I have seen a large number of them over the
years, but never this form.
The form is not rare and
perhaps i have missed it when I have had faded or damaged specimens arrive at
the trap, but I definitely have not had it in the garden before.
For comparison, a strongly
coloured specimen of the red form is shown below.
Olive form of Pine Beauty
Red form of Pine Beauty
The larvae of this moth feed on the
young needles of pines, including the native Scots Pine. They can be a pest in
forestry areas, as they were when Lodgepole Pine was commonly planted in
northern Scotland in the 1970s.
The moth is found throughout most of
Britain and coastal counties of Ireland, apart from central northern England and
parts of western and northern Scotland, and parts of the Hebrides.
Both of the moths in the pictures had a
forewing length of 15mm.