Monday, 10 March 2014

Pale Pinions (?) and more micros

While we're not picking up the same sort of numbers as others (not sure why - it could just be that Martin Wainwright's Thrupp is a better location at this time of year than Wolvercote), we're still getting some interesting individuals: here are a couple of our own Pale Pinions (I assume - they look more like that than Tawny), and a couple of micros which looked both to be the same species, Agonopterix heracliana - only one photo posted. In both cases, we'd welcome confirmation. Steve and Xander Goddard.

Presumed Pale Pinion 1, 9/3/14, camouflaging itself cleverly

Second presumed Pale Pinion, 9/3/14

Possible Agonopterix heracliana, 9/3/14


  1. Hi Steve, indeed both are Pale Pinion. I'd be very pleased to see one over here in Bucks - they used to be regular in the garden but my last sighting was in 2010 (this seems to have been a county-wide phenomenon as there have been very few subsequent records from anywhere in Bucks). Hopefully it is bouncing back.

    The likelihood is that your third moth is going to be the very common A.heracliana. The confusion species (supposedly also common, although I have my doubts about that) is A.ciliella which tends to be larger and has a pinkish hue to its underside. The hindwing cilia are supposed to be another way of telling them apart, with ciliella having five dark bands through them while heracliana has only the one, but actually heracliana can have additional bands which means that dissection is the only sure way of distinguishing them.

    1. One (Pale Pinion) in my back garden last night, as well; and that's (just) in Bucks. It never ceases to fascinate me how moths (and other creatures, of course) co-ordinate their emerging across wide expanses of country. & I agree with you Dave, about A ciliella: Common? I've never seen one. & even if you dissect them, as far as I can see, there's not a huge amount of difference between them. Andy King, (Chorleywood).

  2. Hi Both,
    It has been an odd phenomenon - when I first moved to Oxford in 2008 I lived in Headington for 3+ years. 2 of the first moths I caught (as I arrived in autumn) were Pale Pinion and Dotted Chestnut, both new to me and both at the time listed as local. I then proceeded to catch Pale Pinion annually there, but since I moved away rarely see it. So I was really pleased to catch two the other night. Then I just checked the blog site and Pale Pinions everywhere :). Numbers in my garden are equally low by the way, in fact last night a got 5 or 6 moths I think, and that's with an MV and an actinic.

    BW, Marc

  3. Thanks, all -- given the number of other Pale Pinions that were being reported, I was fairly confident of it, but thought I'd check; and I agree that the strong balance of probabilities for the micro is Heracliana (which would make it the 399th species for our gardent).


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