Monday, 18 August 2014

300 Up, Cat Problems and Possible Rarity

I've been away on holiday and have come back to find that my garden mothing has certainly gone down a gear: whilst my garden is never big on numbers the last few nights I've barely caught 20 moths. Still I'm working away with what I got and subject to confirmation on some of the ID's below I've finally managed to reach 300 on my garden moth list - far from the giddy heights of Dave Wilton's 800+ total but I've pleased to have achieved this milestone.

One of the factors that may be contributing to my low counts is our new kitten which is going through that phase of chasing moths and butterflies. As she can now go out at night she hangs around the moth trap picking off the moths as they arrive. On a couple of recent occasions she's brought in a Large Yellow Underwing which is usual beyond rescuing by this point.

On the ID front I've got a couple: the first I think is Acleris Laterana judging by the pointed apex and slight concave feel to the termen. The second when I first saw it I thought was a Red Underwing but the kitten started nosing around the egg cartons and it flew off. However on closer inspection of the photograph the next day the strong double-pointed outer central crossband looks to be spot on for Rosy Underwing which I think would be quite a rarity though I know that the rarity status of moths can change rather quickly.

Adam Hartley

Acleris laterana

Rosy Underwing?


  1. Hello Adam, your second photo shows a moth with quite a course, grainy appearance and if you have a look at the Rosy Underwing picture on the UK Moths website you'll see what the field guide means about that species looking much smoother overall. Sadly I've got no personal experience of Rosy Underwing (which is still an exceedingly rare migrant to this country) but I'm sure your moth is a Red Underwing.

    As to the number of species that could be found in your garden, unless you are entirely surrounded by concrete I'm sure most people in our three counties could achieve 700-800 species (including 300+ macros) without too much difficulty - but how quickly you get there is down to a number of factors, not least of which is having a life other than moths!! If you keep at it, are prepared to put in a good deal of effort when it comes to micros and if you have some luck, you'll get there eventually.

    One of our neighbours acquired a couple of kittens a few years ago and they initially became quite interested in the moth trap, but they quickly grew up and moved on to terrorising the local population of birds and small mammals instead...

  2. Yes, it's a Red Underwing and the other looks good for laterana. I trapped in my Ballinger garden for 20 years and achieved around 760 species. I'm sure if I'd leaf mined properly it would have risen close to 800. Getting to those giddy heights does require the help of a person who is prepared to spend hours peering down a microscope identifying the difficult micros, but that adds a few hundred.

  3. Thanks guys for your helpful comments. I must confess that I go a bit carried away when seeing the shape of the outer central crossline and didn't really take a good look at the rest of the description - on reflection my moth is clearly a Red Underwing as you both say.

    I've come to accept that my garden and/or trap don't give very high counts so it's going to take longer for me to work my way up to the kind of counts that you are talking about. Still it's an enjoyable journey.


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