Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Deep-brown Dart and Black Rustic

These two species can cause some confusion so I've taken a male example of each from my garden trap last night and photographed them together below:

Black Rustic (top) & Deep-brown Dart (bottom)

As you can see, even lightening the picture considerably in Photoshop as I've done here, there isn't all that much difference in the basic ground colour, especially on a dull morning as it was today.  Black Rustic is larger than Deep-brown Dart but that is not too helpful when you don't have both side-by-side.  Black Rustic is usually fairly glossy in appearance and has a conspicuous white edging to the reniform stigma (kidney mark) which is always obvious in fresh specimens but be aware that it can fade or disappear with age.  The easiest way to tell males apart is by their antennae because to the naked eye those on Deep-brown Dart are quite strongly feathered for the first two-thirds of their length whereas those of Black Rustic are not - this difference is very clear in the photo above.  So, if you're not sure which of the two you have, prod the moth into life and look at its antennae (the chances are that you'll have a male).

Deep-brown Dart, 14th September

Dave Wilton

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