Wednesday, 7 August 2019

ID help please

Here are a few moths from late June / early July that I'm not sure about.

1. Dingy footman?

2. Double-striped pug?

3. Hedya ochroleucana?

4. Short-cloaked moth?

5. Shoulder-striped wainscot?

6. Spruce carpet?




Thanks, Jacqui
Speen, Bucks


  1. Hello Jacqui,

    It is back to the drawing board for some of these, I'm afraid!

    The first is a very tired Orange Footman (generally the first Footman to appear each year). The second is a Riband Wave. It would be rather large for a pug and the overall shape is wrong (although some of the smaller waves can often mistaken for pugs). The third is a good guess although I think it is actually Hedya nubiferana which looks rather similar. The fourth is correct - well done!

    The fifth is indeed a Wainscot so you were in the correct area. It is difficult to see from that photo but I'd suggest Smoky Wainscot because Shoulder-striped is usually more heavily marked with black.

    The next picture is really the most worrying because you've gone for a geometer (Spruce Carpet) when it is obviously a chunky noctuid. You do need to check first off that the overall shape fits your choice of ID and that's where the Field Guide, with its illustrations of moths in their usual resting posture, is so useful. The difficult bit starts when you've established that it is a noctuid because there are rather a lot of similar looking "brown-jobs", but I think you'll find that's an Apamea species and probably Large Nutmeg.

    The last three are more tricky because the photos are rather dark. When it comes to micros, unless they rest with their wings flat it is always worth trying to get a view from an angle of about 45 degrees rather than from dead on top otherwise the markings can't be seen properly. The first is probably one of the grass moths and I can't make out much at all on the final one. In between them is a very worn noctuid with few markings left to go on but it is probably a Turnip or Heart & Club.

  2. Dave, thank you for your detailed feedback. I'm afraid I'm still very much a learner. I pore over the 'flying tonight' lists and the field guides, but sometimes I really can't distinguish a lot of very similar markings. I think I'm slowly getting better because I am recognising more and more by sight, but when I haven't seen a particular moth before I lack confidence and prefer to check with an expert.

  3. Jacqui - be a little bit careful with the flying tonight lists, some can be a bit misleading. If you don't already, try Hants Moths site to double-check on something you might have identified. If you click on the appropriate box with the species in question it gives you a breakdown of all the Hants dates records. Then just add a week or two because we are further north.


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