Tuesday 2 April 2024

Unexpectedly early record

Catches here in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, haven't been enormously substantial so far this year (though not noticeably worse than the same time last year); but they did include on 31st March a very unexpected Least Black Arches. The Bible refers to a flight season beginning in May for this species, though the Hampshire Flying Tonight page does imply a very few records on the same date; I took quite some time looking for anything I could have mistaken for LBA, but I'm very confident that's what it is.

Least Black Arches, 31/3/24
Steve Goddard, Wolvercote


  1. Hi Steve, it's worth checking out the UTB atlas also, where it seems that this species starts flying in early April in our area (https://upperthamesmoths.co.uk/index.php?bf=20780&fil=a)

  2. Hi Steve,
    I was going to make the same point as John above - the on-line Atlas is likely to give a more up-to-date picture of flight-times for our area. Your example is indeed Least Black Arches and it is early, but we do have local sightings from the first week of April and records from the second half of the month are commonplace nowadays. Lots of species are flying earlier, flying later or increasing their number of broods thanks to our changing climate and trying to keep up with it all is part of what makes this such a fascinating hobby!

  3. Thanks, both. I think I'm going to assume the same goes for the Yellow-barred Brindle I had yesterday (i.e., dated 3rd April). Judging by the Atlas, that also seems to start flying in early April nowadays, although perhaps in smaller numbers than LBA.

  4. I had a Least Black Arches in my GMS catch in Seer Green on 29th March. Someone on the Herts & Middx moth group had also had an early one on the same weekend. Also on the 8th April an early Flame Shoulder in Winslow which from looking at the Atlas isnt unprecedented but certainly right at the start of the curve.


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