Thursday, 14 August 2008

More moths

It's still early days in my moth career. Some are fairly easy to identify, but others can be much more troublesome due to:
  • variations within species (size, colour, pattern)
  • similarities between species
  • wear
  • changes in phenology due to warming
Much of the identification process relies on experience and repeated exposure to conflicting identifications: yesterday I read a post on UKmoths where five experts gave five different suggestions for one worn specimen.

Anyway, here are my recent discoveries, with varying degrees of confidence.

First, Northern Eggar - Lasiocampa quercus f. callunae:

The Northern Eggar/Oak Eggar complex is rather interesting: the life-cycle is either 1 year (mostly southern) or 2 year (Northern/Western), but the intermediate zone (English midlands/Welsh border) has populations that vary between 1 year and two years. I rather suspect we're seeing the intermediate stage of one species becoming two. There are, however, consistent variations in size and pattern between the two subspecies. I've chosen Northern Eggar for this one simply because that's what we have in Ireland, but the rear of the main yellow band is diffuse, which ties in perfectly. It should be noted that these are day-flying moths and can often be confused in flight with larger butterflies, especially Dark Green Fritillary.

Next, Garden Carpet - Xanthorhoe fluctuata. Identification mostly based on the 3 wing patches, the largest of which fades away. Thorax and abdomen colours look good, too.

I'm a bit less confident of this one. Flounced Rustic - Luperina testacea. But I love the common name.

Maybe a bit more confident of this Shaded Broad-bar - Scotopteryx chenopodiata.

All new to me, but I'll wait for the dust to settle before I add them to my species list.

1 comment:

Gill said...

"Flounced rustic" - sounds like something out of a Victorian melodrama :-)

Nice shots - I am constantly amazed by the sheer variety of moths.