Thursday, 1 March 2012

Moths in February

Three Chestnuts, Conistra vaccinii.  Noctuids. Moths trapped in my back garden in Hayes on 24 February 2012.
Three Chestnuts, Conistra vaccinii, trapped in my back garden in Hayes on 24 February 2012.
With a brief spell of unusually warm weather for February, I put my trap out and found these winter fliers, dark brown and looking very glossy. There was also a micromoth in the trap, and I found another of the same in my house that evening. This one was on a lightshade.

Agonopterix species (might be A. scopariella, A. heracliana or a couple of others; needs microscopic examination).  Micromoth.  In my house in Hayes in the evening. 24 February 2012.
Agonopterix species. Micromoth in my house in Hayes in the evening of 24 February 2012.
Just a tiny, rather undistinguished thing, but with some distinctive features. Unfortunately, there are several species with the same features, so I could only identify the genus. But there was another micromoth on the same night, this one on my window, looking more than most moths like a creature wrapped in a fur coat.  This one could be clearly identified (with the help of the iSpot site!).

Rufous-margined Button Moth, Acleris cristana.  Tortrix.   Micromoth caught on the outside of my back window in Hayes, 23 February 2012, and photographed again in the house the next night, 24 February 2012.  Manley says there are over 120 named forms!  But the tuft of scales on the wing is definitive here.
Rufous-margined Button Moth, Acleris cristana,
photographed on my wall on 24 February 2012.
These two photos were actually taken the next day; it got away in the house and I found it later sitting on the wall. At last it was sitting still!  Moths often tuck their antennae under their wings when resting.  There are numerous variations in the appearance of this moth, but the strange tufts of scales on its wings are definitive in identifying the species.

Rufous-margined Button Moth, Acleris cristana, showing the wing tufts.  24 February 2012.
Rufous-margined Button Moth, Acleris cristana, showing the wing tufts.  24 February 2012.
Both of these micromoths are only about a centimetre long.

Well, after weeks of catching nothing or occasionally one moth, it looks as though the season might be starting up again.

1 comment:

  1. That tiny button moth, as if wrapped in his fur coat and protecting his antennae is a wonderful creature.