Friday, 21 September 2012

Autumn Moths

Two Lunar Underwings, Omphaloscelis lunosa, and one Black Rustic, Aporophyla nigra.  Noctuids.   In my garden actinic light trap in Hayes on 16 September 2012.
Two Lunar Underwings and one Black Rustic. In my garden light trap on 16 September 2012.
These species in my light trap are a sign that Autumn has arrived. 

For this photo I have placed them on one of the pieces of bark I picked up in the woods specifically for moth photographs.  The two on the right are the same rather variable species, Lunar Underwings, named for a small dark crescent mark in the centre of the underwing.  I'll put a photo below.  To check for its presence I had to stun one (chemically) and open its wings out.  I don't intend to do that to this species more than this once, as they always lose a few wing scales. But I am pleased to say that when I do do it, they always fly away afterwards.

The greyish one is clearly marked, but I thought the brown one might be a different, similar species, so that was the one I checked.  But the lunar mark was there, and now I know what forewing markings are critical for identification.

The Black Rustic is an easy one.  There are no other British moths with a combination of that dark colour, the slight glossiness, and the light outline around the kidney-mark.

Lunar Underwing, Omphaloscelis lunosa, showing the dark crescent on the underwing.  Hayes, 16 September 2012.
 Lunar Underwing, Omphaloscelis lunosa, showing the dark crescent on the underwing.  Hayes, 16 September 2012.

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