Friday 13 December 2013

Saharan Dust

Interesting 'Tweet' from BC.

RT : Saharan dust over the UK tonight Might be worth putting the out

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Scarce and Mottled umbers

Put the trap out in the garden on Sunday night and had Winter moths, December moths, Feathered thorn, November moth agg, and Light brown apple moth. As Sarah has found, most of them were found outside of the trap.

Trapped in a small mixed woodland on Monday night and caught Scarce umbers, Mottled umbers, November moth aggs, Winter moth and Spruce carpet.

Mottled umber

Scarce umber

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Depressaria radiella/heraclei? otherwise known as the Parsnip moth

This one had a leg missing so it was euthanased.  The lines are 8mm apart and I measured the wl as 13mm.  Very shiny and flat with spots on the termen and a pale V with dark streaking on the inner part of the wing so I hope my id is correct.  OK, so you lot have been catching loads of them…
What is behind the name change?  What does heraclei mean and am I right in thinking the radiella is something to do with the streak pattern or that they are born with one leg short and crawl round in circles?

Chestnuts plus

I've just picked up on Sarah's Dark Chestnut.
 I had these 2 very contrasting Chestnuts in my box in late November which made me consult the books.  I'm sure they are Chestnuts but it would be instructive for some of our less experienced trappers  (inc me!) to see your Dark Chestnut Sarah, can you post it on the blog?

Bats are still flying as are lots of moths in my headlights.
Butterfly Conservation Newsletter with interesting stuff on our moths in Wales has just been published on-line.  Go to the website and click on newsletter.

Sorry second pic not cropped enough.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Light Brown Apple Moth

Although our garden trap last night yielded only two December Moths and one November Moth agg we found what we believe to be a male Light Brown Apple Moth in the house.

Carolyn & Evan

Sunday 24 November 2013


Last night from a trap in an Aberystwyth garden the highlights were this attractive Brick and large numbers of Yellow-line Quakers.

Carolyn & Evan.

Sunday 17 November 2013

More Late Autumn Moths

We also put our garden trap out last night in the north of the county where the temperature dipped to 2.6°C.   We caught four December Moths, two Feathered Thorns and a November Moth agg (Epirrita sp) which unfortunately Peter we haven't kept for dissection!

Carolyn & Evan

Feathered Thorn
Epirrita sp

Thursday 14 November 2013

Common plume: Emmelina monodactyla

No moths in the trap this morning (not surprising considering the wind and rain last night) but there was this plume sheltering inside.

Thank you for your comment Peter. I decided to try to photograph the tibial spurs. Not a great photo but hopefully you can see the evidence.

Friday 8 November 2013

Yesterday I found an Angle Shades loitering in the ladies' toilets at the university, and the day before a 20 Plume moth in my bedroom.  Is anyone else seeing more moths coming indoors?

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Moths Count newsletter

For anyone who has not seen this information click on the following link Latest moths count newsletter from Butterfly Conservation. It gives a summary of the mothing year and gives details of the next moth recorders meeting.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Brindled Ochre Distribution Map


Another good record.  You must have some Hogweed or Wild Angelica growing in the area. 


Sunday 20 October 2013

Day flying Epirrita sp

I was in Strata Florida yesterday and today in very squally weather and was astonished to see day-flying Epirrita sp (probable Autumnal moths).  Disappointed they do not get a mention in the new book on Day-Flyers!  They were not disturbed but free flying at varying levels and in the rain storms at 250m    asl.  So strongly did they fly that it was some time before I could see one through the bins to id it.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Merveille du Jour

A late addition to last nights catch was our first Merveille du jour of the year. It was resting on a wall at least 7 meters away from the light trap.

What's the caterpillar?

From Chloe Griffiths:

I found 3 of these mystery caterpillars today, about an inch to an inch and a half long, very furry, and seemingly uniformly chestnut brown.  They were near a very acidic pool complex in the midst of Soft Rush, Heath bedstraw, Bilberry, Bramble, etc.  Could anyone let me know what they are, please?

Chinese character

The actinic light trap in the garden last night caught 18 moths of 8 species. All common autumn moths: Spruce carpet, Black rustic, Yellow-line quaker, Red-line quaker, Blair's shoulder knot, Common marbled carpet, Light brown apple moth, and Chinese character. The Chinese character looked very fresh but about a month later than its normal flight season.

Chinese character
 Has anyone else noticed how large the Spruce carpets are this year, could this be related to the better than average summer weather?

Thursday 10 October 2013


"Today Coed Phoenix kicked off its Micro Reserves project by having a tour of one of our brand new sites.  Even as we were having a cup of coffee on site, the first moth was discovered, in the toilet!  It was a beautiful Herald.  What a great omen for the start of our work."

From Chloe Griffiths

Tuesday 8 October 2013

You never know.....

Giant Atlas moth found on windowsill in Ramsbottom

24 October 2012 Last updated at 13:03 Help
A giant moth with a 1ft (30cm) wingspan has been found on a windowsill in Greater Manchester.

The Atlas moth is the biggest moth in the world and is normally found thousands of miles away in South East Asia.

When it landed at a house in Ramsbottom, it was so large the Blackmore family "thought it was a bat".

The moth, which only lives for a week, has since died but 30 of its offspring are being reared at a butterfly farm in Bolton.

How the moth arrived in Ramsbottom is a mystery although it's believed to have escaped from a private collection.

For video go to BBC News online

Caterpillar id

Lin has found this caterpillar and would like to know what it is.

Liz thinks it may be Bright-line brown-eye.

Monday 7 October 2013

Lunar Underwing Distribution Map

Chloe,  I thought you might be interested to see the distribution of one of our more common moths.  Having said that we haven't caught one yet!


Feathered Thorn

Having just arrived home after a meeting this evening we noticed this colourful male Feathered Thorn at the kitchen window.

Carolyn & Evan

Palpita vitrealis

Here is a photo of the Palpita vitrealis caught by Chloe at her recent "Beer and Moths" evening. This lovely immigrant moth was recorded earlier this year, also from the Aberystwyth area.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Beer and Moths night!

Saturday night's "Beer and Moths" night in Penparcau produced the following results:

4 Silver Y
6 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Common Plume
12 Light Brown Apple
5 Rush Veneer
1 Twenty Plume
3 Black Rustic
1 Autumn Green Carpet
1 Blair's Shoulder-knot
3 Lunar Underwing
1 Palpita vitrealis

and 2 mystery moths - any suggestions please?

Sent by Chloe Griffiths


Its hard to believe these two are the same but I think they are both Chestnuts.  If that is so, hopefully it will help those struggling for hours to id moths in the trap at the moment.
Also had a Rush Veneer and 11 Green brindled crescents, 13 Red line Quakers, 11 Yellow line quakers and 3 well-marked Dark Swordgrass  with 2 fresh Satellites between 2 traps last night when the temp fell to 6.9C under a starlit sky.

Sugaring and wine ropes

At this time of year there are a declining number of nectar rich plants in flower but still plenty of moth species to see.
One of the best ways to attract moths and do them a good turn is to use a technique known as sugaring whereby a treacly mixture is painted onto fence posts or tree trunks avoiding lichens and mosses which are important habitats for micro-moths.
The recipe is as follows courtesy of Butterfly Conservation website.

Moths will also come to artificial nectar called “sugar”. Heat about 500ml of brown ale (or cola) in a large pan and simmer for five minutes to remove alcohol and other chemicals. Then stir in and dissolve about a kilogram of dark brown sugar, followed by a tin of black treacle. Simmer the mixture stirring well to make sure the molasses have all dissolved and then allow it to cool before transferring it to a suitable container for carrying outside. A drop of rum stirred in before use is recommended, but not essential. Just before dusk, use a brush to paint the mixture at eye level onto tree trunks or fence posts. Check the “sugar” for moths with a torch during the first two hours of darkness.  Store the remainder in a kiln jar or tin and use on other occasions through the season.

 Wine Ropes
An alternative method to sugaring uses thick cord or cloth made from absorbent material. You will need an old fashioned pyjama cord or strips of material 1cm wide by 1m long.  Boil the material for at least 10 minutes to remove chemicals. Heat a bottle of cheap red wine in a pan, stir in and dissolve a kilogram of sugar and, after cooling, soak metre lengths of the cord or twisted cloth in the mixture. Drape these “wine ropes” over low branches, bushes or fences just before dusk and later check for moths by torch-light.

Saturday 5 October 2013

....And Dark Sword-grass!

Just up the valley from Tony and Ina's last night we also caught three migrants -  a Dark Sword-grass, a Vestal and a Silver Y.  The last time we caught a Dark Sword-grass was in August 2010 and a Vestal in October 2011.

Carolyn & Evan
Dark Sword-grass

Migrant Night !

You know the feeling, you wait ages for a bus and then lots come along at the same time.
Last night in Talybont - 2 Vestal, 3 Rush Veneer and good old faithful 10 Silver Y.
Could they feel happier about dropping in because we now have street lights that go out shortly after midnight?
Also a female Large Wainscot  - these can wander far from their breeding site.


Rush Veneer

Large Wainscot

Thursday 3 October 2013

Frosted orange

The Frosted Orange will always sound like the name of a 1950s lipstick to me, but today I met the creature in the flesh, at the Coed Phoenix moth trap, in Bronant.  Tony and Ina had kindly come along to set up their 2 traps with my single Heath, and in spite of the very heavy rain, we managed to get 125 individuals all in, which included 15 species that were new to us on the reserve, including:  Black Rustic; Chevron; Flounced Chestnut and of course, the Frosted Orange.  We send all our records to the Local Record Centre - WWBIC. We hope to get a lot more local people into moths over the next year.

Frosted orange
Sent by Chloe Griffiths

Coed Phoenix moths

Despite a very wet night we had well over 100 moths in 3 heath traps at Coed Phoenix last night, with 21 species of macro moths. 35 Red-line quaker, 13 Yellow-line quaker, 31 Spruce carpet, 12 Flounced chestnut, 6 Green-brindled crescent, notable singletons of Small phoenix, Frosted orange, Red sword-grass, Autumn green carpet, Brick, Sallow and Chestnut.
Autumn green carpet

Flounced chestnut

Green-brindled crescent and Red-line quaker

Red sword-grass

Wednesday 2 October 2013


An interesting map considering that there used to be a large Leyland nursery in the Talybont area some years ago.


Tuesday 1 October 2013

Blair's shoulder-knot

This moth was not recorded in Ceredigion before the 1980's according to Adrian Fowles. It was first discovered on the Isle of Wight in 1951 and has been moving north very quickly since then. Could the spread be related to abundance of Lawson's and Leyland Cypress, the larval food plants. We recorded good numbers in the garden last year, and we had our first for this year last night.

Monday 30 September 2013

Pale Mottled Willow Distribution


That was a good night!  The map says it all!


Vernacular names for micro moths

We have added a short article to 'pages' regarding vernacular names of microlepidopter.
This was written by Steve Palmer (Lancs micro recorder), in answer to a question by a local moth-er in that county. 
As I thought it may be of interest to those (us included) struggling to get to grips with the scientific names I asked if we could use it on the Ceredigion Blog.
Hope you find it interesting.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Some Autumn Moths

Our garden trap last night produced 12 species including these four rather attractive autumn moths. As Sarah mentioned earlier we have also seen a lot of Silver Ys including three in our trap. Retrieving the trap was a painful experience due to a wasp resting under the handle!

Carolyn & Evan

Red-line & Yellow-line Quakers
Merveille du Jour
Brindled Green

Brown-spot Pinion Distribution


Another good record!  It is interesting that Waring in his most recent book states "it was formerly one of the most numerous moths in English lowlands, including gardens.  However, numbers in the Rothamsted national light-trap network declined substantially between 1968 and 2002 and it does not appear to have recovered since."


Thursday 26 September 2013

Cors Fochno - Moths and Mines

Having spent two days learning about Microlepidoptera leaf mines in Lancashire & Cumbria from Dr. Mark Young and Steve Palmer, we decided to try to put our new found knowledge into practise this morning.
After emptying the moth traps we looked over the surrounding foliage and found the following.

Mompha raschkiella on Rosebay Willowherb

This is a link to UK Moths if you would like to see the adult.
Bucculatrix cidarella on Bog Myrtle
This little moth also feeds on alder and the mines can be found during August & September.
We also found Stigmella aurella, this is very common on bramble...look on any bramble patch and it will most likely be there.
Moths in the trap included... Canary Shouldered Thorn, Pink-barred Sallow, Small Wainscot, Pinion-streaked Snout, Chevron, Eudonia angustea and Brindled Green.
Brindled Green

Pink-barred Sallow on pink pencil!!