22 May 2019 - Blondin of the Bushes II

Nemapotogon schwarziellus
The photograph in the previous posting reveals that the measured moth is more likely to be what the Norfolk Moths website refers to as the Sandy Long-horn (Nemapotogon schwarziellus).  Charlie Fletcher finds this variety more common than N swammerdammella - which is good news for Shandy Hall as it means that is another species to add to the list, taking the number up to 438.  Herr Schwarz was a German entomologist about whom I can find nothing other than he died in 1810.  Apparently the caterpillars live in movable cases (rather like a caddis fly I imagine) for eighteen months, feeding on dead leaves.

Schwarziellus seems not to be recorded in Humphreys and Westwood but there is a page of illustrations that show both the 'metallics' and the 'non-metallics' of the species as some have shiny wings that glint in the sun.


14. Adela swammerdamella / 15. A. panzerella /16. A. Robertella
The three longhorns selected in the illustration are described as 'species with the wings destitute of metallic gloss'. The Swammerdamian (14) can be found 'flying in swarms up and down like gnats' during May and June.  The flowering stem is Rock Cress and possibly serves only as decoration.

PS.  Charlie Fletcher confirmed that moth 15 (panzerella) in the drawing was renamed as schwarziellus.  G W F Panzer (1755 - 1829) was a German entomologist.  

21 May 2019 - Blondin of the Bushes

(Nematopogon swammerdamella)
Pure chance that I happened on this moth at 6.30pm as it rested on Hydrangea petiolaris - a climbing hydrangea that originates in Japan.  The little moth has spectacular antennae and they seem to act like a tight-rope walker's balancing pole as the insect clambers among the unopened flower heads.  There has been only one other of this species recorded at Shandy Hall and that was when Helen Levins was here as an intern in 2012.  The scientific name makes reference to nema (thread) and pogon (beard); Swammerdam was a Dutch entomologist.

Not a new moth for the gardens but a delicate, complex little piece of the environment that although not uncommon throughout the county, will not be seen very often.

When I sent the image to have it verified by Dr Fletcher he asked about the moth's size.  If the antennae and body length could be recorded then it might not be swammerdamella but the somewhat scarcer N schwarziellus.  

I could only guess the measurements but decided that if the moth decided to take to the air at a similar time to last night, I would try to get an accurate recording.

The result (below) has been forwarded for scrutiny.  Two squares = 1cm.


Longhorn measurements




14 May 2019 - Studies in Grey

Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica)
The gap in posting does not represent idleness on my part.  Traps have been set, Hebrew Characters (Orthosia gothica) have been identified and recorded but that is all.  It is difficult to compose an account of the delights of moth-trapping when all there is to be seen is a moth that has been recorded many times already.  The reason for this paucity of results is largely due to the cloudless nights and the attendant drops in temperature.  Moths don't like the cold - or it seems all except Hebrew Characters don't like the cold. However, last night there was a change and a Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica) appeared.  An account of a previous acquaintance with this species can be found here  This moth's colouring is more grey than the brown that it displays in the photograph.

Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella)

In the house another species of moth was found clinging to the muslin curtain close to the window, as if in homage to our earlier catch.  A Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella) was easy to identify by its resting position, a pose common to the Galleriinae family.  Another characteristic is that this group of moths produce larvae that feed on the combs inside wasp and bee nests.

Moth activity is taking place in the gardens at Shandy Hall but it is not abundant.  Another trap will be put out tomorrow when the forecast is for a cloudier night.


21 April 2019 - Moth in Wolf's Clothing

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria)
It was a little premature to announce the appearance of the full moon on the occasion of the previous moth-trap. Good Friday was the correct date - and this moth and that date couldn't be more appropriate.  The Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria) makes only its second appearance at Shandy Hall and this is a fine, strongly marked, male specimen with pectinate (comb-like) antennae.  The description of the first recording in 2014 can be found here along with the record of the Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) - a moth very similar in appearance.

The Lycia part of the scientific name is derived from the Greek for 'wolf' (lycos) and the wolf is the animal that howls at the full moon.


Brindled Beauties [illustration]

The male and female of the species were drawn in flight for the Humphreys and Westwood edition of British Moths and their Transformations - another word we associate with the wolf and the lycanthropic state.

The Brindled Beauty is recorded as being a scarce and local resident in Yorkshire but it seems there may have been an increase over the last couple of years. 


Twin-spotted Quaker (Anorthoa munda)
This Twin-spotted Quaker (Anorthoa munda) is so clearly marked that it serves as a good identity image for this relatively uncommon species. Sometimes this moth will appear in a rusty-red version and sometimes the twin-spots may not be easy to see.  It tends to spend its time in woodland habitats and is the least likely of the Quakers to be seen in the garden.
When first recorded in Coxwold the scientific name was Orthosia munda.  UK Moths now identifies it as Anorthoa munda and I can't seem to find the reason.

Small Quaker (Othosia cruda)

The photograph of the Small Quaker is included purely because it is a particularly fresh and crisply marked example.  It has retained the Orthosia name unlike its cousin above.

The other moths in the trap included two Garden Carpets (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) that dashed off as soon as the egg boxes were moved; an Early Grey and a few other Quakers.

PS
(First swallow spotted in Coxwold on Saturday.)


18 April 2019 - The Cold Moon

Streamer (Anticlea derivata)

Despite the heat of the day, the full moon and clear sky made the temperature drop last night and the 12 Hebrew Characters, a Satellite and this Streamer was the sum total to be found this morning.  The Streamer has been trapped, identified, photographed and recorded already and this link will take you straight to the page and a fuller report.  The two photographs are similar in that they show the moth in their egg-boxes.  The Streamer has a tendency to launch itself into the air if disturbed.  The other member of the Anticlea family is the Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata) which was recorded a few weeks ago.

The weather forecast tells of even warmer days over Easter so I will try another trap on Saturday evening and see whether numbers and species improve.  Orange-tips have appeared after their eleven months as overwintering pupae and Brimstones flit around in a seemingly haphazard fashion - but it is moths we want to see.

9 April 2019 - The Missing Chestnut

Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa)
The Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) is new to the garden.  It is a common moth and it is widespread throughout Yorkshire but it hadn't been seen at Shandy Hall before.  How can this be?  Most probably because trapping tends not to be as active in this still chilly month.
Last night's trap nearly didn't take place but with the forecast being poor for later in the week I thought I had better seize the opportunity. On inspection just after 6am things did not look too promising. 

There were over 60 moths in the trap and I carefully went through them all to make sure they were all accounted for.  Here (photograph below) are the moths after they have been persuaded to leave the safety of the egg-boxes and have been transported to the base of the trap with a soft paint-brush.  Most remain in this semi-catatonic state and most are from just a few species - Hebrew Character, Common Quaker, Small Quaker and Clouded Drab - but three were different.

Moths caught in the trap

The three aren't all visible here, but two are.  One is part of the cluster on the right and is a White-marked, the new visitor from last week putting in another appearance; the other is just inside the inner rim at about 6 o'clock.  That is the Red Chestnut. The rubricosa part of the name means 'having the colour of red ochre' - ochre being a clay mineral that is coloured by hematite, which derives its name from the Greek for 'blood'.  Sanguine or red chalk writing is one of the earliest in man's history.  This is a moth with the weight of history on its wings.

The fact that it flies only until the end of April probably accounts for why it has  been missed in the past as species can come and go quite quickly.  For example last week there were a number of Early Greys that came to the light - now there are none. 

There was one other individual - the overwintering Satellite moth which is one of the easiest to identify with its distinctive 'dots' or satellites on either side of the kidney mark.


Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)
We have already identified and recorded: Chestnut, Dark Chestnut and Beaded Chestnut. The 'Red' was the missing one and becomes species 437 for the garden.

30 March 2019 - Frosty Moths

Box of Moths

Before setting up the moth trap last night I went to that trusty source of internet information known as Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight.  A list of possible moth-visitors to the gardens, woods, meadows and parks of this large county is there to refer to and I hoped that my memory might be refreshed and that I might recognise the majority of those found this morning.  What I did discover was a larger number than I had anticipated especially as the grass was frozen. 

The first photograph gives a smattering of what turned out to be quite a number of different species and a number of each variety too. I placed one of each apparent species in the box, checked its identity and then compared the known with the remainder - of which there were around sixty.  

Some were simple - the Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata) for example. Straightforward to identify, I photographed it and left it in peace remembering the last time I encountered this moth it didn't take kindly to being disturbed.  The scientific name comes from Anticlea, mother of Ulysses, who was so distressed by her son's absence at the Trojan War that she died of grief; badius means 'brown or dun-coloured' from the ground colour of the moth. 

Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata)

The two examples of the Common Quaker (below) show how individuals of the same species can lead to uncertainty.  The markings on the moth on the sage leaf are rather muted compared to the one in the second photograph. 

Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)

Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)

The Small Quaker is reasonably easy to identify as it is considerably smaller than others of the same family. The wings are lightly speckled with black and this helps too.

Orthosia means 'to make straight' referring to the line at the base of the wings.  It is also an epithet of Artemis, goddess of the hunt.  The second part of the binomial crudas means 'unripe' or 'premature' referring to the adult's flight so early in the year.  Milton's poem Lycidas which is a lament for a drowned friend states: 'I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude...'

Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda)

The Hebrew Character is common in the gardens at Shandy Hall and common throughout the county.  The name refers to the black markings on the wings which vary a little from moth to moth but are generally consistent.  There must have been at least twenty of this species and all looked freshly hatched.

Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)


Hebrew Character (illustration)

The illustration from British Moths and their Transformations by Humphreys and Westwood (1843) shows the moth in flight.

Pale Pinion (Lithophane hepatica)
The Pale Pinion is not a common species and it was encouraging to find six in total.  Hepatica refers to the liver colouring to the wings which is not readily visible in the examples I found this morning.

Pale Pinion (illustration)



Clouded Drab (Orthosia inserta)

The scientific name for the Clouded Drab includes the word 'inserta' or uncertain.  This moth appears in a number of versions and is not easy to identify but I think this one is correct.


White-marked (Cerastis leucographa)

Finally - before the PS - here is the first new species of the year.  A White-marked.  This moth is exactly as the name describes, as you can see from the photograph.  Although lepidopterists have bred the moth in captivity, it seems that the caterpillar has never been seen in the wild.  Stitchwort, dock and sallow have fed the captive larvae but where the moth lays its eggs and what the larvae feed on, is a mystery.  Described as 'Local' both for the county and the country it takes the species count to 436.

Morel Fungus
PS  A surprise in the garden.  Could this unusual fungus (or truffle as some insist it should be called) be a source of nourishment for moths?  The extremely scarce Waved Black (Parascotia fulginaria) is a consumer of fungus so maybe this odd little organism has a particular place in the mothy scheme of things.

Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)

PPS The Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) has overwintered as a pupa and the warm weather has probably encouraged the adults to emerge.  The caterpillar feeds on honeysuckle.

That covers the first trap of 2019.

27 March 2019 - Early Thorn

Early Thorn (Senaria dentaria)

Too many delays (and too many chilly evenings) so far this year but finally one moth insists on drawing attention to the fact that there is increasing activity in the garden and it is time to see what the moth trap will reveal.  

Leaving the kitchen light on accidentally overnight attracted an Early Thorn (Senaria dentaria) that was discovered next morning clinging to the window frame.  With its wings tightly pressed together, just like a butterfly, this Thorn can be distinguished from all others.  Its early arrival in the year follows overwintering as a pupa and there is often a second generation around July to September.  Last week I came across a hibernating Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix) in the stable which nearly stirred me into action - this second prompt has done the job.

We had hoped to be continuing our partnership with University of Pennsylvania this year but alas! it is not to be.  For the past seven years we have had a resident student during the months of June and July.  Thanks to their careful photographing and research we have been able to keep a close check on the species identified and recorded.  Will we increase the number of new species this year?  435 is the count so far...




26 October 2018 - Dr Blair's Moths

Blair's Shoulder Knot (Lithophane leautieri)
The Juniperus procumbens, growing near the base of the ancient sweet chestnut tree, is the possible food plant for this Blair's Shoulder-knot when it was in the larval stage of its development.  The pink flush on the abdomen can be seen quite easily as the moth's defence response is to play dead when touched, when it can be quite easily rolled over to see the underside of the hindwings.  Lithophanes are becoming popular again - they are made of porcelain with a design etched into the surface which makes the porcelain thinner and enables the image to be seen when a light source (like a candle) is placed behind.  The origin of the word is from the Greek for 'appearing like a stone'.  

The moth was discovered in south-western France by M Leautier but I can find nothing about him.  However the reference to 'Blair' is easier to find out.  There are two other moths similarly named : Blair's Mocha and Blair's Wainscot.  Dr. Kenneth Gloyne Blair was the man responisble for recording all three moths in the 1940's and 50's on the Isle of Wight. 

Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)
There is the tiny white satellite orbiting the orange planet (or dot) on the wings of the Satellite (Eupsilia transversa).  Click on the photograph and it can be seen more easily.  

This is a genus with only one species (monotypic) and here that one is.  The scientific name refers to the bands across (transversa) the wings; and the first part of the binomial means 'very bald' - which seems a little odd.  The larger dots are not always orange and sometimes there are two satellites...

Plutella porrectella

It could have been a Diamond Back but this is the Grey-streaked Diamond-back which is very similar to its much commoner name-sharer.  Plutella was originally connected to the Greek for 'wealth', but then it became associated with the Greek for 'smudged' as the colours seem to run into each other.  It seems that a third interpretation can be put forward - a reference to Pluto, god of the Nether World.  Porrectella links to the antennae which are 'outstretched' (porrectus) when the moth is at rest, as this one is.


Silver Y (Autographa gamma)

I have seen a number of Silver Y moths over the years and they tend to vary in the colours they display to the world, but I have never seen one so bright a purple colour.  The little 'y' marks are clearly seen - these a richer, creamier colour rather than the usual silvery white.


Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)
There were four Feathered Thorn moths in the trap and all in perfect condition.  Their similarity to the fallen leaves is so beautiful. The one above is a female as the antennae are not feathered.  The Feathered Thorn can be found in parks and gardens or wherever there are broad-leaved trees.  Further information on this moth can be found here.

November Moth (Epirrita dilutata )
There is no guarantee that the moth in the photograph above is a November Moth.  It might be a Pale November Moth (Epirrita christyi) or it might be an Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata).  The markings on the forewings of these moths are variable - sometimes the forewings of a single moth don't even match; the bands running across the wings are sometimes clearly defined and on other specimens they are hardly there at all.  Even the shape of the wings vary.  The moth shown above looks like a November Moth but this really means very little; just enjoy looking at its markings - so delicate and complex.

16 October 2018 - Dickensian Sprawling

Sprawler (Asteroscopus sphinx)
This is Sprawler.  Also known as Asteroscopus sphinx and before that Petasia cassinea. 
The petasia part of the scientific name seems to come from 'able to fly' but this seems somewhat odd as the majority of moths manage this without any trouble; the sphinx part of its other identity refers to the larva's habit of rearing up when disturbed - as can be seen in  the photograph beneath.  I can find no reference as to why the name was changed.

But the common name, Sprawler is an interesting one.  The OED lists the word as specifically relating to the species of moth when it was first recorded in 1832.  Seven years later Charles Dickens uses the word in Nicholas Nickleby when a character, referring to the Infant Phenomenon, declares, 'Isn't it enough to make a man crusty to see that little sprawler put up in the best business every night'.

Is the moth in the photograph sprawling?  I suppose it could be, but it might also be down to another meaning of the word : 'to crawl from one place to another in a struggling or ungraceful manner'.  When I moved the moth from the egg carton to the privet leaf (to reflect the illustration below) it suddenly became active and made jerky and rather wobbly movements before settling down to be photographed.  This sprawling reference is dated 1582. 


Sprawler and larva (illustration)
Sprawler was accompanied by the first December Moth of the season and a number of those scraps of tissue known as Winter Moth, November Moth and Autumnal Moth - all possible and all looking very much the same.

Sprawler has only been seen once before (exactly a year ago) and we are pleased to see a member of its new generation.

10 October 2018 - The Marvel of the Day

Merveille du Jour (Dichonia aprilina)

Out walking near Adel last night, without a coat, I noticed the relative warmth of the evening was causing some fluttering among the shrubs and bushes that line the main road - the Otley Road.  There were lights everywhere - overhead street lamps, upstairs and downstairs bed and dining  rooms, garages, shops and the headlights of passing traffic.  Through this light-saturated habitat the moths of Adel were still managing to cling on to life.  In the Quaker graveyard, set back from the road and comparatively dark, there were quite a few whirring about their business.  When I arrived back in Coxwold the trap was brought out and some of the results can be seen here.  

The Merveille du Jour (Dichonia aprilina) is not common in North Yorkshire but we get one or two every year - just as the apples are falling.  An account of the derivation of the moth's scientific name can be seen if you type 'merveille' into the search box - or click to take you here.
Without a doubt it is a startling moth.  This one was pushing its proboscis through the fine mesh of the moth cage in search of the ivy flower or ripe berry.

Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata)

Another moth that carries a rich, crunchy green on its wings is the Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata). In the photograph above the redness is not clearly shown but this moth is variable and any presence of what is described as a 'marbled reddish brown' will be sufficient to confirm its identity.  The female overwinters and the larvae feed on broadleaved trees as well as apple and rowan.

Green-brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacanthae)

The third green moth is another Green-brindled Crescent - number two on the Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight list.  This is the season for this moth and the photograph shows the paler version - the darker was seen a week or so ago. This moth is found throughout the country and is described as 'abundant'. I have included it once again as it represents so many of the moths in this country - hardly seen at all, beautifully marked and so fragile.

Brown Plume (Stenoptilia pterodactyla)
The final image is that of the Brown Plume (Stenoptilia pterodactyla).  I love the Plume moths but hardly ever see them.  This one I found imprisoned in the gallery, clinging to a window pane and it was a pleasure to release it into the garden.  What a strange and ethereal moth it is.  See an earlier description and derivation of the scientific name here.

23 September 2018 - Fugitive Green

Mercury Vapour Lamp trap in the Wild Garden
The majority of the moth trapping at Shandy Hall takes place in what used to be a quarry.  Stone was taken from the ground and the resulting spoil heaps formed a miniature landscape of humps and hollows.  When the supply of stone came to an end the main part of this acre of ground became a paddock. My understanding is that the pathways that meander throughout were made by horses. Three mighty ash trees grow in the centre - all fortunately free of die-back - and the grasses and plants that encircle them are maintained to encourage as much insect life as possible.

The white sheet is important.  When a moth is attracted to the light it sometimes becomes completely disorientated and fails to enter the trap at all, coming to rest just outside.  If the trap is placed directly onto grass then those moths would be very difficult to spot and would also be in danger of  being trodden upon.   

Aethes smeathmanniana
The warmth in the middle of last week brought over a hundred moths to the trap but not a huge variety of different species. A couple of Green Carpets added some colour to the congregation but the palette was mainly brown and shades of brown.

The tiny ghost-like Aethes smeathmanniana was one exception.  Only seen once before at Shandy Hall and that was one of our UPenn interns who had identified it as a new species.  Not having seen it myself I thought this little scrap of tissue might increase the number - but it was not to be.  The moth is common throughout the UK though it is thinly distributed in North Yorkshire so it is good to be able to report that there have been two sightings in Coxwold.  Aethes refers to 'unusual' or 'strange'; the second part of the scientific name is in honour of H. Smeathman (1750 -87) a British entomologist whose main area of studies was termites.   

Celypha lacunana
The Common Marble is the name that is sometimes given to Celypha lacunana.  This moth proved too difficult to identify without Charlie Fletcher's help. It is so variable in colour that I am not certain I would be able to identify it when it next comes along, for it is very common throughout the United Kingdom.  Our other examples have all presented themselves differently.

Green-brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacantha)
The Green-brindled Crescent is much easier to identify, as long as it retains the sprinkling of green on its wings.  Green is a delightful colour in the moth world but it tends to fade quickly.


Green-brindled Crescent (illustration)

The illustration from British Moths and their Transformations by Humphreys and Westwood is a pretty accurate record.


Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana)
The final moth in this group was found in last night's trap which contained a Snout, a Rosy Rustic and the Green Brindled Crescent.  The Garden Rose Tortrix varies a little in how the pattern and colour appear on the wings and it is only the second to be recorded here.  No midges, no sexton beetles, no water boatmen - it was all too cold.  What will the equinox bring?  

11 September 2018 - Sallow and Button

Orange sallow (Xanthia citrago)
When I went out to see what the night had brought it was clear that it was not going to be an easy job.  Crane flies and wasps, beetles, caddis flies and midges were in the majority and although there were moths hiding in the egg-cartons, the majority were Large Yellow Underwings (Noctua pronuba), Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings (Noctua fimbriata) and dozens of Setaceous Hebrew Characters (Xestia c-nigrum).  A bright yellow Brimstone Moth and a perfect Blood Vein gave splashes of colour alongside an Orange Sallow which was in lovely condition.

The Orange Sallow has also only appeared once when it was recorded in 2014.  The link here will take you to that date where there is a short account of its biography.

(Acleris emargana )

Acleris emargana was also last seen four years ago and that was the only record for the garden at Shandy Hall.  Information about it was posted here on the blog so if you wish to see the little history for this moth, please click on the link. It flies with rapid wingbeats and when it settles it almost disappears.  It has a common name of Notch-wing Button and the notch can be seen in the photograph close to the insect's leg on the left hand side of the wing.  It is a small notch.

Going through the species list on the Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight website it seems that most of the moths in the top thirty or so have all been recorded in Coxwold, but the two above give evidence that each variety is not numerous.


6 September 2018 - Four Brown Moths

Brown-spot Pinion (Agrochola litura)
The leaves on the apple trees are still green and the crop of fruit is being collected for pressing in Husthwaite. It could be a record year. However, the colour brown is beginning to appear on the margins and this gentle transformation is reflected in the moths that are being lured by the overnight light-trap.  Some can be difficult to identify at this time of year and each different species seems to vary from individual to individual and sometimes looks like another variety altogether - especially if they are brown.

Here are photographs of 4 different species that came to the light-trap last night.  (The night was cool with high, thin clouds.)

The Brown-spot Pinion (Agrochola litura) is in the list of top twenty moths to be found on the wing in Yorkshire during the beginning of September and the evidence was shown in the trap where there were at least half a dozen specimens.  That broad band of a different shade of brown is helpful but I found the two strong black marks at the wing-tips made identification certain.
The scientific name is interesting.  Litura is the word for the 'smearing on a wax writing tablet'; an 'erasure' or a 'blotch' is another meaning. This is supposed to explain the four little black marks covering the ground colour (Agrochola) beneath. If you click on the picture it will enlarge and make it a little easier to see.    


Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum)
There are characteristics which help identify this second moth but colours are not a good guideline.  The shading can be anything from a sandy colour, through grey and almost to black.  I found the pale dotted white lines across the wings below the thorax helpful but the slightly elongated shape of the moth was the the strongest evidence.  I still had to double check with Charlie Fletcher.  The Turnip Moth can appear at any time of the year and is both a resident and a visitor.  It feeds on carrot, beet, swede and cabbage (where it is less welcome) and on the roots of other plants.

Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis)
A month ago the Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) was one of the most abundant moths on the wing in Yorkshire but the season is coming to an end for the adult of this species.  Those piercing black dart marks are quite easy to recognise.  The caterpillar will hibernate over winter in an underground cell where it will also pupate.  A light trap in a garden in summer, anywhere from Scotland to Cornwall, will attract this moth.

Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon)
The Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon) is larger than the other brown moths and has a crispness to its appearance - almost like charred paper.  It seems to vary between being very active and difficult to photograph to being almost comatose.  This one was happy to be lifted onto a leaf but then shot off at terrific speed.  How such energy is generated is quite extraordinary.

Brindled Green (Dryobotodes eremita)
And one green.  The Brindled Green carried a different identity in 1843 when it was illustrated by H N Humphreys Esq. in a series of plates.  It originally belonged to a group of moths known as the brocades, 'from the rich shining patches of varied tints upon the fore-wings'.  Some of the species today still carry the name - the Pale-shouldered Brocade being one that has been recorded at Shandy Hall.  The scientific name of the Brindled Green has  been through a number of variations: Hadena protea - where Hadena refers to Hades and protea to 'change'; Noctua protea; Noctua nebulosa; Noctua seladonia and Polia seladonia.

The little moth approaching the flower of an Inflated Catchfly in the illustration (below) is sensitively coloured by Humphreys - the tawny brindle and sprinkling of green on the thorax is well observed and beautifully hand painted. Where would the Inflated Catchfly be found?  It is a member of the campion family (Lychnis) but not a species of plant found in this neck of the woods.

Brindled Green (illustration)