28 September 2015 - Leamington Spa Moths


Nigel Hutchinson with moth trap
The weather forecast was not promising, although in early evening the sky was largely clear, a waxing moon rising. The moth trap looking like an alien spacecraft touched down on the lawn. An otherworldly cool glow filling the garden like stagelights for all-night performances. Overnight it rained more heavily than predicted, with a consequent drop in temperature. In the morning only nine moths and two crane flies in the trap.

Patrick unpacking with care and identifying most moths. I realised at this point how conditional identification is, are they old, are they worn? Puzzled too that not all micro-moths are as small as their name suggests. 


Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa)

The Underwing family well represented. The Large Yellow (Noctua pronuba) with its buttery surprise flashes of colour the commonest. Lesser Yellow Underwings (Noctua comes) too, convincingly camouflaged. They may be curious to us and worthy of study, but to other creatures they're just food! Subtle details of patterning identified the Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa). Intrigued by this, omphalos is the Greek word for 'navel'. Omphalos stones were the 'navel of the world' where contact could be made with the gods, such as at Delphi. Is this the origin of the moth's name? Why?

Silver Y (Autographa gramma)


Snout (Hypena probosciscidalis)

The Silver Y (Autographa gramma), the Snout (Hypena probosciscidalis) with a clearly visible 'nose' much finer than the name suggests and the 'does-what-it-says-on-the-tin', Light Brown Apple Moth, (Epiphyas postvittana), fittingly caught near a Bramley apple tree.

Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)

A Common Wainscot too, although its name (Mythimna palens) suggests a store of fables and more solid architectural detail.

Common Wainscot (Mythimna palens)


Vine's Rustic (Hoplondrina ambigua)
Looking no more aggressive than any of its companions, a Vine's Rustic – (Hoplondrina ambigua), named from the Greek 'hoplon', a weapon. Dusky, delicate patterning, why a weapon? In contrast, a Square-spot rustic, (Xestia xanthographa). Named in Latin by some romantic charmed by the marks of two 'kisses'?

Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa

Very few moths, but a first layer of stories and speculations.


Post by : Nigel Hutchinson