26 June 2017 - Fiery Splendour

Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor)
As we peered into the moth trap this morning the wind started to pick up, so we moved everything and sheltered ourselves near the old stable wall. The trap contained a number of species which I have seen before but there were a couple of new ones as well. One was an Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) which I have longed to see. Its striking streaks of pink are almost unimaginable.

Buff Arches (Habrosyne pyritoides)
One species which has been recorded before, but surprisingly has not been written about, is the Buff Arches (Habrosyne pyritoides). Its scientific name is appropriate as Habrosyne means ‘splendour’, describing the moth’s beauty, and pyritoides is ‘of fire’, referring to the mineral copper pyrites which strikes fire. It also describes the brassy yellow color of the forewing. While the colors on the moth do not stand out like the Elephant Hawk-moth, the multitude of patterns makes it stunning. The pictures do not do the moth justice as viewing the Buff Arches in real life, it looks as if there are separate textures along its wings. 

Buff Arches (illustration)
Its scientific name used to be Thyatira derasa until it was later changed to Habrosyne pyritoides. My guess is that it was felt the moth deserved a name more suited to its elegance. 

The larvae of the moth feed on bramble (Rufus).

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata)
Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) was another moth found in our trap. There are two varieties of this moth and both forms occur equally. The one we have is the typical form. It has a thick dark band which stretches across its wings. Its scientific name, Idaea pertains to Mt. Ida which is where the gods and goddesses watched the Trojan War; aversata, from the Latin 'aversus' meaning 'belonging to the under part' where the discal spot is clearer on the underwing.

Shandy Hall gardens will be open for National Garden Scheme this coming Friday
(6.30pm - 8pm) - moth identification and release with Dr Dave Chesmore.

Post : Walter Chen [UPenn intern]