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current posts

 
Thu 31st August 2006 13:25 by Jack Astley
Closworth 30/8/2006
Pearly underwing
Nomonphila noctuella
Udea ferrugalis
Silver y 2
Double lobed
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Thu 31st August 2006 12:03 by Dave Ayling
Blue Anchor, Sat. 26th August 2006

Jersey Tiger ab. lutescens, Knot Grass, Lime-speck pug, Scarce bordered straw, Nomophila noctuella

Jersey Tiger ab. lutescens

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Wed 30th August 2006 09:29 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
What an excellent season (not that it's all over yet).  The migrant activity has been impressive to say the least and everyone seems to have caught something special.  Trouble is, you only really appreciate some of these 'once in a lifetime' records in retrospect, rarely when they happen.  At the coastal stations (like Portland) the catches read like wish lists of rarities: illustrating that all these species are fully possible.  In years to come we'll be saying: "remember 2006, now that was a good year".

Again, even though the season isn't quite over, I did mull through my own half-dozen mothy aims for the rest of this year and next year - they are (in no particular order):

  • Get out into the field more often
  • Improve my macro-photography
  • Try to get to grips with gen. det.
  • Remember more micro names
  • Get back my youthful dexterity with a net
  • Try to find the tortrices more interesting

I got a new generator early on this year and apart from running it up once, it has yet to see active service - how bad is that.  [Shame: I have also 'borrowed' the petrol to top up the mower.]   But perhaps my most nagging want is to take some stunningly good photos.  Really not sure what to do about that.  I do appreciate this is a mix of technique, equipment and luck and I'm probably lacking one or all of these most of the time.  Will work on that.

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Tue 29th August 2006 08:25 by David Evans
Here is an old Lady that's been around a bit caught last night at Home in Chard
2300 Old Lady 1
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Mon 28th August 2006 15:25 by David Evans
Another to add to the list for eastwater valley from the 24th August.

1851 Golden Rod Pug 1

Confirmed by James McGill

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Mon 28th August 2006 08:48 by Mark Yeates

Another Somerset First

We've just confirmed that Jack Astley has taken the first Anania verbascalis for Somerset VC5 & 6 at Closworth.

This pyralid is Nationally Notable (Nb).  The moth is shown below.

1382 Anania verbascalis
Anania verbascalis

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Sun 27th August 2006 15:17 by David Evans
On Friday Night despite the forcast the day was warm and sunny and we hoped for a good night at the Lytes Cary barbeque and moth night. Simon Larkins the head gardener had mentioned seeing a large moth around earlier in the day but David Lester and I explained that the hawks had finshed apart from migrant and the likleyhood of that terribly small. However right on que enter stage right caught by myself at David's light

1990 Striped Hawk 2

We had a good night with so many Setaceous Hebrew Characters and Smoky wainscots and even a hornet with about 25 species in all.

Lytes Cary Barbeque 2006

Its a bit blurred but then I was on my second glass of wine .

My thanks to Simon and Colin and Maureen Laurence

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Sun 27th August 2006 15:10 by David Evans
On Thursday 24th August Night Mike Ridge and I joined by Pat Owen and David Ayling tried once again to do sites near Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor. We had got rained off from the previous Friday and pat said that they had had Torrential rain on the Wednesday night. However we did a recce and found two good sites for Mike and I. It was a very slow night and by 11pm Mike had packed up with less than twenty species. I had my sheet a robo trap and four actinc traps but fared little better, But the last trap had a surprise in store. In all the total so far is 31 species with a pug and a brown job to do. My thanks to them all for their help and Pat found the anomalous first.

  • 969 Pandemis corylana Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix 1
  • 1260 Cydia splendana 2
  • 1288 Alucita hexadactyla Twenty-plume Moth 1
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 7
  • 1344 Eudonia mercurella 14
  • 1648 Drepana falcataria Pebble Hook-tip 1
  • 1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet 2
  • 1724 Xanthorhoe spadicearia Red Twin-spot Carpet 1
  • 1751 Devon Carpet 1
  • 1751 Lampropteryx otregiata Devon Carpet 3
  • 1755 Eulithis testata Chevron 12
  • 1759 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix 3
  • 1762 Chloroclysta citrata Dark Marbled Carpet 1
  • 1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 6
  • 1774 Beech Green Carpet
  • 1774 Colostygia olivata Beech-green Carpet 2
  • 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 1
  • 1777 Hydriomena furcata July Highflyer 2
  • 1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 9
  • 1913 Ennomos alniaria Canary-shouldered Thorn 1
  • 1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 3
  • 2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 9
  • 2109 Noctua comes Lesser Yellow Underwing 1
  • 2117 Autumnal Rustic 1
  • 2117 Eugnorisma glareosa edda Autumnal Rustic 1
  • 2134 Xestia xanthographa Square-spot Rustic 1
  • 2269 Atethmia centrago Centre-barred Sallow 7
  • 2306 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades 1
  • 2353 Luperina testacea Flounced Rustic 1
  • 2394 Anomlalous 1
  • 2394 Stilbia anomala Anomalous 3
  • 2441 Autographa gamma Silver Y 2

The autumnal rustic was the last to be found in the last trap

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Sat 26th August 2006 14:44 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Actinic in garden last night with 27 species (149 moths with 95 Large Yellow Underwings).  Highlight is the Sharp-angled Carpet which seems pretty local in Somerset - although I suspect this may be under-recorded or overlooked.  This is another first for the garden.

1794 Sharp-angled Carpet
Sharp-angled Carpet

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0015 Orange Swift Hepialus sylvina 2
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 8
  • 1309 Agriphila geniculea 1
  • 1356 Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis 1
  • 1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis 1
  • 1680 Maiden's Blush Cyclophora punctaria 1
  • 1738 Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata 1
  • 1776 Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria 1
  • 1794 Sharp-angled Carpet Euphyia unangulata 1
  • 1855 Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata 1
  • 1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata 1
  • 1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1
  • 1914 Dusky Thorn Ennomos fuscantaria 1
  • 1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria 2
  • 2089 Heart and Dart Agrotis exclamationis 1
  • 2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta 1
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 95
  • 2123 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi 3
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 7
  • 2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa 4
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 4
  • 2297 Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea 1
  • 2343x Common Rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg. 1
  • 2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea 6
  • 2384 Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua 1
  • 2434 Burnished Brass Diachrysia chrysitis 1
  • 2450 Spectacle Abrostola tripartita 1

149 moths of 27 species.

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Sat 26th August 2006 14:17 by Jack Astley
Closworth.26/8/2006
lots of Hummingbird hawk moths recently with Clouded yellow today.
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Thu 24th August 2006 10:53 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
A midweek trap.  Robinson in the garden last night with 32 species.  Usual suspects, with a lot of fluff and scales from the 80 or so Large Yellow Underwing's.  Angle Shades (another sign of autumn) and Catoptria falsella new for the garden this year.

Some snaps from the trap this morning (click for larger image):

1651 Chinese Character   Chinese Character

2361 Rosy Rustic   Rosy Rustic

2434 Burnished Brass   Burnished Brass

1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn   Canary-shouldered Thorn

Full trap list (Robinson 125W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 8
  • 1309 Agriphila geniculea 1
  • 1316 Catoptria falsella 1
  • 1356 Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis 1
  • 1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis 2
  • 1651 Chinese Character Cilix glaucata 1
  • 1680 Maiden's Blush Cyclophora punctaria 1
  • 1682 Blood-vein Timandra comae 1
  • 1728 Garden Carpet Xanthorhoe fluctuata 1
  • 1776 Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria 1
  • 1855 Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata 1
  • 1862 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata 1
  • 1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1
  • 1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria 1
  • 1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria 4
  • 2098 Flame Axylia putris 1
  • 2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta 10
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 80
  • 2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe 4
  • 2123 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi 4
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 60
  • 2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa 3
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 17
  • 2289 Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis 1
  • 2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa 2
  • 2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea 3
  • 2361 Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea 2
  • 2384 Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua 11
  • 2434 Burnished Brass Diachrysia chrysitis 1
  • 2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma 1
  • 2450 Spectacle Abrostola tripartita 7
  • 2474 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis 1

234 moths of 32 species.

No moths at Eden

On Tuesday evening I took my teenagers to see a band called Muse at the Eden Project.  Having not visited Eden before, we went a little early to have a quick look in the biomes.  Interesting - but I did see an 'insectacutor' with the obligatory explanation next to it saying something like "insects are unwelcome pests here"!

Eden Project
Eden Project, with stage in foreground

Muse at Eden Project
Muse on stage at the Eden Project

The concert was very good though.  Getting out was a nightmare!  Imagine 5000 people all trying to leave at the same time.  Didn't get home until 03:30.

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Wed 23rd August 2006 21:04 by John Bebbington
Langport, STST423283: Palpita vitrealis in trap last night (22nd) along with a worn Spodoptera exigua plus several N. noctuella and U. ferrugalis. Hummingbird hawks nectaring in the garden every day at the moment, 4 or 5 daily.
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Wed 23rd August 2006 10:27 by Peter Tennant

New Record for ST02

19 August 2006 Whitefield, Wiveliscombe Horse Chestnut - (confirmed by James Mcgill) Another lifetime first

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Tue 22nd August 2006 11:21 by Jack Astley
Closworth 21/8/2006
Silver y 11
Nomophila noctuella 10
Udea ferrugalis 3
Palpita vitrealis
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Mon 21st August 2006 21:08 by Chris Iles
ST7854 - a Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on a buddleia bush, the lone source of nectar in the desert that is farmland to the west of Woolverton.
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Sun 20th August 2006 10:11 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Actinic in the garden last night with 24 species.  Although not uncommon: Orange Swift, Cypress Pug, Shark, Copper Underwing and Red Underwing are all new to the garden list.

The Red Underwing is always good to see and generally you only find one or two a year if lucky.  This was on a wall last night, well away from the trap.  They do come to sugar and wine ropes and are attracted to light but prefer, I find, weak light to full-on MV.  Peak emergence is typically last week of August / first week of September and the moth can be out at the end of July to the end of October.

2452 Red Underwing 1
Red Underwing

I well remember my first Red Underwing.  It flew through an open window one evening when I was a kid, did a few laps of the room causing some commotion then settled on a wall.  Recognising this instantly from misspent hours browsing South's Moths, I quickly popped this into my laurel jar and later set it with dress-making pins on an improvised board made from a polystyrene tile with a grove cut in it.  Unfortunately, something fell on the tile and smashed it, together with the moth, clean in two.  I was devastated.

The Copper Underwing (Amphipyra pyramidea) and the near-identical Svensson's Copper Underwing (A. berbera) always give me a problem.  The keys in Skinner and Waring aren't consistent and looking at the underside of the moth at rest in a clear pot generally doesn't help.  On balance I think this is A. pyramidea.

A pair of Wrens were lurking beside the trap when I went out this morning.  One sat in a nearby bush 'tutting' at me for a good ten minutes.

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0015 Orange Swift Hepialus sylvina 3 (2m, 1f)
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 5
  • 1395 Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis 1
  • 1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella 1
  • 1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis 2
  • 1728 Garden Carpet Xanthorhoe fluctuata 1
  • 1752 Purple Bar Cosmorhoe ocellata 1
  • 1855 Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata 3
  • 1890 Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata 1
  • 1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria 1
  • 1981 Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi 1
  • 2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta 1
  • 2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta 4
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 24
  • 2123 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi 1
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 21
  • 2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa 1
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 10
  • 2216 Shark Cucullia umbratica 1
  • 2297 Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea 1
  • 2343x Common Rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg. 3
  • 2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea 11
  • 2384 Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua 7
  • 2452 Red Underwing Catocala nupta 1 (at night)

106 moths of 24 species.

2216 Shark
Shark

0015 Orange Swift (male)
Orange Swift (male)

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Sat 19th August 2006 12:30 by Peter Tennant
August 17 2006 - Peter Tennant Whitefield, Wiveliscombe

Small Mottled Willow - 2 Scarce Bordered Straw - 1 Palpita vitrealis - for me a lifetime first !

White Ermine - the third year in which I have recorded a second brood

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Sat 19th August 2006 10:59 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog

Premonitions?

As the alarm went off this morning, I awoke from a dream having just composed my blog for this morning commencing: "Not to be left out, I have just added the Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera to my list".  So imagine my surprise when there he was in the trap.  I suppose it might have been expected - probability and all that.

2400 Scarce Bordered Straw (MY)
Scarce Bordered Straw

Many years ago I went on a mothing trip with a friend to the New Forest.  Having set up camp in the dark we were just about to strike up the light and he said: "OK, predictions for the first moth to the light".  Immediately, the Great Prominent Peridea anceps came to mind and I put my money on that.  And what was the first moth to plop on the sheet?  Yep, P. anceps.  Again, this is perhaps a combination of desire, timing, habitat and a bit of luck thrown in - but amusing all the same.

Last night didn't look at all promising and the group meeting to Dunkery Beacon was cancelled.  However, as I'm only getting an opportunity to trap at weekends, I put the Robinson out in the garden and of cause I'm pleased I did.  [But I am getting increasing conscious/guilty of the fact that I'm not adding any Somerset records!]

Late summer moths like the Flounced Rustic on a cold but dewy morning give me an "it'll soon be autumn" feeling.  The catch is already looking quite different and was dominated by second generation Setaceous Hebrew Character.  I did have several new species for the garden though including Pale Mottled Willow together with another Small Mottled Willow.  These two species have often been confused (alongside all the other rustics for that matter) but are really quite different beasts.

Full trap list (Robinson 125W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 1304 Agriphila straminella 1
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 6
  • 1309 Agriphila geniculea 1
  • 1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella 1
  • 1682 Blood-vein Timandra comae 2
  • 1738 Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata 1
  • 1752 Purple Bar Cosmorhoe ocellata 1
  • 1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1
  • 1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria 1
  • 1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria 1
  • 1956 Common Wave Cabera exanthemata 2
  • 2007 Swallow Prominent Pheosia tremula 1
  • 2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta 1
  • 2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta 5
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 6
  • 2110 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata 1
  • 2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe 5
  • 2123 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi 2
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 26
  • 2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa 3
  • 2154 Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae 1
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 5
  • 2293 Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica 1
  • 2343x Common Rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg. 1
  • 2353 Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea 4
  • 2384 Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua 7
  • 2385 Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua 1
  • 2389 Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis 1
  • 2400 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera 1
  • 2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma 1
  • 2450 Spectacle Abrostola tripartita 2
  • 2474 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis 2

95 moths of 32 species.

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Fri 18th August 2006 09:07 by Peter Tennant
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe 16 July 2006

Scarce Bordered Straw - 1 Small Mottled Willow - 1

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Wed 16th August 2006 13:26 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog

Scientific names & pronunciation

Scientific names are a major stumbling block for most enthusiasts.  Despite the concept of universal understanding that they are intended to provide, most of us avoid their use if at all possible.  The reason?  They are difficult to pronounce and remember, and popular species (like all the macro-moths) have English vernacular names that are easier to use.

So what's the answer?  To give all species vernacular names?  To standardise and publish pronunciations?  To encourage everyone to use scientific names?  All these views come up from time to time and arguments for and against each can be heated.

Birders gradually moved over from using all scientific names to vernacular names during the 50's and 60's.  More recently, the move to harmonise vernacular names globally has resulted in renewed contention (Robin vs. Eurasian Robin for example) and this still hasn't quite settled down.  Could we envisage a similar situation for moths in the future?

Virtually all micro-moths are without a vernacular name and we have to use scientific names for these.  However, at the first opportunity we revert to the vernacular (if one exists) - or worse still, avoid talking about them altogether.  So we generally refer to the 'Diamond-back' rather than Plutella xylostella, whereas we must talk of Agriphila tristella.  This curious mix of scientific and vernacular is confusing at best.

As you may know, scientific names have two parts: the generic name followed by the specific name, and should be shown (by convention) in italics when printed and underlined when hand written.  Also, convention states that the generic name is always capitalised.  They are 'Latinised' names and their assignment follows complex but well defined rules.  Scientific names are pronounced in 'English' rather than using classical Latin.

I grew up with the (now old fashioned) system of referring to all species by their 'last' name - or specific name, as it is more properly known.  In some ways I do miss this.  For example, the Death's Head Hawk-moth (Acherontia atropos) was known simply as atropos.  (This is pronounced in various ways but the correct way is, I believe, a-troh-poss, said quickly with a slight stress on the a, which is like the a in hat and the o in tro short like hot).

Pronunciation of scientific names is difficult for most.  Me included, despite 40 odd years of interest.  Someone once told me that his big tip on pronunciation was to "say everything quickly and confidently" with a sub note "you will always sound like you know what you are talking about even if you don't".  However, this was a little unfair coming from a tipster who was fluent in both Latin and Greek!

As a youngster, I learnt all the butterfly last names like this from an old hand so I'm still confident in saying euphrosyne (yew-froz-in-ee, said quickly with a slight stress on the froz) - or cardamines (car-der-my-knees, again, said quickly with slight stress on my).  Even now, these names pop up in my head when I see any butterfly and I have to do a translation before speaking.  Having said that, when I see Gonepteryx rhamni my instinct is still to shout "brimmo".

Together with many of the interesting, striking and desirable moths, these names have usually stuck with me.  Some are now lost or confused though: I'm pretty sure we used to say urticae as err-TY-see but I have since heard so many various way of saying this that I am no longer quite certain.  Which illustrates one particular issue of the 'last names only' method: urticae alone can mean the butterfly Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae or the moth Water Ermine Spilosoma urticae!  Rules state that a generic name must be unique within a Kingdom (the 'top level' of classification) but specific names have no such restriction and are often re-used within an Order (like Order: Lepidoptera).

It is near impossible to provide a rule set for pronunciation.  Many names are taken from classical history or mythology and are transliterated from the original, often breaking natural language rules.  A good example being semele and selene, which are pronounced seh-MEE-lee and SEL-eh-nee.  Perhaps the best single tip I could give is to remember that terminal vowels are always sounded.  Examples: Noctuidae = nok-TU-ih-dee (U said as yew, ae is invariably said as long e), culmella = kull-MELL-a (a as in hat).  Similarly, endings �ea = ee-ah and -es = eez.

So we really need to hear and use these names for this system to work comfortably.  Where names are frequently used verbally it is easy to see how they can be learnt and remembered.  With more and more non-verbal communication now (via email and the web) this can only exacerbate the problem.

Further Reading:

Entomological Societies of Oxford & Cambridge (eds.), 1858, An Accentuated List of the British Lepidoptera, with hints on the derivation of names, Van Voorst, London.

This book, published almost 150 years ago, is the first and only guide to pronunciation within the British Lepidoptrera.  It was produced in response to calls for standardisation and familiarisation in Victorian times.

Macleod, R.D., 1959, Key to the Names of British Butterflies and Moths, Pitman & Sons Ltd.

Emmet, A.M., 1991, The Scientific Names of the British Lepidoptera. Their History and Meaning, (ISBN: 0946589283), Harley Books.

Try searching Google link for "pronunciation scientific names" or "pronunciation biological latin" etc.  Many pages now present rules, for example http://www.saltspring.com/capewest/pron.htm link.

Later (20:46) - slight revision for style and clarity.

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Mon 14th August 2006 13:33 by Dave Ayling
Blue Anchor, Sunday 13th August

6 Jersey Tigers (1 ab. lutescens),3 Dusky Thorn, 3 Yellow-barred Brindle

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Mon 14th August 2006 10:37 by John Bebbington
My first ever Cypress Pug (E. phoeniciata) in the trap last night at Langport.
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Sun 13th August 2006 19:20 by Jack Astley
Closworth 12/8/2006
Scarce bordered straw
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Sun 13th August 2006 11:38 by Chris Iles
Yellow Shell moth in the garden (Midsomer Norton) this morning.
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Sat 12th August 2006 09:51 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Looks like the glory days may be over for a while!  Actinic in the garden last night and just 14 species.  A lot cooler with winds now northerly - didn't help that it was mostly clear with a near full moon.  In fact 4 of my 16 egg trays were without a moth, which was reminiscent of early season.  All is not lost however, as I still have one new species for the garden list: Yellow-barred Brindle.  Although fairly common, I must have missed this at first generation (usually out in May).  This again goes to show that I must be under-sampling and could take a couple of seasons to get all of the more common and widespread species.

So far this year I have 166 macro species for the garden and I'd say that 200 in the first year was a good effort.  There are about 220 common/frequent and widespread species that you should catch in the first year or two with regular sampling.  In six years at a former house in Somerset (at Stoke sub Hamdon) I recorded 330 macro's with 237 species in Year 1 (1997).  Year 2 added just 35 new species; Year 3, 23; Year 4, 15; Year 5, 9; and Year 6, 11.  So as you might expect, it becomes more difficult to add new species year on year; but they do turn up all the same!

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 1304 Agriphila straminella 2
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 3
  • 1682 Blood-vein Timandra comae 1
  • 1738 Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata 1
  • 1752 Purple Bar Cosmorhoe ocellata 1
  • 1883 Yellow-barred Brindle Acasis viretata 1
  • 1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1
  • 1937 Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria 2
  • 2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta 3
  • 2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes 1
  • 2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe 1
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 13
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 4
  • 2343x Common Rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg. 2

36 moths of 14 species.

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Wed 9th August 2006 14:56 by David Evans
Another good moth night on Friday 4th August thanks to the weather. Hot and steamy just how we like it. Two couples turned up with two other ladies and three children and we all had good fun 88 species in all.

Moth Night at Staple Common

  • Staple Common 4th July, 2006 combined list
  • 411 Argyresthia goedartella 2
  • 642 Batia unitella 2
  • 969 Pandemis corylana Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix 11
  • 971 Pandemis cinnamomeana 2
  • 972 Pandemis heparana Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix 1
  • 1082 Hedya pruniana Plum Tortrix 1
  • 1260 Cydia splendana 9
  • 1304 Agriphila straminella 7
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 3
  • 1313 Catoptria pinella 1
  • 1358 Evergestis pallidata 1
  • 1390 Udea prunalis 4
  • 1405 Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl 35
  • 1428 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth 1
  • 1439 Trachycera advenella 2
  • 1524 Emmelina monodactyla 1
  • 1634 Malacosoma neustria Lackey 13
  • 1640 Euthrix potatoria Drinker 5
  • 1646 Watsonalla binaria Oak Hook-tip 1
  • 1648 Drepana falcataria Pebble Hook-tip 2
  • 1652 Thyatira batis Peach Blossom 1
  • 1653 Habrosyne pyritoides Buff Arches 1
  • 1676 Cyclophora annularia Mocha 2
  • 1681 Cyclophora linearia Clay Triple-lines 1
  • 1702 Idaea biselata Small Fan-footed Wave 20
  • 1709 Idaea subsericeata Satin Wave 2
  • 1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet 1
  • 1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 12
  • 1739 Epirrhoe rivata Wood Carpet 1
  • 1748 Mesoleuca albicillata Beautiful Carpet 3
  • 1751 Lampropteryx otregiata Devon Carpet 3
  • 1759 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix 11
  • 1762 Chloroclysta citrata Dark Marbled Carpet 9
  • 1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 6
  • 1769 Thera britannica Spruce Carpet 1
  • 1777 Hydriomena furcata July Highflyer 86
  • 1802 Perizoma affinitata Rivulet 2
  • 1803 Perizoma alchemillata Small Rivulet 1
  • 1816 Eupithecia linariata Toadflax Pug 1
  • 1826 Eupithecia trisignaria Triple-spotted Pug 3
  • 1835 Eupithecia tripunctaria White-spotted Pug 1
  • 1838 Eupithecia icterata Tawny-speckled Pug 1
  • 1858 Chloroclystis v-ata V-Pug 1
  • 1860 Pasiphila rectangulata Green Pug 3
  • 1875 Asthena albulata Small White Wave 1
  • 1883 Acasis viretata Yellow-barred Brindle 1
  • 1884 Abraxas grossulariata Magpie Moth 3
  • 1887 Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border 12
  • 1888 Ligdia adustata Scorched Carpet 2
  • 1890 Macaria alternata Sharp-angled Peacock 1
  • 1893 Macaria liturata Tawny-barred Angle 9
  • 1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 13
  • 1910 Apeira syringaria Lilac Beauty 1
  • 1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 3
  • 1919 Selenia tetralunaria Purple Thorn 1
  • 1921 Crocallis elinguaria Scalloped Oak 1
  • 1931 Biston betularia Peppered Moth 1
  • 1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 3
  • 1940 Deileptenia ribeata Satin Beauty 13
  • 1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed 1
  • 1956 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave 1
  • 1997 Furcula furcula Sallow Kitten 2
  • 2000 Notodonta dromedarius Iron Prominent 8
  • 2003 Notodonta ziczac Pebble Prominent 5
  • 2007 Pheosia tremula Swallow Prominent 1
  • 2008 Ptilodon capucina Coxcomb Prominent 4
  • 2033 Lymantria monacha Black Arches 23
  • 2037 Miltochrista miniata Rosy Footman 1
  • 2044 Eilema griseola Dingy Footman 8
  • 2049 Eilema depressa Buff Footman 39
  • 2050 Eilema lurideola Common Footman 10
  • 2067 Euplagia quadripunctaria Jersey Tiger 1
  • 2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 18
  • 2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 37
  • 2109 Noctua comes Lesser Yellow Underwing 8
  • 2111 Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 24
  • 2126 Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character 1
  • 2198 Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot 2
  • 2291 Craniophora ligustri Coronet 3
  • 2318 Cosmia trapezina Dun-bar 2
  • 2345 Photedes minima Small Dotted Buff 2
  • 2385 Spodoptera exigua Small Mottled Willow 1
  • 2425 Colocasia coryli Nut-tree Tussock 1
  • 2441 Autographa gamma Silver Y 4
  • 2450 Abrostola tripartita Spectacle 3
  • 2473 Laspeyria flexula Beautiful Hook-tip 1
  • 2474 Rivula sericealis Straw Dot 7
  • 2477 Hypena proboscidalis Snout 8

And I have seen my first Jersey Tiger on the Mainland and at Staple Common in the Blackdowns. The tigers are all having a very good year.

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Wed 9th August 2006 14:45 by David Evans
Recorder's remarks etc.
Well another sucessful moth night at Staple Common. I thought it was going to be poor since the weather turned windy but it was still and clear on the night.

Moth Night at Staple Common

read more of this in the Latest sightings.

On another issue we are having a fantasitc migrant year. All over the country small mottled willows have been turning up from the south up to Yorkshire. Even in huntingdonshire so much so they were questioned until Baryy Dickerson my old chum did some dissection to prove the indentification. So if you are getting some of these turn up in your trap you now know what they are.

2385 Small mottled willow 1

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Mon 7th August 2006 14:27 by Dave Ayling
Blue Anchor, Saturday 5th August

Flame Carpet, 2 Jersey Tigers, Marbled Beauty, 2 Olives, Ruby Tigers, Scorched Carpet, 2 Yellow-barred Brindle, Mecyna Asinalis and a posiible Ear moth. Plus a Lesser Stag Beetle.

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Sun 6th August 2006 13:12 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Robinson out in the garden last night.  Not quite as good as I expected but 56 species all the same.

Yesterday I took a moth which I thought was Small Mottled Willow - today I have 3 more!  This is quite distinct when you get your eye in and although some recorders are always sceptical that this moth is being caught, I've no doubt there must be an influx at the moment.  It is variable in size and markings but its resting position, with wings close-in to its sides giving an overall rectangular format, is fairly characteristic.

Some nice Pyralids including: Calamotropha paludella, Agriphila selasella, Donacaula forficella and Pyrausta purpuralis.  Both paludella (which I will get confirmed) and forficella were in pairs.  Staying with the Pyralids, the Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis was one of the commonest moths in the trap with 55 individuals counted.  This, and many common Pyralids, can confuse newcomers since although fairly large you will not find these in any of the macro-moth books (see previous posts on Pyralid books).  As a boy I really didn't like this moth and treated it with suspicion for exactly that reason: I couldn't find it in any of my books.

Gave up on the photos today.  I took loads of shots of various things, and there wasn't one good picture amongst them.  I think I may need some training here.

Full trap list (Robinson 125W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0427 Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella 1
  • 0455 Ypsolopha scabrella 1
  • 0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana 1
  • 1292 Calamotropha paludella 2 (pair - to be confirmed)
  • 1303 Agriphila selasella 1
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 6
  • 1329 Donacaula forficella 2 (pair)
  • 1331 Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella 2
  • 1354 Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata 1
  • 1356 Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis 2
  • 1361 Pyrausta aurata 1
  • 1362 Pyrausta purpuralis 1
  • 1376 Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata 1
  • 1378 Phlyctaenia coronata 5
  • 1395 Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis 1
  • 1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella 51
  • 1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis 55
  • 1452 Phycita roborella 1
  • 1524 Emmelina monodactyla 2
  • 1646 Oak Hook-tip Watsonalla binaria 1
  • 1651 Chinese Character Cilix glaucata 1
  • 1680 Maiden's Blush Cyclophora punctaria 3
  • 1682 Blood-vein Timandra comae 2
  • 1705 Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa 1
  • 1728 Garden Carpet Xanthorhoe fluctuata 1
  • 1825 Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata 1
  • 1890 Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata 2
  • 1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 40
  • 1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria 1
  • 1914 Dusky Thorn Ennomos fuscantaria 6
  • 1921 Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria 2
  • 1981 Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi 1
  • 1997 Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula 1
  • 2044 Dingy Footman Eilema griseola 5
  • 2044 Dingy Footman [pale form] Eilema griseola ab. stramineola 1
  • 2064 Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa 1
  • 2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta 2
  • 2098 Flame Axylia putris 1
  • 2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta 4
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 21
  • 2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes 1
  • 2123 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi 1
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 43
  • 2133 Six-striped Rustic Xestia sexstrigata 1
  • 2134 Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa 1
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 32
  • 2291 Coronet Craniophora ligustri 1
  • 2293 Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica 2
  • 2318 Dun-bar Cosmia trapezina 1
  • 2321 Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha 1
  • 2343x Common Rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg. 99
  • 2360x Ear Moth agg. Amphipoea oculea agg. 1
  • 2361 Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea 2
  • 2385 Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua 3
  • 2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma 1
  • 2450 Spectacle Abrostola tripartita 7
  • 2474 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis 14

446 moths of 56 species.

Also, just seen a Clouded Yellow fly over the garden.

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Sun 6th August 2006 12:28 by James Packer
5 August 2006, Berrow

Female Four-spotted Footman, and a Pediasia aridella

Photos on my website link

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Sat 5th August 2006 15:05 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
I must say first that I had an unreal weather experience yesterday.  Sitting out at a picnic table at work during afternoon tea break, under a beating sun, we all noticed drops of rain starting to fall.  Looking up at the sky in surprise confirmed it was clear; apparently from 'nowhere' rain fell for about a minute.  Must look up 'clear-sky rain' on Google sometime.

Actinic out in the garden last night with 47 species.  Not a bad night: cloudy and fairly still with a temperature of 17°C at midnight.  The ground was wet this morning so it must have rained at some point but the trap contents managing to keep dry.  The trap was dominated, as might be expected, by Common Rustic agg. and Large Yellow Underwings.

The highlight has to be the Striped Hawk-moth.  I saw the tail end of this whilst looking down the funnel and rushed off to get the camera...

1990 Striped Hawk-moth in Actinic
Spot the Hawk-moth!

1990 Striped Hawk-moth
Striped Hawk-moth

Seven Straw Dot, all huge and immaculate and most probably 'home grown' from migrants arriving earlier in the year.  However, with the continued migrant activity they could still be immigrants.

More of those confused moths to watch out for: the Peacock/Sharp-angled Peacock.  We believe that all Somerset specimens are Sharp-angled Peacock.  If you get one and really think this is Peacock then keep the specimen and let our David Evans know (Contacts).  The first I've seen this year was in the trap last night - a particularly dark example:

1890 Sharp-angled Peacock
Sharp-angled Peacock

Another Bulrush Wainscot.  This is (surprise, surprise) associated with Great Reedmace or Bulrush and my garden is only a few hundred metres from the River Yeo where this grows in abundance.

2369 Bulrush Wainscot
Bulrush Wainscot

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0648 Endrosis sarcitrella 1
  • 0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana 1
  • 0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana 1
  • 1036 Acleris forsskaleana 1
  • 1304 Agriphila straminella 3
  • 1305 Agriphila tristella 3
  • 1356 Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis 1
  • 1361 Pyrausta aurata 5
  • 1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella 3
  • 1405 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis 1
  • 1470 Euzophera pinguis 1
  • 1524 Emmelina monodactyla 2
  • 1682 Blood-vein Timandra comae 3
  • 1728 Garden Carpet Xanthorhoe fluctuata 2
  • 1738 Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata 2
  • 1777 July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata 1
  • 1825 Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata 2
  • 1834 Common Pug Eupithecia vulgata 1
  • 1884 Magpie Moth Abraxas grossulariata 1
  • 1890 Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata 1
  • 1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 2
  • 1914 Dusky Thorn Ennomos fuscantaria 1
  • 1919 Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria 1
  • 1921 Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria 1
  • 1981 Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi 1
  • 1990 Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica 1
  • 2037 Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata 1
  • 2044 Dingy Footman Eilema griseola 2
  • 2049 Buff Footman Eilema depressa 1
  • 2061 Buff Ermine Spilosoma luteum 2
  • 2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta 6
  • 2102 Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta 4
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 18
  • 2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes 1
  • 2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe 1
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 10
  • 2199 Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens 1
  • 2289 Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis 1
  • 2342 Rosy Minor Mesoligia literosa 1
  • 2343x Common Rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg. 62
  • 2361 Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea 1
  • 2369 Bulrush Wainscot Nonagria typhae 1
  • 2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma 2
  • 2443 Plain Golden Y Autographa jota 1
  • 2450 Spectacle Abrostola tripartita 2
  • 2474 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis 7

168 moths of 47 species.

Plus one other unconfirmed noctuid. Later... now confirmed as:

2385 Small Mottled Willow
2385 Small Mottled Willow

Tonight looks like it may be very good - so get those traps out.

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Fri 4th August 2006 11:14 by Jack Astley
Closworth 3/7/2006
Nomophila noctuella 13
Silver y16
Vestal
Udea ferrugalis7
Small mottled willow 3
Mocha
Catoptria pinella
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Thu 3rd August 2006 12:02 by David Evans
News and Views 2006
It is vital to reach out beyond our own interests to try to show the public the importance of moths. As the Somerset recorder I feel it is my duty and I have to say a great pleasure to represent the Somerset Moth Group and spread the word

In the last few months I have been to the wildlife fun day at Fyne Court, The open day at the Carymore Centre, back to school in chard and off to the Quantocks with the ranger.

Fyne Court fun day 1

The day at Fyne Court which involved trapping at Shapwick the night before till 2.30am then doing all the blurb to show packing the 4X4 etc. We had a good exhibit and loads of folk were delighted to see real moths alive and so colourful. It was fun and so much better than the day earlier this year for the reserve wardens of the wildlife trust who did not deign to turn up.

Cary Moor Fun day 1

The Cary Moor Fun Day was fun with trapping till the early hours the night before. Sadly the limited space in the mud hut was not good but lots of families and so many kids saw the moths as well as the bees and the star of the show a real live stag beetle. Never mind we had over 80 species of moths on show. Another long hard day but well worthwhile

The recorder goes to School 1

The recorder goes to school 2

As for the school at Avershayes in Chard well the kids were singing a song whilst I was helping to hang curtains in the school hall. But they got the song wrong after singing about caterpillars that spun cocoons. So I had to put them right. This culminated in me showing them some moths caught in a trap at their own school the night before. I did three classes and I have to say it was delightful. (despite the Tommy Cooper impressions) they loved it and the teaching staff were enthralled.

Moths and the Quantocks Ranger 1

The night at the Quantocks was arranged by Mike Ridge with the rangers for the National Trust and the Quantocks park?. Anyway we split up and Andy Harris the Quantocks ranger and I went Cothelstone Hill. I put down my sheet and had two of my Robo traps out in different directions. Well what a night Andy had not done mothing before and what a baptisim of fire this was. Thousands of moths and when we got to the last trap I saw I sight I have never seen before. Under the low oak canopy was the trap with a layer of flying moths covering an area of 3m round totally obscuring the trap. Thousands does not come close. I dove into this morass to empty the trap counting 600 plus moths discounting all the common rustics and minors. When we ended the night with 112 species I was well pleased. Welsh wave, beautiful carpet, beautiful snout, Blomers rivulet etc.

robo trap 1

This trap catches moths. It had 1041 moths in two traps in one night. My own design, with a lot of help from friends. You could have one in your garden to plat with and help us too.

But this is what I do reaching out to folk to show just how good moths are and how vital to all the wildlife around us. Tonight its Staple Common. It going to be cold and windy and not many moths but you never know.

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Wed 2nd August 2006 20:13 by Mark Yeates

Rosy Marbled: A Somerset First

On 24th June 2006 Peter Tennant trapped a Rosy Marbled Elaphria venustula at Wiveliscombe.  This is the first record for VC5 and 6.  The specimen is shown below and was confirmed by James McGill prior to preserving.

2396 Rosy Marbled
2396 Rosy Marbled

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Tue 1st August 2006 17:56 by James Packer
Two Small Mottled Willow at Berrow on 28 July 2006, one in my garden trap and one at the LNR.  Also, a Ni Moth was in my garden trap on 30 July 2006. A photo of the Ni Moth is on my website.

James Packer

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