Saturday, 9 July 2022

Thirteen Ticks

This blog hasn't been itself of late. Recent NQS output is clear evidence that something profound has happened to me. A friend has called it my 'moth conversion', which I think puts it perfectly. And this post is going to illustrate exactly why I have been unable to resist...

Last night was good. When the trap yields 92 moths of 53 species, and 13 of them are new...that is good. Also, very time-consuming. It is just as well that today is not a work day.

Many pics...

Another superb little V-Pug, which escaped my photographic efforts but landed on the cabin. 'Blue and green should never be seen', apparently, but happy to make an exception here.

I have come to like pugs very much, and am always really pleased to catch one. Very, very slowly I am getting to grips with some of them. For example, I can usually suss even a very worn Double-striped Pug just by size and wing shape now, and a quick look with a lens invariably confirms my suspicions. Mind you, many are still a real challenge...

Having caught my first Slender Pug a couple of nights ago, the prominent dark forewing spots on this one - and its tiny size - pointed me in the right direction.

But then there was a pug with absolutely no features at all. Or so I thought...

Very small, very plain, very tricky.

When stuck, I have a simple strategy. I take a photo, download it straight from the camera on to my phone, and run it through the ObsIdentify app. ObsIdentify is simply astonishing. Many, many times it has got the ID absolutely spot on. Obviously I do not trust it (it has been very wrong at least once) and carefully check its suggestions in what literature I have, and sometimes online too. At some point I'll write a post on it, but suffice to say that this morning it offered me an identification for this 'featureless' pug which, when checked, proved correct. At least, I think so. 'Haworth's Pug', it said, and gave me a confidence score of 98%. Surprised, I looked up Haworth's Pug...

First, it is not featureless. Notice the brick-red segments on the abdomen? That is definitely a feature, and combined with size, wing shape, complete lack of spots (dark or pale), and one or two other subtleties, point to this being a Haworth's Pug. Another new one.


Of course, many moths are the exact opposite of pugs...

I was completely blown away by how beautifully marked and attractive this moth is. And when it reveals those black and yellow hind-wings...Oof!

Another crisp looker which escaped the studio.

Very small, very bright. This photo doesn't do it justice really.

Another looker; another first. From zero to three in one night. Freshly emerged?

And then there were the big ones...

I've seen Eyed Hawk-moth before, but it is still a first for the trap.

Gently stroking its back produced the desired result, though I did feel a touch guilty for winding it up on purpose...


Once again I couldn't resist attending the trap for an hour or two last night. Meanwhile, indoors...

I heard a loud yelp, and soon after was presented with a large, netted moth by a supremely grumpy wife. Apparently it had flown into Sandra's hair, whereupon she promptly bashed herself in the face with her phone in panic. Not happy...

It was so worth all the pain. At least, that's my opinion...

This astonishing creature has to be seen to be believed. It is like a tiny flying Hedgehog, complete with a whiffly little snout.

Drinker is one of those moths I had seen pictures of but never encountered. It is a big, furry bruiser of a moth when its wings are open, but the way it folds up when at rest is quite amazing...

Definitely worth a couple more pics...



And that 'snout' genuinely does whiffle about.

I'm almost done, just a few more to close...

We've had Dingy Footman before, but the grey form. I hope I've got the ID correct, but the breadth and gentle curve of those wings is pointing me at Dingy rather than Orange or Buff.

And finally, some micros...

Possibly a migrant? Though I understand they are resident too. Anyway, Diamond-back is another moth I'd heard of but never seen. Couldn't believe how tiny it is!


I like plume moths. They are superbly weird.

This moth is 7mm long. Incredibly, the ObsIdentify app got this one spot on too, again with a confidence score of 90-something percent. There is a 6mm confusion species which is more common, but I am happy that this ID is correct.

I seriously could not cope with 13 new species every night but, I have to say, this learning curve is quite a blast...

4 comments:

  1. Another great haul. I don't think I've seen an adult Drinker before but they are impressive sized caterpillars. That, buy the way the way, could be your next dive into the abyss of hobby absorbtion.

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  2. Keeping going Gav? Drinkers are common up here, Ive had 50 in a night before when trapping in dunes, up to 4 is more usual in the garden. I like the way a Diamond Moth is tiny.. thats like saying a Robin is tiny before you find a Goldcrest.... Diamond is a mid range micro. Ive got two in the fridge, a Phyllonorycter and an Argyresthia that I can hardly find in the pot let alone identify! I need that photo but they wont sit still even after a full day in the choky...I ran three traps on Friday night around here and had 550 moths of 103 species...

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha! Glad I have just the one small trap at the moment. Takes long enough even with my modest catches!

      Lyonetia clerkella and Argyresthia cupressella are the smallest two I've managed to ID (and photograph, after a fashion) so far, both about 3.5-4mm long. I caught a moth last night, smaller still. I looked at it for a moment and thought 'Nah...' and let it go. Not sure where I'm finding the time as it is, without clogging up the works even further with these microscopic ones...

      But yes, keeping going Stew. Definitely.

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