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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Moths Count caterpillar workshop, Aigas Field Centre, 25th May 2008

A general introduction to moths, with finding and identifying larvae

Aigas Field Centre (photo by Bill Slater)
Aigas Field Centre

Setting off on filed trip (photo by Bill Slater)
Setting off on field trip

Here are some photos from the workshop, which was led by Dr Mark Young of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen and Roy Leverton, County Moth Recorder for Banffshire (VC 94).

At the start of the event, Andy Scott and Margaret Curry produced pictures of a moth for identification. Mark and Roy identified it as the extremely rare Ethmia pyraustia, which had not been seen in the area in which it was found since 1853. For more details of this remarkable discovery, please visit Butterfly Conservation's website.

The programme opened with a slideshow by Roy, illustrating the extraordinary differences that can occur in certain species between instars, the different forms that some species produce, wonderful examples of camouflage, and characteristic features of certain groups. Some larvae were so similar that the only reliable means of identification was to rear them in captivity until the adult moth emerged. As ever, Roy's pictures were superb.

Much of the day, which was sunny and dry, was spent in the grounds of Aigas Field Centre, initially examining the contents of two moth traps, before going on to search birch, sallow and heather for larvae. Mark led the field trip, demonstrating how to find larvae by looking for evidence of recent feeding, and beating and sweeping foliage.

A list was kept of all the moths found - adults as well as larvae.

After the outdoor work, the day concluded at the Field Centre with techniques of larvae rearing.

Moths and butterflies recorded on the day

125W MV trap in garden near Aigas Field Centre

Flame Carpet

Red-green Carpet

Grey Pine Carpet

Golden-rod Pug

Brown Silver-line

Early Thorn

Scalloped Hazel

Brimstone Moth

Poplar Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawk-moth

Pebble Prominent

Pale-shouldered Brocade

Glaucous Shears

Pine Beauty

Common Quaker

15w actinic trap near loch

Capua vulgana

Dwarf Pug


Brown Silver-line

Adult moths seen or caught during the day

Incurvaria masculella

Argyresthia praecocella

Crambus aureatella

Micropterix aureatella

Olethreutes schulziana

Nematompogon schwarziellus

Syndemis musculana

Grey Pug

Brown Silver-line

Common Heath


Eriocrania semipurpurella

Eriocrania unimaculella

Coloephora serratella

Northern Spinach

Common Marbled Carpet

Epirrita sp (possibly Autumnal Moth)

Winter Moth

Northern Winter Moth

Twin-spot Carpet

Juniper Pug


Pale Brindled Beauty

Scarce Umber

Scarce Silver-Y


Coloephora serratella


Green-veined White

Green Hairstreak


Fritillary (probable Pearl-bordered)

Speckled Wood

A selection of photos

Examing the contents of moth trap
Examining the contents of a light trap.

Elephant Hawk-moth (phot by Bill Slater
Elephant Hawk-moth caught in light trap

discussing the moths caught
Once caught in a light trap, moths are more inclined to stay still if they find a niche in an egg carton (or similar).

Aigas loch (photo by Bill Slater)
Aigas loch

Beaver damage to birch tree
Beaver damage on a birch tree by Aigas Loch. European beavers were introduced to this loch in April 2006.

Dr Mark Young demostrates using a beating tray (photo by Bill Slater)
Dr Mark Young demonstrates using a beating tray.

Looking for larvae near loch (photo by Bill Slater)
Looking for larvae by the loch.

Mark examines birch leaves for signs of larvae
Mark examines birch leaves for signs of larvae.

Examining heather (photo by Bill Slater)
Looking for larvae on heather.

Copyright Butterfly Conservation 2006 Highland Branch
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