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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Moths of the month: September 2009

This is a monthly series illustrating several characteristic moths to look out for in our area. Text and photos by Roy Leverton.

You can also view the other months by selecting the links at the bottom of this page.

Rosy Rustic, Hydraecia micacea (photo by Roy Leverton) 

Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea

August into October.

Farmland, gardens, urban wasteland, other open habitats.

Rather flattered by its English name, Rosy Rustic is generally some shade of dull reddish brown, though its markings are very constant. It is found everywhere that tall weeds flourish, as its caterpillar bores into their lower stems and roots, occasionally attacking potatoes and other vegetable crops.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Canary-shouldered Thorn, Ennomos alniaria (photo by Roy Leverton)

Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria

Late August into October.

Woodland, parkland, carr.

This moth can be distinguished from related species by its bright yellow thoracic fur, contrasting with the duller wings. Like many other autumn species it is camouflaged like turning leaves.

The caterpillar eats the leaves of deciduous trees but the adult does not feed, so is most often seen at light.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Buff-tip caterpillars (photo by Roy Leverton)

Buff-tip Phalera bucephala

Woodland and scrub.

Caterpillar full-grown in September.

As well as being protected by black and yellow warning colours plus long hairs, Buff-tip caterpillars find safety in numbers. They cluster together between bouts of feeding, especially when undergoing moult, presenting a formidable challenge to any would-be predators. Occasionally they may be found on trees and bushes, especially sallows. Whole bushes are often stripped bare of leaves by the time they reach full growth.

(See July 2009 for a picture of the adult.)

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Black Rustic, Aporophyla nigra (photo by Roy Leverton)

Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra

Late August into October.

Heaths, moors, other open habitats.

When newly emerged this moth lives up to its name, being one of very few species that is truly black. It can sometimes be found at rest on fenceposts, or at heather blossom and ripe blackberries after dark.

Though the caterpillar feeds on grasses and many low plants, it is almost impossible to rear in captivity, suggesting it has specialised requirements that are as yet unknown.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Autumn Green Carpet, Chloroclysta miata (photo by Roy Leverton)

Autumn Green Carpet Chloroclysta miata

September and October, then again in spring.

Woodland, scrub, moorland.

Like the closely related Red-green Carpet (see September 2008) this apparently delicate moth emerges in autumn then hibernates through the winter to fly again in spring, even into June. Or at least the impregnated females do, since all males die in autumn.

Never a particularly bright shade even when fresh, faded females turn a murky yellowish-green, prompting the specific name that translates as piss-coloured - accurate if impolite.

Click on the image to enlarge it

View other months

January - February




November - December

2008: May | June | July | August | September

2009: May | June | July | August | September

2010: May | June | July | August | September

2011: May | June | July | August | September

2012: May | June | July | August | September

2013: May | June | July | August | September

2014: May | June | July | August | September

2015: May | June | July | August | September

2016: May

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