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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Moths of the month: May 2011

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.

   
Nut-tree Tussock, Colocasia coryli (R Leverton)

Nut-tree Tussock Colocasia coryli

Deciduous woodland, parkland.

Late April into June.

This distinctive two-toned species has long vexed taxonomists. Now considered a noctuid rather than a tussock, its exact placing within that large and varied family is still uncertain.

The adult does not feed and is rarely seen except when attracted to light.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Large Red-belted Clearwing, Synanthedon culciformis (R Leverton)

Large Red-belted Clearwing Synanthedon culiciformis

Birch woodland, May into June.

Much smaller than its English name suggests, this diurnal wasp mimic is rarely seen as an adult. Most records are of larval feeding signs or empty pupal cases, usually protruding from the stumps of recently felled birches along wayleaves and the edges of sunny rides.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Barred Umber, Plagodis pulveraria (R Leverton)

Barred Umber Plagodis pulveraria

May into June.

Deciduous woodland and scrub.

In Scotland this is a local and mainly western species usually associated with hazel, a favourite larval foodplant.

The adult's restricted palette and relatively simple pattern combined with freckling are characteristic of many moths in the subfamily Ennominae.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Least Black Arches, Nola confusalis (R Leverton)

 

Least Black Arches Nola confusalis

May into June.

Deciduous woodland.

Formerly very local in Scotland, this species has greatly expanded its range in recent years.

Its caterpillar feeds on the leaves of many deciduous trees such as rowan and birch (not on lichens, as was formerly thought).

The adult rests head-downwards on trunks, often being mistaken for a micro-moth because of its small size.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Small Chocolate-tip, Clostera pigra (R Leverton)

Small Chocolate-tip Clostera pigra

May into June.

Damp woodland and carr.

This was always a local and infrequent species, but the recent NMRS atlas suggests an alarming decline in recent years. The only post-2000 dots in Scotland are from our Highland region, where the moth is associated with aspen rather than sallow.

Though the adult is said to be partly diurnal it is rarely seen. Caterpillars are relatively easy to find in spun-together leaves at known sites.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


  View other months

January - February

March

April

October

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 | June | July | August | September

2017: May | June

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