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Moths of the month: August 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.


   
Pine Carpet, Thera firmata (R Leverton)

Pine Carpet Thera firmata

August into September.

Pinewoods.

Reddish forms of the far more numerous Grey Pine Carpet are frequently mistaken for this delicately tinted species.

It has a fairly short flight period in late summer. The adults rest on pine trunks and branches, probably quite high up, as they are rarely found by day.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Iron Prominent, Notodonta dromedarius, larva (R Leverton)

Iron Prominent Notodonta dromedarius

Larval stage June to Spetember.

Woodland and alder carr.

Iron Prominent is partially double-brooded in our area, so in late summer both adult and larval stages may occur together. The 'camel-humped' caterpillar feeds by day on birch or alder, its jagged shape and mix of colours providing a close resemblance to a withering leaf.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Angle-striped Sallow, Enargia paleacea (R Leverton)

Angle-striped Sallow Enargia paleacea

August and September.

Mature birch woodland.

This attractive species is an indicator of good woodland habitat containing mature birch, the main foodplant.

For unknown reasons its British distribution is disjunct, comprising the Scottish Highlands and the West Midlands into Yorkshire, despite apparently suitable habitat inbetween.

Scottish moths tend to be more richly coloured than the English ones.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Archer's Dart, Agrotis vestigialis (R Leverton)

 

Archer's Dart Agrotis vestigialis

July into September.

Coastal sand dunes.

At Findhorn and other sandy sites along the inner Moray Firth, this moth is often the most abundant species present. Though rarely seen by day, hundreds may be attracted to light traps.

Colour and markings vary locally to match the colour of the sand, though females (illustrated) tend to be darker than males.

The caterpillar lives below the surface, feeding on the roots of herbs and grasses, or sometimes pulling sprigs down into the sand to eat them out of sight of predators.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Ear Moth, Amphipoea oculea (R Leverton)

Ear Moth Amphipoea oculea

August & September.

Dry open grassy habitats

This is the smallest and normally the darkest of the four very similar 'ear moths', so named because of the marking in the centre of the wing - though the scientific name likens this to an eye.

In our area it is most frequent on coastal sand dunes, often sharing the habitat with the previous species. Sometimes both can be found in numbers when nectaring at ragwort flowerheads soon after dark.

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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