I photographed a small moth feeding on goldenrod flowers in my garden in strong sunlight. I attach two photos. Can anyone identify it for me please?
To quote from
"Some members of the small 'Ermines' are difficult to separate visually, but this species is one of the easiest, having five rows of black dots on the forewing."
I am sure yours is that one - bird-cherry ermine moth, Yponomeuta evonymella.
- Spindle ermine, Yponomeuta cagnagella, has the spots arranged differently;
- Orchard ermine, Yponomeuta padella, has too-few spots arranged differently.
However, to quote from that last web page: "Part of a species complex which is still undergoing scientific research, it is very difficult to separate this from similar species, even by genitalia examination, and the best guide is often the foodplant."
So just by looking at the markings, as I have done above, I may not have arrived at the right answer.
Thistle ermine, Myelois circumvoluta, looks superficially looking similar, though it does not have enough spots. However, it is also larger, so not confusable with the preceding species.
Mike, thanks for the informative reply and the attached web links. The references to food plants in them are helpful. I have spindle, hawthorn and cherry in my garden, but am sure I would have noticed any communal web with caterpillars in it. But there are two well grown bird cherry trees two or three hundred yards away as the crow flies, near the main road, and I remember them being festooned with communal caterpillar webs earlier this year. I wish I'd taken a photo of them now. I've inserted another image of the moth, which more clearly shows five lines of dots, confirming your id.