I caught a couple of Siver Ys in the moth trap. This one was smaller and much more colourful. Is it a seperate sub-species or just a colour variation?
This is Silver Y, we've had a few that are quite small lately, this second generation (so to speak) are quite varied in size and color.
Hope this is helpful
Thanks for the reply. I was hoping it was a new species, but should have realised it was second generation.
It looks to me like a very fresh specimen; I think that is a significant factor in it looking different to you.
I am not aware of significant variations in silver-Y (Autographa gamma), certainly none that rate as subspecies.
Perfectly good question, however.
Moths might not live very long, but during their (adult) lifetime, they do age. They can suffer depradations from attacks by birds, spiders, and other predators (eg. praying mantids); that can leave them with tattered wings or just a loss of scales. Similar damage can occur if a moth gets in trouble in a pond. General wear and tear will gradually cause loss of scales (from the body as well as wings), and with that the patterning. Some moths, especially green ones, get colouration from pigments that fade; susceptible green ones gradually turn to a straw colour (I see that most commonly with cream-bordered green pea and emeralds).
Thanks for the interesting information. It is a very nicely marked specimen.