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5809 Views 14 Replies Last post: Sep 8, 2013 10:12 PM by Gargoyle RSS
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Aug 23, 2013 12:25 AM

A few Moths for i.d. please.

This picture I believe are of Noctua fimbriata Broad bordered Yellow UnderwingP1010739.JPGP1010694.JPG


The above is probably a Silver `Y`


But I cannot be sure of this one as I couldn`t get a better view however I am almost sure that it is the same as the mating pair at the top.

However I would like some confirmations please.


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    Aug 23, 2013 10:31 AM (in response to Gargoyle)
    Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.

    Hi Ray,


    I expected Crystal to pick up on this question, but maybe she's stuck in a tide pool today (judging from one of her recent questions). Anyway...


    1. Probably large yellow underwing, Noctua pronuba

    Your examples are within its fairly wide range of variation.


    2. Silver-Y, Autographa gamma


    3. Perhaps broad-bordered yellow underwing, Noctua fimbriata;

    but difficult without seeing the hind wings

    (I'm not sure if what appears to be part of a dark band is in fact a shadow of some sort).

    There are other possibilities, including large yellow underwing though (at least from this angle) it does not have quite the right look.


    Let's see if we get any comments from Crystal as well...



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        Aug 23, 2013 2:24 PM (in response to Gargoyle)
        Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.

        Thanks Ray,


        Yes, that helps.


        I think it is a large yellow underwing, Noctua pronuba.

        As well as the undewing band being narrower than on broad-bordered yellow underwing,

        I have found myself paying attention to the three tiny pale dots on the leading edge of the forewing, towards the tip. It seems that character is best associated with B. pronuba. Here's a specimen with different overall markings but still possessing those three dots (though one is less prominent) -



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            Aug 23, 2013 10:43 PM (in response to Gargoyle)
            Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.



            I'm saying there are two species (1 & 3 being N. pronuba).


            If your mothing becomes regular, you will indeed notice subtler things - as you have confirmed.

            I used to be able to smell a good moth night (maybe ethylene), and I think that may have had something to do with humidity.

            You might consider using 'sugar' as well as light. As well as attracting some other species, it will add variety when you're 'doing your rounds'. See - And see this for wine ropes -


            I don't know about your last question: both seem likely. I'd think there's a reasonable chance some Googling might trun up research on the subject (but there's also a chance it might be inconclusive).


            I've never seen a live Morma Maura; I'm a tad envious!



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                Aug 24, 2013 3:16 PM (in response to Gargoyle)
                Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.



                Shame you've not had luck with the hawk moths. Honeysuckle should attract others anyway; one of my first moth photos (not digital) was of a silver-Y at honeysuckle. I suspect some species of Lonicera may prove more generally attractive than others. To get the hawk moths, you'd also have to have their larval foodplant nearby-ish.

                I have a Stephanotis on my terrace, and its (white) flowers are visited by a convolvulus hawk moth a few evenings a week. It always comes at late dusk. Later the same species may turn up at my garden lights. When visiting the flowers it is a highly agile and refined flyer, but at the lights it is really rather clumsy; I'm sure there's an explanation for that but I don't know what it is. 

                Another flower that attracts moths is tobacco plant (Nicotiana); you might try that (and now I wonder if the light-coloured forms of the flower might be more attractive than the dark ones).


                Good luck with the sugaring, and putting your chemistry to work.


                Mormo maura and the ancient stream: interesting; yes, it makes you wonder.

                It is funny how some species can be common for one person and rare for another. One of the commonest butterflies in my garden here in Cyprus is swallowtail!


                Cemeteries can be quite good places for some wildlife, because of various factors, eg. grass not being cut too short, some large and old trees (complete ecosystems in themselves), gravestones add to the diversity (allowing lichen and moss to grow, those having their own ecosystems), even flowers placed by graves may help, soil relatively undisturbed for centuries.


                I agree that (green) lacewings are beautiful.


                Nice to see the brimstone moth; one of the species I saw regularly in Surrey.

                If I may comment on that nicely-posed photo...  A little editing can make a good deal of difference. Here's a version I made, having improved the lighting, cropped it (though now showing less of the ivy leaf, granted), and reduced in pixel dimensions (83 times smaller without significant loss of detail). Update: I mention the image size primarily with reference to posting on a forum - to make images load more quickly and take less space to store. Of course, the original should not be downsized like that.


                Keep up the enthusiasm!





                Message was edited by: MikeHardman - added update re image downsizing

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                    Aug 25, 2013 10:42 PM (in response to Gargoyle)
                    Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.



                    I hope some interesting moths do the right thing and turn up to show their appreciation!

                    I haven't tried melon as an attractant; I may do that; thanks for the idea.

                    Note that Stephanotis is not hardy in the UK.


                    I wonder if there's some marjoram in the cemetary: I associate gatekeepers with the plant.

                    Even when I was a lad, I very rarely saw a garden tiger moth. Such things depend partly on where one happens to be. One gets a skewed impression of what's common and what's rare, or at least one tends to be slow to catch on to one's local flora and fauna being atypical in many ways. The British take bluebells for granted, methinks (they have a narrow distribution on a global scale).


                    The swallowtails here are a race of the same species as in the UK - Papilio machaon. I feel like I'm cheating! They are gorgeous, but tricky to photograph as they continually flutter their wings while feeding and don't stay at one flower for long. As with many buterflies, the males will chase females. But last year, I saw one brazen chap chase a swallow - he was actually tailing a swallow!


                    My Dad studied at the OU for many year. It was an honour to collect his degree at Milton Keynes (actually done by his grandson), but a great shame we had to do it posthumously. I hope your studies go well.

                    My granny used cider vinegar for her arthritis.


                    I look forward to seeing you post about other moths in due course,

                    All the best,


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                        Sep 8, 2013 4:35 PM (in response to Gargoyle)
                        Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.



                        'My' stephanotis is like this one


                        ...which is definitely not hardy, even in Fulham (or I would be very surprised).

                        Also, it is a twining climber; it does not form bushes unless given a framework to scramble up.

                        And I wouldn't really call its leaves 'oily'.


                        For yours...

                        I'm ruling out Gardenia and Viburnum...

                        I am leaning towards a jasmine or Trachelospermum, but one that fits your description: that's tricky...

                        The common jasmines don't have ovate leaves (eg. J. officinale); neither do trachelospermums.

                        Jasminum azoricum is hardy to -6C, but would be unusual in cultivation.

                        Maybe you can post some photos at some time?



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                            Sep 8, 2013 9:45 PM (in response to Gargoyle)
                            Re: A few Moths for i.d. please.

                            The plant is Trachelospermum jasminoides



                            The bat is ... I wouldn't like to say. But I could guess at pipistrelle, since they are small and common



                            Nice to have them about; a sign of a healthy food chain (even in Fulham).

                            I've had one interested in my moth lights in the garden this evening. it may be the one I flushed (literally) from the edge of my fly screen when washing it the other day. The fly screen has an aluminium frame with a narrow slit around the edge (so it can slide on its rail). I could hardly believe a bat could squeeze through that! It came out soaked and looking very sorry for itself, and shivvering. I helped it out of the bath, quickly photographed it and took it outside - where I was very happy to see it take to the air. It flew around and soon found refuge in the top of my sunshade.


                            Update: I've just noticed this!

                            "There are a number of interesting parks in the Hammersmith and Fulham borough, including the park known as Wormwood Scrubs. The prison is located to the west end of the park. The Scrubs themselves have been a duelling ground, a location for the Olympic Marathon, and a site of National importance, as home to the Common Pipistrelle Bat."

                            [ ]



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