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575 Views 3 Replies Last post: Oct 20, 2013 8:55 PM by MikeHardman RSS
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Oct 20, 2013 2:38 PM

Moth identification - 1 from Mallorca, 2 from UK

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could help to identify three moths I have seen recently?

 

The first is one I saw in Port de Soller, Mallorca. It was attracted to the floodlights around an old church on the coast.

http://flic.kr/p/fPCEaQ

http://flic.kr/p/fPCdSj

 

The second is a small moth I saw in South Oxfordshire, next to the river Thames. There were lots of these (feeding?) on an umbelliferous plant. Size was about 5mm. (picture: S. Oxon moth 1)

http://flic.kr/p/gAiVBh

 

The third was also in South Oxfordshire, on a wall at home. (picture: S. Oxon moth 2). I thought it might be either some kind of carpet or pug moth, but am not sure. Wingspan was about 2.5-3cm.

http://flic.kr/p/gPjfLv

 

Thank you for any help!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2013 3:22 PM (in response to Sarah)
    Re: Moth identification - 1 from Mallorca, 2 from UK

    Sarah,

     

    1. Ophiusa tirhaca

         http://www.lepidoptera.pl/show.php?ID=5304&country=EN

         That page has as an English common name for it 'green drab moth'. Well, I refuse to call such a beautiful moth such a dull name! Unfortunately I don't know of an alternative common name that already exists. So you/we might have to make-up a suitable one!

         Nice specimen and photo of this impressive large moth, which may look superficially like a brimstone moth, but is several times its size.

     

    2. Nettle tap, Anthophila fabriciana

        http://www.lepidoptera.pl/show.php?ID=1812&country=EN

     

    3. Dark marbled carpet, Dysstroma citrata

         http://www.lepidoptera.pl/show.php?ID=510&country=EN

         (note the three white tick marks on the trailing edge of the forewing)

     

    Mike

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Oct 20, 2013 8:55 PM (in response to Sarah)
        Re: Moth identification - 1 from Mallorca, 2 from UK

        Sarah,

         

        Fascination and confusion - I'm with you on both counts!

         

        I've been keen on moths and butterflies since school (endless thanks to the late Prof. Eric Laithwaite and his infectious enthusiasm). I have learned a lot over the years, forgotten a fair bit, and am all to aware of the scale of how much I don't know! 

        I find answering questions on NaturePlus helps with the remembering business, and forces me to find out new stuff and check things I am unsure of.

         

        Only just now, I've found out two new things...

         

        One:  When fresh, Ophiusa tirhaca has green forewings. All the ones I have seen have had straw-coloured forewings. That does not surprise me, because green is a tricky colour for moths and butterflies to create. One way is to use refraction to create a metallic green from scales that are not; such greens are permanent. The other way is to use pigments. But the green pigments usually manufactured by moths and butterflies are unstable: they fade. That's why emerald moths and cream-bordered green peas, for instance, lose their green-ness. The same fading affects Ophiusa tirhaca as well, so it seems.

        There is actually a third method, very cunning; used by butterflies more than moths, I think. They use closely-spaced scales of yellow and of black, which somehow gives an impression of green when seen from a distance. The undersides of the rear wings of an orange-tip butterfly are a prime example. Fascinating, eh?!

         

        Two?

        The other thing I've just learned is that Ophiusa tirhaca also goes by the common name of Sarah's lucky moth

         

        Mike

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