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4623 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


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.


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)


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.


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



    1. Ophiusa tirhaca

         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


    3. Dark marbled carpet, Dysstroma citrata

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



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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



        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?!



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



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