Thursday, 11 December 2014

Looking Back 2

In this second instalment of the series I’m again looking back at some of the photographs I’ve taken over the past year, still on the theme of moths but this time looking at some of the larger types of ‘day fliers’.

Day Flying Moths  (part 2)

Just to recap…..What determines a day flying moth?  Some moths are quite obviously day fliers, flying whenever the sun shines, just like butterflies. Others, that don’t normally fly by day, will readily take to the wing on being disturbed from their roosting site as we walk through the grass or brush against bushes etc.

Cream Wave (Scopula floslactata) (1693)
Day Fliers 1 Satin Wave
(Not the best of photographs!)  With a wingspan of 30mm..this moth can be found in broadleaved woodland, hedgerows and on damp rough grassland during May and June. It is common and well distributed in England and Wales but less well represented in the rest of the country.

Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata) (1727)
Day Fliers 2  Silver-ground Carpet
This large moth has a wingspan of 34mm and can be seen flying at dusk, although it is easily disturbed into flight during the day, during mid May to late July. It prefers a damp habitat with tall herbaceous vegetation such as hedgerows, woodland rides, chalk downlands, fens and heathlands.

Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) (1728)
Day Fliers 3  Garden Carpet
Another `carpet moth’this one is very common and, as it’s name suggests, can be found in gardens, allotments and rough urban areas. It has a wingspan of 32mm and will readily take to flight if disturbed although it normally flies at dusk from April to October. It can often be found perched in the open on garden walls/fences during the day.  
The one in the photograph above flew through the open patio doors into my living room one warm early June evening.

Chalk Carpet (Scotopteryx bipunctaria) (1731)
Day Fliers 4  Chalk Carpet The Chalk Carpet is distinguished from other carpet moths by it’s drab grey colour and the two small black dots on each forewing. Listed as nationally scarce, it is found locally across much of the south of England and Wales on chalk grassland and in old quarries. During the daytime it rests on bare chalk or soil where it can be easily disturbed. It has a wingspan of 36mm and a flight period from July to August.

Common Carpet (Epirrhoe sternata) (1738)
Day Fliers 5  Common Carpet
As it’s name suggests this moth is common in most types of habitat throughout the UK. It has two flight periods the main one is from May to June and another, with fewer moths on the wing, from July to early September. It flies from dusk onwards when it also settles to feed on flowers such as Ragwort. It is easily spooked into flight during the day and has a wingspan of 28mm.

Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata) (1742)
Day Fliers 6  Yellow Shell This distinctive orange/brown moth (bright yellow forms have also been recorded) is common across the UK and can be found in lowland fields, meadows, along hedgerows and also in gardens. With a wingspan of 32mm it has a flight period from June to August. In the right habitat large numbers can be seen flying at dusk but if disturbed will readily take to the wing during the day.

The next two moths are the two most commonly seen members of the seven strong species of Burnet Moth that occur in the UK. The differences between all seven are very small and mainly come down to the variations in the red spot markings on the wings, these also act as a warning to any would be predators that they are toxic. Varied habitat preferences and distribution are also an aid in their identification.
They are both day flying moths (they don’t fly at night) and can usually be seen in good numbers on bright sunny days.

Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii  ssp. palustrella) (170)
Day Fliers 8a  Five-spot Burnet
Very similar in appearance to the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena lonicerae) (171) but is likely to have it’s two central red spots closer or merging together. They also have different habitats with the Five-spot preferring chalk downland. It has a wingspan of 38mm and a flight period from June to August.

Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) (169)
Day Fliers 9  Six-spot Burnet
This most commonly found member of the Burnet family is abundant throughout the UK, although a little scarcer in Scotland. On warm sunny days it can bee seen flitting, just like a butterfly, from flower to flower on almost any grassland where the preferred flowers are those of thistles and knapweed. It is a similar size and has the same flight period as the Five-spot Burnet above.

Moving away from macro moths to a member of the very similar and closely related micro moth group known as the grass-moths..

Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella) (1293) 
Day Fliers 7  Garden Grass Veneer
There are many different grass moths of which some are widespread and very common and can often be seen in large numbers. They rest with their wings held in a tent like position over their bodies with the antennae swept back. As their name suggests they are found in grassy areas.

The Garden Grass-veneer is distinguished from the other members of the group by the metallic fringe on the end, and the elbowed cross-line toward the rear, of the forewing. It is easily disturbed into a fluttering flight from its resting place on long grass stems in meadows, chalk grasslands and waste ground. It has a flight period from May to September and a wing length of up to 12mm.


ADRIAN said...

Thanks for all your hard work. I really enjoyed both parts of this series.
The Garden Grass Veneer is a beauty and one I've never seen.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Trevor What a wonderful post. So informative and your photographs are magic. I love the way you have framed them and used the dropped frame giving a "d effect. May I be so bold as to suggest the photos may be enhanced if you left a bigger area free above and below them as I think they would stand out ever better that way. Once again, let me tell you this is a smashing post.

The Herald said...

Thanks Adrian I'm glad that all my 'hard work' is appreciated!!!

If you've walked through any long grass you're sure to have put up a G G-veneer (or one of it's cousins!) they're very common, they flutter for a few feet and then 'disappear' back into the grass...[;o)

Thanks for your kind comments Margaret I'm glad you enjoyed the post...[;o)

Bob Bushell said...

Excellent photos of the Moths Trevor.

The Herald said...

Thanks Bob...[;o)

holdingmoments said...

So many carpets .....

Great series Trevor.

Andrew Fulton said...

Beautiful creatures to see... many thanks for sharing your images.


You do post the most informative posts Trevor. A joy to look at and read. I look forward to your next one.


The Herald said...

Cheers Keith. Yeh, it's that time of one get one free!...[;o)

Thanks Andrew...[;o)

Thanks Peter. you're a glutton for punishment!...[;o)

douglas mcfarlane said...

Really fascinating and fantastic images Trevor. I have actually bookmarked this two part series for future reference, saves an ignoramus like me keep pestering you :-) just waiting for a butterfly series now lol.

The Herald said...

Thanks Douglas, I hope they will come in useful for next year?

I'm always happy to try my hand at any ID's (no guarantees I'll get them right tho'!) just email me a photo.

Yep, the butterflies are coming...when I get myself motivated!!...[;o)

Lady Lilith said...

Wow. You got amazing shots. Stunning. I did not realize how many different moths there are.

The Herald said...

Hi Lady Lilith, thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments.
Yep, there's lots of moths out there...with over 2400 species in the UK and 11000 in the US...and many of them rival butterflies for there beauty....[;o)