Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Flame Shoulders and Hook-Tips

Used the moth trap on Friday night. It was a warm still evening, and so it should have been perfect for moths. Saturday morning I took it carefully into the garage and had a quick peek. At the top of the egg boxes I could clearly see a Pebble Hook-tip (Drepana falcataria falcataria) resting and warning me to approach with care. But, being the clumsy oath I am, as I was carefully extracting the box I knocked my elbow on the bench and off he went.

Luckily for me it was only to the roof window, but it did mean I had to get the ladder out and balance to get the photograph. This does show the patterning on the wings clearly, as well as the dirt on the window.


Although this is a common resident in the UK it is new to me and I'm always excited with anything that the trap manages to, well trap.



The NBN Gateway (1) distribution map shows that the Pebble is widely distributed on the mainland. There are two generations in late April - June and July - September. The later generation overwinter before emerging in the spring. The larval food plants are Downey Birch and Silver Birch, of which there are a number in the near vicinity to the garden (2).








After a little manipulation with a clear plastic box and a piece of paper I was able to recapture the recalcitrant beast and present it for another photo before release.




The only other moth in the trap was a dark Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta). Unlike the Hook-tip, this chap was very amenable to being moved and placed in position for a photograph.


It took me a little while to confirm it's id, but the distinctive light coloration to the wing edges was the guiding principle. Again this is common and widely distributed in the UK. It has two generations May/June and August/September. The larvae feed on aside range of herbaceous plants including Grounsel, Ribwort Plantain and bedstraws (2).


(1): https://data.nbn.org.uk/Taxa/NBNSYS0000005720/Grid_Map
(2): Waring,P. & Townsend,M. (2011) Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. BWP.