Last week the Rangers were out in the depths of night doing some moth trapping within Newton Wood at Roseberry Topping. We were joined by Dr Robert Woods, Conservation Officer for INCA (Industry Nature Conservation Association).
In total, 44 different species of moth visited our trap. Moth overload. Of those, particularly interesting were as follows.
The largest find of the night, a Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi)…
Probably the commonest of our hawk-moths. Here posing on one of our legs and flashing its hindwings, showing a contrasting ginger patch, which is normally hidden. As its name suggests, the larvae often feed on poplar trees.
Our other hawk-moth find of the night, the locally common Small Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus)…
This beautifully coloured moth (PINK and GREEN) gets its English name from the caterpillar’s fanciful resemblance to an elephant’s trunk!
Another locally common find was a Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria)…
The English name of this species is derived from the patches of hindwing which resemble, as again the name suggests, a scorched wing. Very distinctive once you notice it.
An intriguing find was the Peppered moth (Biston betularia)…
This is a common and widespread species but its evolution over the last two hundred years is very interesting. Originally, the vast majority of peppered moths had light colouration, which effectively camouflaged them against the light-coloured trees and lichens upon which they rested. However, due to widespread pollution during the Industrial Revolution in England, many of the lichens died out, and the trees which peppered moths rested on became blackened by soot, causing most of the light-coloured moths to die off due to predation. At the same time, the dark-coloured, or melanic moths – of the same species – flourished because of their ability to hide on the darkened trees.
Since then, with improved environmental standards, light-colored peppered moths have again become common, but the dramatic change in the peppered moth’s population has remained a subject of much interest and study. This has led to the coining of the term “industrial melanism” to refer to the genetic darkening of species in response to pollutants.
The most significant find was at the very end of our toils, whilst we were packing away – a Blomer’s Rivulet (Discoloxia blomeri)…
This a nationally scarce species, occurring sporadically throughout England and Wales in deciduous woodland habitats. It is regarded as important from a conservation perspective, both in its own right due to its nationally scarce status but also as a representative of a group of moths which are specialised feeders on elm at the larval stage.
So overall, a very good result from our first evening of moth trapping. Not only did it help us get more familiar with moths in general and their importance to us but we also got off to a good start in finding some of the species on our properties and had some fun in the process.
* NOTE to others. If you ever venture out into woodland at night to do some moth trapping, take some insect-repellent with you! We survived an onslaught of midges in the process of our mothing, resulting in some severe post trapping itching…
|Species List for Newton Wood, Roseberry Topping (NZ575127) from Moth Recording on 5.7.12|
|Pandemis heparana||Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||1||Common|
|Tortrix viridana||Green Oak Tortrix||Linnaeus, 1758||1||Common|
|Chrysoteuchia culmella||Garden Grass-veneer||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Thyatira batis||Peach Blossom||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Idaea aversata||Riband Wave||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Xanthorhoe montanata||Silver-ground Carpet||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||1||Common|
|Colostygia pectinataria||Green Carpet||(Knoch, 1781)||1||Common|
|Perizoma alchemillata||Small Rivulet||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Discoloxia blomeri||Blomer’s Rivulet||(Curtis, 1832)||1||Nb|
|Plagodis dolabraria||Scorched Wing||(Linnaeus, 1767)||1||Local|
|Opisthograptis luteolata||Brimstone Moth||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Biston betularia||Peppered Moth||(Linnaeus, 1758)||2||Common|
|Alcis repandata||Mottled Beauty||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Campaea margaritata||Light Emerald||(Linnaeus, 1767)||1||Common|
|Laothoe populi||Poplar Hawk-moth||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Deilephila porcellus||Small Elephant Hawk-moth||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Local|
|Pheosia gnoma||Lesser Swallow Prominent||(Fabricius, 1777)||1||Common|
|Eilema lurideola||Common Footman||(Zincken, 1817)||1||Common|
|Agrotis exclamationis||Heart and Dart||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Ochropleura plecta||Flame Shoulder||(Linnaeus, 1761)||1||Common|
|Noctua pronuba||Large Yellow Underwing||Linnaeus, 1758||1||Common|
|Lycophotia porphyrea||True Lover’s Knot||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||1||Common|
|Diarsia mendica||Ingrailed Clay||(Fabricius, 1775)||2||Common|
|Diarsia brunnea||Purple Clay||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||9||Common|
|Xestia triangulum||Double Square-spot||(Hufnagel, 1766)||1||Common|
|Anaplectoides prasina||Green Arches||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||1||Common|
|Polia nebulosa||Grey Arches||(Hufnagel, 1766)||8||Common|
|Lacanobia oleracea||Bright-line Brown-eye||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Rusina ferruginea||Brown Rustic||(Esper, 1785)||1||Common|
|Euplexia lucipara||Small Angle Shades||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Apamea monoglypha||Dark Arches||(Hufnagel, 1766)||1||Common|
|Apamea lithoxylaea||Light Arches||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||1||Common|
|Apamea crenata||Clouded-bordered Brindle||(Hufnagel, 1766)||1||Common|
|Apamea epomidion||Clouded Brindle||(Haworth, 1809)||3||Common|
|Apamea remissa||Dusky Brocade||(Hübner, 1809)||1||Common|
|Oligia fasciuncula||Middle-barred Minor||(Haworth, 1809)||1||Common|
|Autographa gamma||Silver Y||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Migrant|
|Autographa pulchrina||Beautiful Golden Y||(Haworth, 1809)||1||Common|
|Rivula sericealis||Straw Dot||(Scopoli, 1763)||1||Common|
|Hypena proboscidalis||Snout||(Linnaeus, 1758)||1||Common|
|Herminia grisealis||Small Fan-foot||([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)||1||Common|