Sunday, 4 August 2013


The last post was full of butterflies, so it is only appropriate to follow that with moths. I went out to look at the contents of moth traps that had been set up over last night by the Reading and District Natural History Society. This is the first time I had looked at night-flying moths apart from the few that come in the window at night. I have seen a few day-flying ones: Burnet; Shell; Cinnabar; Mother Shipton etc. but all the ones here are new to me. As I am a complete novice with moths I have relied on the identifications by an expert. The important point that I came away with that moths are far more diverse and numerous than butterflies. There are over 2,400 moth species compared to about 60 butterflies.

My collection is of fairly common ones, not knowing any better I chose to take pictures of the pretty ones rather than the unusual ones. The Brimstone butterfly is more greeny-cream than yellow, however the Brimstone moth is a lovely bright yellow.


The next is a lovely orange-brown. called a Broad-Bordered Yellow Underwing as when it flies it flashes yellow at you.

moth,broad-bordered yellow underwing

The Leopard moth, is more of a Dalmatian with a dazzling set of spots.


Back to the oranges, and this very tame and furry moth is an Orange Swift moth.

moth,orange swift

The Herald moth has scarlet patches on its shoulders.

moth,the herald

That has shown a few colours, but it is the shapes that are diverse too. Here is one of the 'twig lookalikes' a Pale Prominent moth.

moth,pale prominent

Another 'prominent' is this Swallow Prominent.

moth,Swallow Prominent

Much bigger than the others are the hawk moths. The most common is this lovely Poplar hawk moth that was very happy to sit on my thumb while being photographed. Moths are much better behaved than butterflies for staying still. Their tactic to escape predation during the day is to stay put as much as possible.

moth, poplar hawk moth

Now for the more familiar moths with a 'flat' profile. Here is a Scalloped Oak moth.

moth,Scalloped Oak

And a Canary Shouldered Thorn. You can see its long 'comb' antennae swept back.

moth,Canary Shouldered Thorn

A Wainscot, showing lots of delicate veins.


And one of the many camouflaged moths we saw, a Straw Underwing moth, quite impossible for me to sort out between many 'similar' looking species.

moth,Straw Underwing

And a Silver Y Moth, named from the 'Y' on its wings.

moth,Silver Y moth

One strange one, it looks to me more like a butterfly than the others. You can see the delicate combed antennae. It is a Purple Thorn - looks more red than purple to me.

moth,purple thorn

Finally, my favourite, a kitten. Lovely, soft and furry with fine markings, it is a Sallow Kitten Moth.

moth,sallow kitten moth

I was impressed by the range of shapes and colours, there is more to moths than the non-descrip brown things that invade the house on summer evenings!

1 comment:

Madel said...

The pic of Brimstone moth helped me identify one in my bathroom!
Never seen one before. Barton on Sea Hants