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Old Monday 29th August 2005, 12:19   #51
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Beginners (including me) might be confused by various "stripey" noctuids that are fairly frequent at this time of year:
feathered gothic
six-striped rustic
lunar underwing
and possibly others.
They are not really that similar but perhaps enough to throw someone with no previous experience?
Ken
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Old Monday 29th August 2005, 17:21   #52
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Nice one Ken. Lunar Underwing certainly had me scratching my head for ages on my first autumn trapping. Now if only I'd seen Feathered Gothic!
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Old Monday 29th August 2005, 17:29   #53
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I get loads of feathered gothics. But I've not seen anything else 'gothic'. This year, I want to try and see the 'lunar' underwing marking, if I can.
Perhaps you've got photos of some of the other gothics?
Ken
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Old Monday 29th August 2005, 21:10   #54
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Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana

I don't think I've seen anything 'gothic' unfortunately.

Meanwhile here's a smart little dayflying micro to look out for.

This little moth is now in its second generation here and it is far more numerous than earlier in the year. They fly around in small groups in the morning sunshine. The male is tiny (6mm long) but the female a bit bigger. The bright orange hindwings can be very obvious.
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2005, 16:24   #55
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variability

One of my commoner autumn moths is brindled green. I often have to take a second look at them because they lose most of the green colour when they have been 'out' for a while. Also, some seem to have whitish and reddish elements more obvious than others.
The photos below show some of the variation. (I believe that this applies to other 'green' moths, too.)
PS What does 'brindled' mean?
Ken
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Old Wednesday 2nd November 2005, 19:54   #56
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chestnuts--Conistra sp.

I had a very handsome chestnut last night (and another rather anonymous one). As far as I know I've never had a dark chestnut. Anyone got any photos that show the diagnostic differences? (The UKmoths site talks about the 's' shaped outer edge of the forewing on dark chestnut but I must admit that I don't feel that their photos show this very clearly.)
Ken
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 19:25   #57
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Diurnea fagella, A common ID request in Spring. Look it up so you know!!

Diurnea fagella

I think I'm safe in saying that this species is top of list for ID requests at this time of year. Usually appears about mid March with me. It is a large micro, a litttle smaller than March Moth. Familiarise yourself with it. I mentioned this last year and still it came up as ID requests many times.
It'll turn up in most people's traps. Links to pics below.


NOTE: there are 2 colour forms and that the female is flightless.
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=663
http://www.vc66.co.uk/mothweb/DSCN0622.jpg
http://www.bioimages.org.uk/HTML/T24831.HTM
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Old Saturday 10th June 2006, 08:14   #58
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Very basic

One of the things that is difficult in moth ID, in my opinion, is that when you start out with a guide book you don't know how much variability there is within a species. Also, Waring and Townsend, often say in their descriptions 'no similar species' but to a beginner at least there may be quite a few that are fairly similar.
When you identify birds, colour and shape are probably the two main criteria. With moths, the shape of the wing pattern is often more important that the exact colour. Also, moths seem to vary in size more than birds do. So all these things have to be learned through experience - which takes time.
This was illustrated for me on 8th June when I had two small square-spots which were very different in colour and where one was about 50% bigger than the other.
Ken
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Old Thursday 13th July 2006, 17:30   #59
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I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on how to separate triple-spotted clay and double square-spot?
Skinner shows the hindwing of TSC as fairly pale, while that of DSS is much darker, almost the same as the background colour of the forewings. The forewing of TSC looks much darker than the forewing of DSS - is that a consistent character? I cannot tell much that's different in the wing patterns as such.
The two below have both been confirmed by my CR. The TSC was taken in the Highlands, the DSS in Surrey.
Ken
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 13:25   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Stone View Post
Thanks for the detail Roger. If anyone is uncertain what labial palps are this should help.

Various ways to separate the two UK Copper Underwings (Amphipyra pyramidea and A. berbera) appear in the books but none are that easy or conclusive. I personally find upper forewing differences subtle and inconclusive. Examining the extent of orange on the underside of the forewing is tricky and subjective, and in any case is only a guide.

Mike Wall brought the following reliable feature to our attention last year and since then I have found it easy to check every specimen quickly. The reference for the relevant paper is BR. J. ENT. NAT. HIST, 1:1988 p97-98. An Additional Aid to the Identification of.......by P. Q. Winter. UKmoths members can read it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmoths/files/00_Misc/.

The labial palps are the two prongs than protrude from the mouth area of a moth's head. They are in fact modified mouth parts. In these two species the palps are large and turn sharply upwards to a point. These can be seen well enough with the naked eye given good eyesight and are very clear under a hand lens (or inverted binoculars held close).

On Svennson's Copper Underwing Amphipyra berbera the palps are largely black with a few pale scales mainly near the base. The very pale tips stand out clearly from the rest of the palps.

On Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea the palps have pale scales densly coating the entire front surface right to the tip making the front of the palps look unformly pale. Consequently the pale tips do not stand out from the rest of the palps when viewed from the front.

Copper Underwing flies earlier in the year (from now on) but both are on the wing together during Aug and Sep at least and are common at light and sugar. I have found them particularly numerous at sugar with both species on the same food.

The attached photos are not brilliant (particularly the one of the pyramidea upperside taken with flash). They show the upperside and palps with pyramidea first in each case.
I read in Manley that the underside of pyramidea has 'minimal copper marking beside body' whereas berbera has 'copper marking extending full length of body'. Anyone know how reliable that feature is?
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 13:31   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreybirder View Post
I read in Manley that the underside of pyramidea has 'minimal copper marking beside body' whereas berbera has 'copper marking extending full length of body'. Anyone know how reliable that feature is?
I think this was the 'original' way of separating the two - and damn difficult it is too without damaging the poor moths. I was greatly relieved when the palps method came along but it looks like we're back to square one!

David
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 16:08   #62
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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
I think this was the 'original' way of separating the two - and damn difficult it is too without damaging the poor moths. I was greatly relieved when the palps method came along but it looks like we're back to square one!

David
My CR is reluctant to accept IDs based on photos of palps... I'm pretty sure he wouldn't accept this method either. I just record them as aggs.
Ken
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Old Wednesday 3rd June 2009, 08:22   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidg View Post
I think this was the 'original' way of separating the two - and damn difficult it is too without damaging the poor moths. I was greatly relieved when the palps method came along but it looks like we're back to square one!

David
Have I missed something saying the palps are no longer considered reliable now?
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Old Wednesday 3rd June 2009, 18:50   #64
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Hi, Brian,
I've not heard anything to suggest that the palps aren't reliable but they are very difficult to get a convincing photo of, so I was wondering whether this thing I read in Manley was reliable or not. It seems from the above that he's out-of-date.
Ken
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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 08:49   #65
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Quote:
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Have I missed something saying the palps are no longer considered reliable now?
There was a discussion on the UKMoths Yahoo group in August last year that cast doubt on this method of splitting the two. Colin Plant apparently did a series of dissections of pyramidea and berbera and compared the results with the palp colour and found they didn't match. Quite a useful series of e-mails if you check the UKMoths archives.

David
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 18:06   #66
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Like the idea of this thread and it started off with good intentions. However, a little misleading as I, as a new mother (1 week) was baffled by post 7. Perhaps photos of the really basic common moths, heart and dart, lesser yellow underwing etc would be more helpful to new mothers. As such, any disapproval if I add a few myself as I discover new moths every morning?
These are ones that appear to be everyday moths at present (May/June)
1 is a willow beauty along with photo 2. Note the 2 cross lines on the forewing and the dark spot where the lines meet at the rear margin.
photo 3 is mottled beauty. from my short experience, they are amazingly variable. the smooth curves of the outer cross line are fairly diagnostic. look for the S shape near the front of the forwewing.
photo 4 is 1392 Udea olivalis. One that features every morning in my trap, so I suspect widespread and common. The 3 spots, all different shapes, on the forewing are obvious.
Hopefully I can offer future comments along with these thoughts. If nothing else, it helps me to remember the creatures myself.
cheers,
Jono
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Old Tuesday 14th June 2011, 10:58   #67
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Pale oak beauty can be a trap for the unwary.
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