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Friday, 29 November 2013

Winter Dilemmas

It seems that there's plenty of scope for confusion even at this time of year when there are relatively few species on the wing: Chestnut or Dark Chestnut, Winter or Northern Winter Moth, November or Autumnal Moth etc.  Another for me last night involved a Carpet Moth which settled briefly on the wall by the trap; I managed a photo, sadly didn't have a scale with me but it was very pale and quite small, probably not much more than half the normal size of a Spruce Carpet which, after much scrutiny of the photo, I've decided that it must have been.  Moreover, there was one Chestnut in the trap this morning, a very dark one with a lighter orange-brown band along the outer edge of the forewings, the tips of which were sharp-angled rather than rounded, if not exactly hooked.  A Dark Chestnut?  Perhaps there's a case for a 'Chestnut sp.' category for occasions when there is an element of doubt.
Incidentally, there were 20 or so December Moths in and around the trap as well.

 Spruce carpet
Chestnut sp.


  1. The termen looks convincingly straight, so that would be Dark Chestnut in my mind. As always I'm prepared to be wrong!

  2. Thanks Sam, that's what I put my money on.

  3. Thanks Sam & Barry, I'll record it as such.

  4. I was going to query your Spruce Carpet but on closer inspection you can actually see that is is a male and the serrated antennae show rather well.

    1. Thank you for pointing to that feature, the teeth are indeed visible on the magnified photo. I must confess to being guided by the contours of the central band, they didn't seem to fit Pine or Grey Pine.