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Monday, 30 June 2014

It's Uncertain Rustic Time

Yes, it's that time of year again.  I seem to remember last year spending almost as much time trying to distinguish between this pair of species as I did identifying micros, in spite of the excellent literature we were provided with.  Last night the small actinic trap yielded only three moths (you were right, Ian, the cold, clear conditions were seemingly unfavourable for trapping): Common White Wave, Double Square Spot, and - yes, one of the aforementioned pair.

After due deliberation and consulting the literature, I have decided that it must be an Uncertain in view of the reasonably well-defined cross-lines and stigmas, the latter being distinctly darker than the ground colour.  If I am wrong I shall retreat into my shell for the rest of the summer, and henceforth all of these moths will be marked down as 'Uncertain Rustics'.
P.S.  I have just discovered Mullein Moth larvae on my Buddleia and, like Sally, I've not caught the moth itself here.  I wouldn't be too bothered about the find, except that they're on the newest, smallest patio buddleia rather than the substantial bushes that grow nearby, so I've had to relocate them.


  1. Chris - you will have seen the guidance under `resources` on the right-hand side of this page, I presume?

    1. Yes Ian, the Wheeldon & Tams article is the 'literature' I referred to. I have a hard copy by my moth trap offloading station in the utility room, but it doesn't always help much. I seem to get examples which show features of both species! My wife saw the illustrations in the article yesterday, and her comment was "they're very similar, has anyone looked at the DNA?" (She was a DNA profiler in a previous life, so it was a natural reaction!)

  2. Looks Uncertain to me. The warm tone and 'rough' scaled appearance are additional pointers.

    We had loads of Mullein caterpillars at Dingestow, but I only caught 2 or 3 adults in 15 years of trapping there. They don't like coming to light much!