Thursday, 31 July 2014

The tale of the Yellow-tail...and others

When as a youth I first became interested in moths, one of my favourite species at this time of year was the Yellow-tail, that delicate-looking creature whose red-striped larvae I used to find in the hawthorn hedges that bordered my home in South Gloucestershire.  Consequently I was very disappointed to find, when I first started trapping here four years ago, that the moth did not seem to occur locally.  Imagine my pleasure when I inspected my MV trap at 5am on Wednesday and found a Yellow-tail perched on the wall close by.

It was not the only pleasant surprise of the morning, either.  Later, when I opened the trap under cover, a small geometer flew out and settled on the wall.  At first glance I thought it was a Common Carpet and was about to disregard it, but then something seemed to be not right with the first impression, so I took the usual photograph:

I think that it's a Barred Rivulet, which is a new species for me.
Amongst the many Dingy Footmen to arrive was one of an unusual colour shade, presumably f. stramineola, which I can't remember seeing before:

A productive night like this had to give rise to the odd dilemma, and as usual one involves a Pug:

Given its small size (FW length 9mm) and distinct discal spot I wonder whether the most likely species at this time of year is Slender Pug?

I think that the following moth (FW 12mm) must be a Lesser Cream Wave rather than a Cream Wave, even though there's no central spot on the forewing (it's absent sometimes, I understand):

There are a few micro matters as well, but I will have a breather and address them shortly in a separate blog.


  1. There are 257 Carms records of Yellow-tail, but just 4 of these are from the northern half of the county, ie N of the Tywi valley. One each from Mynydd Moelfre (2003), Llandysul (2003), Cnwc y Llwyn (2012), and Rhydcymerau (2008).

    Barred Rivulet is the first VC44 record from the northern half of the county. Well done!

  2. Sam, all I do is set the trap and document the catch as best I can, the rest is up to the moths! I do seem to be getting some new ones this year, which is nice. I do hope that someone will help me with the Pug because Slender would be new for me as well. As you've pointed out before, though, it's difficult from photos because the features on many of them are not very well-defined.

  3. I can't see any features pointing away from Slender Pug and small size is typical. Normal caveats apply though!