Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Last Night at Maenol

It was cold here, but dry and overcast, so I put a couple of actinic traps out just in case something of interest arrived.  I was not disappointed, there were three FFYs:




Help with identification would be welcome here.  Not with the Red Sword-grass (I can manage that one!) but the other two: I'm assuming that the green geometrid is likely to be Red-green Carpet rather than Autumn Green Carpet, even though there's no red on it, and the plume is probably Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla.  I've had all of these species here before, but not very often, so it was very nice to see them!
Following Steve's comment I photographed the underside of the geometrid which he kindly identified as Autumn green Carpet.  Not a difficult matter, it fell out of the pot upside down and obligingly remained in that position.


10 comments:

  1. That's Autumn Green Carpet, Chris. Top marks for you! They're always greyer, less bright green than R-GC. I always check the underside, where the outer most "cross line" on the hind wing forms an arc of dagger shaped marks - rather different from R-GC.

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  2. Thanks for that, Steve, I will check the underside - the moth's still in residence! Autumn GC would be a new record for me.

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  3. The "daggers" are not suggested as diagnostic, but can be regarded as a useful indicator for the species, I think - but I haven't seen anyone else postulate this.

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  4. My first-glance thought was "Autumn Green Carpet" but this species pair is very troublesome!

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  5. Troublesome they may be, Sam, but there are 161 AGC records in your Carms list (and 885 for R-gC) so plenty of people must have been confident in making the distinction. I've seen the red-green version here several times but not the autumn one, and my first impression on seeing this moth on the wall was that it was different, you say that your first impression was AGC, and Steve seemed confident of it, so that's good enough for me!

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  6. But of those 161 records, about 150 of them were from a Rothamsted trap and were held back pending photographic proof that the species occurs in the county. If my inference from the data is correct, there may have been as many as 700 RGC recorded by the same trap during its period of operation. AGC is still not common in Carms: my own records for 2013-2016 only show 8 sightings of 9 individuals (along with 17 photos of them). So I think that Sam is right to be cautious, while I still take the view that your moth is, in fact, AGC.

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    1. Oh well, that puts it in perspective Steve. I spent a long time last evening pondering whether to put the moth in the freezer, in the end I decided that perhaps the matter wasn't important enough to kill such a fine specimen, particularly since the species might be quite scarce. Second thoughts now, but it's too late!

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  7. Nice one Chris! I tend to find the Emmelina monodactyla on my verbena, and on the flowers of my variety of mint (apple mint, spear mint, pineapple mint etc), once it flowers.

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    1. I've seen White Plume around the garden quite often but not the Common one, it is small and slimline so probably easy to miss. My mint flowers are over now, the main flowering plant here is Nicotiana and I don't think that plume moths have long enough tongues to feed on them!

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  8. Yes, they are so small and thin, they often fly in when the back door is opened, and I get the white plume and a few of the patterned ones. Doubt they feed on the Nicotiana going by what they feed on here being the mint flowers and verbena. Haven't seen anything on my Nocotiana other than slugs and snails!

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