Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Genitalia examination

Dear all, I am not sure how many of the Carmarthenshire moth catchers are particularly interested in being that specific about the moths coming to traps, sp agg. may be quite enough for some. I did a quick dissection of the Ear that I caught to fix a certain identification. This prompted a comment from Sam B.
I have copies of the M&B of GB&I which detail many genitalia but not all volumes are published. I see that there is now a moth dissection website and although I have not used it, things look to be much easier today compared to 25 years ago.
If people are interested in going one step further then please let me know. Depending on what sort of interest there is, I would think about doing this sort of work over the winter months but I don't want to be a slave to my microscope. I have not done any slide preparations in the past and don't intend to start.


  1. Thanks Andy - that's a brave posting!! Gen. dets. of a few moths, especially Micros, will add a lot to our knowledge of Carmarthenshire's moths. I did some in the past, and still do for Monmouthshire, but some hefty batches from VC44 in recent years were one of the reasons why I tried to step down as Carmarthenshire Moth Recorder. I really hope that a few critical species will be saved for Andy to check (and I am also willing to do the odd 1 or 2 potentially interesting Micro). Macros can (almost all) be done under just a dissecting microscope, as can many Micros, so you won't need to resort to slide preparations if you don't want to. A few of my crummy-looking gen. preps. on the Blog are shameful compared with those on the Moth Dissection website, but they do the job.

  2. Is there anywhere that shows the basics? I've done nothing like it ever, not even used a microscope but would be interested to see how it's done.

  3. Jane, if you Google 'moth genitalia examination' there will be a link to a youtube item 'dissection of the male genitalia of the cactus moth'. OK, it's an American production, but it should give you a good idea of what's involved.