At different times throughout the year, Richard Weddle (the Lanarkshire County Moth Recorder) sets up moth traps in The Hidden Gardens. The trap is a box with a UV light, which attracts the moths during the night. The next day he opens the box, identifies what moths have popped by, then lets them back out into the wild.
It’s fascinating to learn about the varied species of moths, one of the more misunderstood (and dare we say, disliked?) insects. Richard has given us some advice about how to identify these moths, as well as some interesting titbits about the different species.
Angle-Shades: This moth has a very distinctive shape and pattern. Unlike the others, Richard found this moth in a shrubby Lime in the Rill area, and he caught it with a net!
Heart and Dart: This is easy to identify by the two dark marks – one being ‘dart’ shaped (not the sort used in pub games!) and the other roughly heart-shaped; the photo also shows very nicely the distinctive black ‘collar’; the larvae feed on a wide range of herbaceous plants.
Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix: Richard’s not 100% sure, but the dark colouration and the angular projection in the main dark band are the important features which suggests that’s what the wee guy is. The larvae live in the rolled-up edges of leaves of a variety of many deciduous trees – including apple and pear.
Wormwood Pug: The identifying features are principally the 3 dark spots and the black-banded abdomen, but wing size and shape are important in identifying any pug (in fact identification of this group is a bit of a ‘black art’); the larvae feed on plants of the daisy family (Asteraceae).
Riband Wave: This photo is from the cone of the trap, hence the angle of the photo! The Riband Wave is so-called because one form has the area between the two main cross-lines filled in the same colour as the cross-lines, otherwise the distinguishing features are the kink in the outermost cross-line just before the leading edge, the strongly-arched leading edge as it approaches the tip, and the peppering of dark scales on a fawn background; again the larvae feed on a wide range of herbaceous plants.
Light Emerald: Not our photo we’re afraid, this wee guy escaped before we could snap him when he visited us recently! This moth is a beautiful light-green colour, which fades to an almost-white as the moth ages. Looking at her hair, our administrator sympathises with the Light Emerald about this.
Thanks for teaching us about these moths Richard. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s in the moth trap next time!