Over 250 Moths Over 16 Years

x16 photos. Double click to enlarge

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum
Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) – taken August 2005

It was when I purchased my first digital camera back in 2005, a Sony Cybershot compact camera, that my love for nature and the side of the natural world, that is not always often seen but is always there to be found, became rekindled. My interest in moths – ‘moth mania’ I call it – began from a young age when I used to stay up a little at night with my older brother Steve, looking out for these nocturnal insects. In those days I used to paint and draw them, especially those with vivid patterns and colours like the Garden Tiger, which has sadly declined over the years since, and I have not yet seen one here to photograph.

Red Underwing (Catocala nupta) – taken August 2006
Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria
Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria – taken June 2007

So since 2005, I have photographed over 250 (and still counting with lots of past images still to go through and positively identify) species of moth and have uploaded them to this site. 250 is small fraction of the 2,500 or more species of moth to be found throughout Britain. Not all are attracted to light. Some are attracted to feromones or sugar. Some are day-fying moths, and some are rare and localised to different areas of the country.

The Vapourer (Orgyia antiqua) – taken September 2008
Common Marbled Carpet (Dysstroma truncata) – taken May 2009

Oddly enough, in the year 2010 I apparently did not take one single moth photo, but a year later moth mania hit me again and I photographed over 150 different species of moth!

Yellow-tail Euproctis similis
Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis) – taken July 2011
Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata) – taken October 2012
Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana
Scarce Silver-lines (Bena bicolorana) – taken July 2013

After buying different compact cameras over the years, it was in 2014 I purchased my first DSLR camera the Nikon D3200.

Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica
Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) – taken March 2014
Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana
Common Yellow Conch (Agapeta hamana) – taken July 2015
Riband Wave (Idaea aversata f. remutata)
Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) – taken July 2016

2016 was the year I upgraded my camera to the Nikon D7200 (which I still use to this day) , and in 2017 it was another year the moth mania got to me. It was a very bountiful year for moths.

Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana
Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana) – taken September 2017

The thing with moths is that they can be seen all year round, even during the winter months where most other insects are hibernating.

Sycamore Piercer Pammene aurita
Sycamore Piercer (Pammene aurita) – taken June 2018
Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor
Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) -taken July 2019
Azalea Leaf Miner Caloptilia azaleella
Azalea Leaf Miner (Caloptilia azaleella) – taken May 2020
Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) – taken July 2021

Azalea Leaf Miner


Caloptilia azaleella – This is a tiny moth which loves my garage light. There were a few hanging around it, mesmerised by its glow. It is a naturalised adventive species which is steadily spreading northwards, and was probably introduced with azalea and rhodedendron plants. It is around 5mm (1/4in) long, and I could barely see it with the naked eye, so didn’t know what I had got until I saw it on the big screen. Double-click images for a closer look.


Azalea Leaf Miner Caloptilia azaleella

Azalea Leaf Miner Caloptilia azaleella

© Peter Hillman ♦ 10th May 2020 ♦ rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Satin Grass-veneer


Crambus perlella – Out in the fresh summer fields I often disturb these moths and others of their kind from the grasses and low vegetation as I pass through. They don’t usually fly far and soon settle back into the growth. You do have to watch very carefully where they land as you can easily lose them.


Satin Grass-veneer Crambus perlella

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


Codling Moth


Cydia pomonella – Although the caterpillar of this small moth can be quite a pest to fruit trees, the adult has quite some fine detail over all, and a lovely coppery finish to the bottom end of the forewings. Double-click for a closer look.


Codling Moth Cydia pomonella

Codling Moth Cydia pomonella

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 29th June 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Willow Ermine


Yponomeuta rorrella – These small moths can be a fair challenge to photograph because of their pale and reflective scales, so best done out of direct sunlight with the exposure turned down a couple of clicks.


Willow Ermine Yponomeuta rorrella

Willow Ermine Yponomeuta rorrella

Willow Ermine Yponomeuta rorrella

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 18th July 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Diamond-back Moth


Plutella xylostella – A very common micro-moth with a fairly distinct diamond pattern on its … well – its back. Double-click on images to get closer.




Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 6th July 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Wainscot Smudge


Ypsolopha scabrella – Quite an extraordinary looking little moth with distinctive raised tufts which can be seen when the moth is at rest.


Wainscot Smudge Ypsolopha scabrella


Wainscot Smudge Ypsolopha scabrella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Garden Rose Tortrix


Acleris variegana – An extremely variable micro-moth species in patterning and colouration. A melanic form also occurs. Like other similar species of Tortrix, it mimics bird-droppings to evade predation. The larvae feed on the leaves of a variety of trees and shrubs, including roses, brambles, hawthorns, cherries and apples.


Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana


Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana


Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana


Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 23rd, 24th & 30th September 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Ash-bark Knot-horn


Euzophera pinguis – Quite an unmistakable micro-moth with distinctive zig-zag markings. The larvae feed under the living bark of ash, which if becoming infested may kill the tree. This is a localised species in England.


Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis


Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis


Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Common Plume


Emmelina monodactyla – An odd-looking moth which often rests with its wings rolled tightly up. It is quite a weak flier, and will only travel a short distance before settling down again.


Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 8th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Heather Knot-horn


Pempelia palumbella – This is another rarity for my county, and only a few have been noted by the Staffordshire Ecological Record, most of these before 1995, the first in 1877. I really like the colours and patterns on this moth. It kind of reminds me of Inca art and design.


Heather Knot-horn Pempelia palumbella


Heather Knot-horn Pempelia palumbella


Heather Knot-horn Pempelia palumbella


Heather Knot-horn Pempelia palumbella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 8th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Honeysuckle Moth


Ypsolopha dentella – If you grow honeysuckle in your garden the chances are you may have some of these. This is a chestnut-brown and cream to whitish patterned micro-moth with distinctive upturned wingtips. It has a forewing length of around 11mm ( almost half an inch).


Honeysuckle Moth Ypsolopha dentella


Honeysuckle Moth Ypsolopha dentella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th July 2017
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner


Cameraria ohridella – One can easily overlook this tiny micro-moth as it is only has a forewing length of up to 5mm (1/4in) long. The forewings have an attractive ginger ground colour with distinctive white cross-bands and dark-brown cross-lines. It was first recorded in the south of Britain in 2002 and has rapidly spread north and west across England and Wales where it is common.


Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella


Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th July 2017
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Long-horned Flat-body


Carcina quercana – This is a fairly colourful moth with very long antennae. Is also called the Oak Long-horn. It has recently been introduced to North America where it is called the Oak-skeletonizer Moth.


Carcina quercana


Carcina quercana


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 8th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Want to learn more about this moth? Please visit the species main page.


Mint Moth


Pyrausta aurata – Also called the Small Purple & Gold, this moth has always been a regular visitor to my garden, yet I have always grown mint, so that is not really very surprising.


Pyrausta aurata


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th July 2017
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Skin Moth


Monopis laevigella  – A tiny micro-moth with a forewing length of between 5-10mm (1/4-3/8in). The wings have a purple sheen peppered with pale scales and a pale blotch just off centre on the forewing. The larvae feed on animal foodstuffs like bird’s nests, owl pellets and dead animal carcasses.


Skin Moth Monopis laevigella


Skin Moth Monopis laevigella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 28th August 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Green Long-horn


Adela reaumurella – This is the male with his extraordinary long white antennae, which are three times the length of the forewing. The adult flies in May and June, and in the daytime, where they may swarm.


Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D3200
Date taken: 4th May 2015
Place: Local wood, Staffordshire


 

Common Marble


Celypha lacunana – This variable moth has a forewing length of up to 8.5mm (3/8in), and is a common species which can be numerous visiting moth traps.


Common Marble Celypha lacunana


Common Marble Celypha lacunana


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 15th July 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Small Grey

Eudonia mercurella

This small moth comes from a challenging group of moths to accurately identify. With a forewing length of up to 9mm (0.4in), this moth can be quite variable, but can usually be identified by its white cross-lines and markings. The adults fly from June to September, and are attracted to light. They are a regular visitor to my garden, and fairly common throughout Britain. It can be found in woodland, grassland and gardens. The larvae feed on mosses.

Small Grey Eudonia mercurella

Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, July 2019. Nikon D7200 © Peter Hillman.

Bird-cherry Ermine


Yponomeuta evonymella – These moths frequently visit my garden, and they are often attracted to light. Its white silken forewings with fives rows of dots make this one of the easier ermels to identify, as many of them can pretty much look the same.


Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella


Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 15th July 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Red-barred Tortrix


Ditula angustiorana – This is quite a small species of Tortrix moth, and I believe this to be the male which is darker than the female, and is a little smaller.


Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 15th July 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Around The Garden Pond

Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) – Over the last three years since my garden pond’s inception it has attacted some interesting and beautiful forms of wildlife. Growing Water Mint attracts these attractively coloured little micro moths. The adult moths lay ther eggs on the plants and the hatching caterpillars feed on the leaves.

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata

Rear garden, May 2019. Nikon D7200 © Peter Hillman.

Dotted Oak Knot-horn


Phycita roborella –  A small micro-moth with an attractive pattern and earthly coloured markings with shades of red, brown, black and grey. The larvae feeds on the leaves of oak, spinning them together to form a silken retreat.


Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2018
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Mother of Pearl

Pleuroptya ruralis – With a wingspan of 2640mm, this is one of Britain’s larger micro moths. It always rests with its wings open, showing off its fine patterns and most beautiful pearlescence when the light catches them the right way. The adult flies June to October, and can be seen in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. Common throughout. The larvae feed mainly on Common Nettle.

Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis

Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, July 2018. Nikon D7200 © Peter Hillman.

Bee Moth

 


Aphomia sociella – The females (see below) are usually larger than the males, and the species is sexually dimorphic with the male being paler than the browner female. Although there may be some character variations in this moth, the males have creamy whitish coloured forewings, head and thorax. The forewing has small elongated dark spots along the outer margin. The female forewing is browner with conspicuous black discal spots, two on each wing, one larger than the other. Both sexes can express mixed pinkish, purplish, brownish and greenish hues in forewing colouration and patternation. which helps aid it in camouflage. They also have a tendency to roll rather than fold their wings when at rest.


Bee Moth Aphomia sociella female


Bee Moth Aphomia sociella female


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 27th June 2018
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Inlaid Grass-veneer

Crambus pascuella – I don’t know why but I get a lot of these moths visit in the garden, and I often disturb them on an evening when watering the garden. I really like the way the sunlight catches its scales and reflects almost like silver and gold. I am also taken by the beautiful distinctive patterning. All on a moth about 12mm (half an inch) long. When viewed from above they can look kind of strange and alien with their twiglike legs. The adult flies June to August, and is found in various grassy places. Common and widespread. The larva feed on the roots of various grasses.

Inlaid Grass-veneer Crambus pascuella

Inlaid Grass-veneer Crambus pascuella

Rear garden, June 2018. Nikon D7200 © Peter Hillman.

Sycamore Piercer


Pammene aurita – This little moth found me by landing on my t-shirt late yesterday afternoon. The colouring can vary from brownish to orangey-brown, with a distinct pale orange dorsal patch which can be seen quite clearly in the images. It was first discovered in Britain in 1943, and since then it has become widely established in England and Wales, and has been expanding its range steadily northwards.


Sycamore Piercer Pammene aurita


Sycamore Piercer Pammene aurita


Sycamore Piercer Pammene aurita


Sycamore Piercer Pammene aurita


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 21st June 2018
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Longhorn Moth


Nemophora degeerella – This moth has a striking metallic bronze ground colour with distinctive markings intersecting the forewing. The males have very long antennae, usually about four times the length of the forewing. I believe the images featured here show a female. The larvae feed on dead leaves, often amongst Bluebells, living within a portable case.


Longhorn Moth Nemophora degeerella


Longhorn Moth Nemophora degeerella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 2nd June 2018
Place: Local woodland margin, Staffordshire


 

Remember This?

Small Magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata)

Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata larva

I uncovered this larva underneath the basin of my bird bath back at the start of April, and did not know at the time what it might grow up to be. I thought it might be either a beetle or a moth. Anyway, periodically I have been lifting the top of the bird bath off to see what was happening, and then one day towards the end of April I discovered this:

Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata pupa

The larva had turned into a bright coloured pupa still surrounded by its fine and cosy cotton bed linen. I still watched it, and it became darker red and seemed to shrivel smaller and I thought it may have died. I still watched it, and only yesterday, last day of May, I noticed this:

Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata larva

With the naked eye I could not make out the detail, but it appeared to have become transparent which gave me hope that whatever was inside was still alive. Now today, after coming home from work and peeking under the bird bath, I discovered an empty package. Whatever was in there had finally transformed and broke out into a new life as an adult insect, and I thought I might never know what had become of it. Until I opened up this pic and zoomed in and recognised a forewing marking I had seen many times before!

Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata

Above is a photo of the adult moth I took last year. It is called the Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata. It amazes me to think that white grub in his silk bed had transformed into something so completely different and so beautiful. I shall miss peeking under my bird bath 🙂


Rear garden, Staffordshire 2017 & 2018. © Peter Hillman

Not Bagpuss (If Anybody Remembers?) But Bagworm

Common Bagworm (Psyche casta) – On a walk this morning I came across what looks like a tiny bundle of straw on a low growing plant leaf. I observed it for a short while and it began to move …

Common Bagworm Psyche casta larva

Common Bagworm Psyche casta larva

This is a moth larva, and it forms a protective little house around itself out of plant material. This one has used grass stalks. Bagworms are sometimes called ‘Case-bearers’. The larva feeds on grasses, lichen and decaying plant material, popping its head out as it does.


Local field margin, Staffordshire, May 2018. © Peter Hillman

Diamond-back Moth


Plutella xylostella – This small micro moth has been quite a regular visitor to the garden over the years. As can be seen, it has quite a distinctive pattern.


Diamond-back Moth Plutella


Diamond-back Moth Plutella


Diamond-back Moth Plutella


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 15th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Golden Argent


Argyresthia goedartella – This is a tiny little micro moth which frequently visits my garden during the summer months. It only has a forewing length of 6mm (1/4in). It can be seen flying during the day as well as at night. They can be fairly challenging to photo for their tiny wing scales are very reflective. And of course, they need to sit still for the duration of the photo shoot.





Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 15th July 2017
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Common Grass-veneer

Agriphila tristella – A sandy coloured grass-veneer with a pale longitudinal stripe which branches into ‘fingers’ towards the wing tip. Forewing length 12-14mm.

Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella

Attracted to light, and often disturbed from grass and low vegetation during the day. The adult flies June to September, and is found in grassland habitats. Common and widespread. The larvae feed on various grasses.


Local field, Staffordshire, August 2017. © Peter Hillman

A Risky Business

Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) – I discovered this caterpillar yesterday feeding from a silken retreat on my Water Mint. The larvae feed on all kind of Mint, but this one has taken quite a chance, for the Water Mint is growing in my garden pond, and this caterpillar has found itself on one tall spike in the centre of it. Good job it is well anchored by its silken threads. Believe it or not, but some caterpillars can swim, but not all can.

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata larva

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata larva

Rear garden pond, July 2017. Nikon D7200 © Peter Hillman.

Twenty-plume Moth


Alucita hexadactyla – I often see this curious little moth flying early dusk around my Honeysuckle. The Twenty-plume Moth belongs to a family of micro-moths called Alucitidae, of which there is only one British species.


Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 8th July 2017
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Want to learn more about this moth? Please visit the species main page.


White Plume Moth


Pterophorus pentadactyla – A very unusual and most distinctive white feathery-winged moth and one of the largest of the plume moths.

White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla)

White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla)


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38
Date taken: 4th July 2011
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


 

Common Yellow Conch


Agapeta hamana – This is one of my favourite Tortrix moths. It has a pale, creamy- yellow ground colour with distinct dark brown markings.


Agapeta hamana


Agapeta hamana


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D3200
Date taken: 11th July 2015
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire