Peppered Moth

Biston betulariaThe rural form is white peppered with black spots, and the completely black form (carbonaria) more common in urban areas, and is a favourite in genetic evolutionary studies. Another form f. insularia, is an intermediate form and has black wings with many white peppered spots. Wingspan 35-60mm.

Peppered Moth Biston betularia

The adults fly May to August. Attracted to light at night, and rests on trees during the day. Found in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. Common and widespread. The caterpillars feed on assorted bushes, trees and plants.


Industrial Melanism: Over the last 200 years the Peppered Moth has been studied in detail due to its evolutionary changes in colouration. During the Industrial Revolution, due to the high levels of pollution at the time, soot being emitted into the atmosphere covered many trees in the towns and cities, obliterating any lichen or tree bark colouration which made the typical black and white Peppered Moth well camouflaged. Many of these forms died out, but the melanic form carbonaria, thrived as it was more suited to the grimy black environmental conditions of the time.


Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire, June 2011. © Peter Hillman

Scorched Wing

Plagodis dolabraria

Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria

A most distinctive moth with a ‘scorched’ appearance with its dark markings and crumpled wings. The female is seldom seen, but the male rests with its abdomen curled up. Wingspan 34 to 38mm.

Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria

The caterpillar feeds mainly on oaks and birches, but also other deciduous trees.

Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria

The adults fly May to June, males attracted to light, females to sugar. Found in woodland, parks and gardens. Common and widespread in England and Wales, less so in Ireland and Scotland.

Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria


June 2007, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2007.

Green Carpet

Colostygia pectinataria

Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria

A beautiful green coloured carpet moth when fresh, but fades rather quickly and becomes duller. Wingspan 22 to 27mm.

Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria

The caterpillars feed on Bedstraws.

Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria

The adults are seen May to July, August to September.

Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria

Found in most habitats, including gardens. Attracted to light, and may also be seen during the day. A common and widespread species.


June 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011.

Common Marbled Carpet

Chloroclysta truncata

Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata

Quite a variable species of macro-moth. One form has a large light-brownish patch on the forewings, whilst others are black  or dark brown. Wingspan 24 to 30mm.

Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata

The adults fly May to June, August to October in two generations. Easily attracted to light.

The caterpillar feeds on various trees and shrubs.

Found most places, from gardens, woods and grassland. A common and widespread species.


June 2013, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Clouded Silver

Lomographa temerataThis is a very fine white moth with brownish markings on the forewings and hindwings. There is usually a dark spot in the centre of each forewing. Wingspan 22 to 26mm. The caterpillars feed on various  trees including hawthorn and blackthorn. The adults fly May to early July. Attracted to light. Found in woodland, hedgerows, bushy places, including parks and gardens. Resident and suspected immigrant. Common and widespread, but scarcer further north into Scotland.

Clouded Silver Lomographa temerata

Clouded Silver Lomographa temerata

Attracted to light, rear garden, June 2013. Nikon Coolpix P500 © Peter Hillman

Brimstone Moth II

Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)


Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) June 2013, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Light Emerald

Campaea margaritata

Light Emerald Campaea margaritata

Beautiful pale-green ground colour which fades to white within a few days. Distinctive darker green and white stripe  running through hindwings and forewings, and added smaller straight line on forewings.  Bright-red hooked wingtips. Similar to Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambu) when faded, and Small Emerald. Wingspan 30 to 40mm.

The caterpillar feeds on a wide range of broadleaved trees and shrubs, including Hawthorn and Blackthorn.

It flies late May to early August in the south, to September in the north. Maybe even partial extended second generations. Comes to light. It is abundant in broadleaved woodland. Also where there are other trees like parks and gardens, hedgerows and scrub. A common and well-distributed species.


July 2013, rear garden, Staffordshire. Nikon Coolpix P500. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Common Emerald

Hemithea aestivaria

Common Emerald (Hemithea aestivaria)

A beautiful green forewing ground colour (best appreciated in fresh specimens) with darker green and white cross-lines which follow through on the underwings. Chequered fringes and distinctive wing shape makes this moth unmistakable.  Wingspan 24 to 27mm.

Flies June to July after dusk, and is attracted to light. Found in woodland, parkland, hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread in southern England and Wales.

The caterpillars feed on a variety of trees and shrubs, including Hawthorn, Blackthorn, oaks and willows.


June 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire. Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. © Pete Hillman 2011.

Grey Birch

Aethalura punctulata

Grey Birch (Aethalura punctulata)

A small geometer with a mottled, light to dark grey ground colour. There are three dark crosslines which are sometimes broken. Wingspan 30 to 35mm.

It flies May to June in one generation. Found in Birch woodland, and parks and gardens where Birch grows. A resident species, common and fairly well distributed across most of Britain, except for Ireland and Scotland where it is more localised.

The caterpillars feed mainly on Birch.

Photograph of Grey Birch (Aethalura punctulata), taken May 2014,  rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Brimstone Moth

Opisthograptis luteolata

Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)

Unmistakable moth with its attractive bright yellow colouration and light-brown flecks on the forewing tips. Wingspan up to 37mm.

Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)

The caterpillar feeds on Blackthorn, Hawthorn, and other rosaceous trees and shrubs.

It flies April to October, in two to three generations. Readily attracted to light.

Found in gardens, woods, hedges, scrub, heaths and downs. Common and widespread throughout.

Photographs of Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) taken June 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

 

Swallow-tailed Moth

Ourapteryx sambucaria – One would be forgiven for thinking this is a butterfly. This is a large pale lemon moth with a wingspan of 40-50mm. It has distinctive pointed hindwings with two reddish-brown spots on the bases. There are darker cross-lines on the forewings and hindwings. The colours fade as it gets older and it becomes whiter. The adult flies June to mid-August. It is attracted to light, and is found in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. A fairly common and widespread species. The larvae feed on various broadleaved trees and shrubs.

Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)

Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)

Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)

Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, June 2014. Nikon D3200 © Peter Hillman

Who’s Looking At Who?

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata f. remutata)

This was the second moth I discovered on my patio door today, and this one was peering through the side window having a good look in. It is geometer moth, of which there are two forms of this particular species, this one being Idaea aversata f. remutata. This form has fine, delicate darkish lines on its forewings, where as the other, typical form, has a wide dark cross band.