An unmistakable species with distinctive pale bands running along each forewing emphasized with a dark streak and oval markings. It is reddish-brown to purplish in ground colour. Wingspan 25 to 30mm.
It flies May to June, and August to September in the south, whilst in the north May to July. Found in varied habitats, including moorland, farmland, grassland, woodland and gardens. Common and widespread throughout.
The caterpillar feeds on a variety of herbaceous plants.
Photographs of Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta), taken May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Agrotis puta – The males (top 2 images) and females (bottom 2 images) differ in this dart, with the males having lightish brown to buff coloured forewings, and the females much darker, but both have the distinctive elongated shuttle-shaped oval which gives this moth its name. The Isles of Silly have a subspecies called ssp. insula, which has a much more brighter and well-defined forewing colour and markings. Wingspan 30-32mm.
There are two overlapping broods from April to October. Regularly comes to light. Found in a wide range of habitats, including open woodland, farmland, and gardens. Common and widespread in southern England and Wales, less so north of the border.
The caterpillar feeds on various herbaceous plants, including docks and Dandelion.
Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire, May 2014. © Peter Hillman
A fairly distinctively marked moth with a white outline of the kidney mark. The ground-colour can vary. Wingspan 37-45mm.
It has three generations and can be seen May to September. Most frequent in cultivated areas, but found in various habitats, including open woodland. It is attracted to light. A resident species and common throughout Britain, but less so further north.
The caterpillars are pests of cultivated brassicas, but will also feed on the leaves of most cultivated or wild herbaceous plants.
Photographs of Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae), taken May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Phlogophora meticulosa – This is quite an extraordinary looking moth. Very distinctively shaped and patterned which make it resemble a withered leaf to a would be predator from the air. It rests with its wings folded in an unusual fashion. Wingspan 45-50mm. Related to Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara).
It flies May to October, in two generations, although recorded all year round. Attracted to light and sugar, and feeds on flowers. Often seen during the day resting on walls, fences and foliage. Found in a wide range of habitats, including gardens, parks, hedgerows and woodland. Common and widespread throughout the British Isles.
The caterpillar feeds on wild and cultivated woody and herbaceous plants, including Red Valerian, Stinging Nettle, and Broad-leaved Dock.
Rear garden, Staffordshire, May 2014. © Peter Hillman
No, it’s not the ‘Blood Beast Terror’ starring Peter Cushing, but simply a small noctuid moth.
The Fan-foot has light brownish forewing ground colour with three dark brown cross-lines and a fine crescent mark. Wingspan 30 to 35mm. The markings tend to be less distinct compared to other Fan-foots. Similar to Small Fan-foot (Herminia grisealis).
The caterpillar feeds on the withered leaves of various deciduous trees and shrubs.
It flies June to early August. Seen at dusk and attracted to light. Found in broadleaved woodland, hedgerows, and gardens. Common and widespread.
Photographs of Fan-foot (Zanclognatha tarsipennalis) taken June 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
This is one of the more drabber moths, although it does have quite distinctive and rather beautiful markings on the forewings.
Photographs of Heart & Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) taken June 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
I was watering my garden containers this afternoon when this moth flew out of one. The Silver Y just has that – a distinctive metallic silvery Y mark on each forewing. The forewing ground colour is marbled brown, reddish-brown, grey and buff, and sometimes it has a purplish hue. Wingspan up to 40mm.
Several generations are seen every month of the year, but more frequently seen during the months of May to September. Often seen flying during the day in sunny weather, or at dusk being attracted to nectar-rich flowers. It is also attracted to light at night. Found in all habitats, from coastal to inland. Widespread and abundant immigrant from Europe.
The caterpillar feeds on a variety of low-growing plants, including Common Nettle, clovers and bedstraws.
Photograph of Silver Y (Autographa gamma), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
The Dark Arches is quite variable in ground colour, ranging from pale greyish, brown to blackish. It has conspicuous oval and kidney marks, dark V-shapes either side of the thorax, and a W-mark near the outer edge. All these are distinguishing features and remain fairly constant even if there is a difference in colour. Wingspan up to 55mm.
The caterpillars feed on various grasses. The adults fly June to August, sometimes September to November in the south. Fairly attracted to light, and often comes in large numbers. Found in all types of habitats, including gardens, woodland, hedgerows, marshes, and arable land. Common and widespread throughout.
Photographs of Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha) taken in July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Bryophila domestica – This is indeed a beauty with its various marbled colouration. It ranges from greyish, greyish-green, green or dull orange in ground colour, or a slight mixture of these colours all with white. It has a wingspan of up to 25mm.
It can be seen from July to August, and is attracted to light. It is often attracted to my moth trap, and this is how I managed to photograph it the next day before releasing it. Often found resting on walls, fences, or tree trunks during the day. It is particularly well camouflaged on lichen covered trees. It is found in various habitats, from urban to suburban, calcareous woodland and coastal cliffs.
The caterpillars feed on lichen which grows on various substrates such as trees, walls and rocks. © Peter Hillman
Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire, July 2015.
This moth has distinctive heart and dart shaped markings on its forewings. There are some variations, but a constant narrow black band across the collar of the thorax identifies this species when compared to the Heart & Club (Agrotis clavis) which is similar. Wingspan 30 to 40mm. Forewing length 15 to 19mm.
The caterpillar feeds on various herbaceous plants.
It flies In two generations, May to August, and in September further south. Readily attracted to light, sometimes in great numbers. Also feeds at sugar and flowers. Found almost anywhere. Common and widespread, and one of the most abundant larger moths in Britain.
Photographs taken July 2015 and June 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.
An unmistakeble species which has little variation, except some may show a reddish-brown tinge on the forewing. It has excellent camouflage when at rest as it folds its wings close to its body, lays back its antennae, and mimics a broken stem or twig. A dark leading edge and a dark kidney mark on the forewing readily distinguishes this species from others that maybe similar.Wingspan 27 to 32mm. Forewing length 14 to 16mm.
The caterpillar feeds on Common Nettle, White Dead Nettle, and other low-growing plants.
It Flies June to July, and it is found in various habitats, including woodland margins, farmland, hedgerows and gardens. A common and widespread species except further north where it is more local.
Photographs taken June 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.
A distnctive species which has a unique mark amongst moths on its forewing, hence its name. The mark maybe variable, as can the forewing ground colour. No similar species. Wingspan up to 35mm.
feeds mainly at night in April to July, feeding on the buds at first and then the leaves. It feeds on a wide range of vegetation, including trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
The adult flies March to early May in the south of Britain, and April to early June in the north and Ireland. It is found in various habitats, from moorland to gardens. Common and widespread throughout.
Photographs taken March 2012 and March 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.