Flame Shoulder

Ochropleura plecta

Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta)

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.

Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta)

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.

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Agrotis putaThe 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.

Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) male

Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) male

Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) female

Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) female

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

Heart & Dart

Agrotis exclamationis

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.

The Flame

Axylia putris

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.