Autumn colours frequently feature in September moths as this Sallow above shows. (All photos © Gordon Redford)
Moths were recorded at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve (LLNR) every evening during the month of September using 2 Robinson traps, each with a 125W Mercury Vapour bulb. 2,367 moths visited the traps which was slightly less than the best September there (2,429 in 2019). 81 species were recorded which is down on the previous 2 years (94 species in 2018, 86 species in 2019). 11 species were new to the September list compiled over the period 2011-present) and 4 species were new to the site. The total number of species recorded in the month of September now stands at 163.
The 4 new species to the site were all to be found in the Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland although, as mentioned in previous reports, being a micro moth does not necessarily mean being small as the photographs below showing 2 of the new species will testify.
Lyonetia clerkella, the Apple Leaf Miner, is a very smart moth indeed with a forewing length of 4.0mm-4.5mm.
The food plants of the caterpillars, that live inside the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, includes Hawthorns, Birches, Pears, Plums, Cherries, Sallows and Blackthorn as well as Apple. They may have 3 generations in a year and the adults of the autumn brood hibernate until Spring.
The second new species is Palpita vitrealis and it has a forewing length of 13mm-15mm. It is an immigrant from Southern Europe.
Egg-laying of Palpita vitrealis has been observed on Garden Privet but the moth is not known to have bred in the wild in this country.
2 species of moth recorded accounted for 41% of the monthly total and these were the 520 Square-spot Rustics and 466 Lunar Underwings. There are various forms of Square-spot Rustic but most have a rather square kidney mark.
The foodplants of the caterpillars are mostly grasses but they have been seen on Cleavers and Plantains. They overwinter as larvae and the adults fly in late July to early October.
Lunar Underwings are so named because of a blurred central crescent moon marking on the pale underwing.
Their caterpillars feed on grasses and overwinter as small larvae. The adults are on the wing from Late August to mid October.
Other species that fared well in September this year Light Emerald, Snout, Brimstone Moth and Bordered Beauty.
Light Emeralds have 2 generations in the south of England, late May to early August and early August to late October. The second generation are often smaller than the first. 64 were counted in September, some 20 more than the previous high September number of 43 in 2019.
Their caterpillars feed on a wide range trees and shrubs including Pedunculate Oak, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Birches, Sallows to name but a few.
Snouts are a group of 6 moths that have long palps that rather stick out like noses and thus the vernacular name. 87 were counted in September.
Snout has a very long up turned palps. It too has 2 generations in a year, June to early August and late August to October. The foodplant of the caterpillars is Common Nettle.
Brimstone Moth has 2 or 3 generations between April to October. They often settle outside the trap on the underside of a leaf and show just a little of the wing so always worth a good search outside the trap before opening up.
The Bordered Beauty also fared well this September with 7 counted. The moth is never seen in large numbers at LLNR and often not at all.
The colours of Bordered Beauty seem just right for Autumn although the moth is on the wing from July. The foodplants of the caterpillars are Sallow, Grey Willow, Black Poplar and Hazel.