Above: Angle Shades (All photos © Gordon Redford)
It is only in the past 2 years that I have continued recording moths regularly in November because there is much less moth activity in the winter months and the weather is often not that good for those that are on the wing. 130 moths of 21 species, were attracted to lights and there were 4 of the 30 evenings when none were recorded. I do have some records going back to 2014 though, so that at the beginning of November 2020, the November list for LLNR stood at 23 species. By the end of November that number had increased by 4. The additions were not new to the site and were a Diamond-back Moth, Rusty-dot Pearl, Turnip Moth and a Large Yellow Underwing. The first 2 are micro-moths and immigrants. The Turnip may also have been an immigrant and the Large Yellow Underwing likely to have been a resident making a rather late showing in November.
The Diamond-back moth is one of a group of seven moths from the Plutellidae family who rest with the wings held roof-like at a steep angle with the antennae pointing forward as in the photograph. The moth has world-wide distribution and has even been recorded in numbers within the Arctic Circle. The caterpillars feed on Cabbage and are a pest in some parts of the world.
The Rusty-dot Pearl has been recorded in Great Britain in every month of the year and migrates from Central and Southern Europe. It has a wingspan of 18-22mm and is thought to raise 3 broods per year. The caterpillars feed on a variety of plants including Burdocks and Mints.
Exactly half of the 130 moths counted were from 2 species, the December Moth with 45 appearances and the Feathered Thorn with 20. Both of these species were featured in the report for October. 9 of the species recorded in October were also recorded in November. These were December Moth, Feathered Thorn, Red-green Carpet, Angle Shades, Large Wainscot, Red-line Quaker, Yellow Line Quaker, Brick and Lesser Yellow Underwing. Curiously, there were no Epirrita species recorded during the month. These include the November Moth, the Pale November Moth and Autumnal Moth.
The Mottled and Scarce Umbers made their first appearances of the year. The Umbers are interesting because their females are flightless. The Latin name for the Mottled Umber is Erannis defoliaria which translates as a ‘Lovely to behold defoliator’. The defoliator part is reference to the caterpillars that can be so numerous as to strip trees bare of foliage. The males can be very variable.
The Scarce Umber is not really a scarce moth and there were more of them than Mottled Umbers in November at LLNR this year. Like the Mottled Umber, the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of broadleaved trees and shrubs and overwinter as eggs.
The Satellite was recorded on 3 occasions. The 2 small dots, the satellites, either side of the small kidney mark, are diagnostic. It overwinters as an adult becoming active in mild weather. The caterpillars unusually are omnivorous, feeding on plants initially and later, when larger, preying on other moth larvae.
The Angle Shades turned up for the second year in a row in November at LLNR. The crinkle in the wing gives the moth a look of a withered leaf. It has been recorded nationally in every month of the year but mainly April to early July and late July to November in 2 generations with the second bolstered by immigrants.
4th December 2020