sexual dimorphism and catholic polyphages

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm still a bit old fashioned when it comes to identification.  I want to look in a book to find out what something is.  This means that I have lots of books about identification of birds (not that it means that I get it right of course) and when it comes to moths and butterflies the same applies.  The two moths that I proffered yesterday were not in my book, so I had to go to my percieved second option and ask someone else.  I could have done what Jonathon claims to have done and go to the UK Moths website and look through the pictures of all the species until I found the right one, and then wouldn't have bothered y'all with my little request.  The thing is that it never actually occured to me!  Not for one minute did I think that there may have been a valuable resource online that could help.  Not in a book, see.  So for those that are still interested...

Image 1 was a Bee Moth Aphomia sociella and it is common.  Bee Moths are sexually dimorphic, and this was a female.  They are, of course, common.

Image 2 was a Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana. UK Moths says the following about it...

This originally Australian species was probably accidentally introduced into Cornwall in the 1930's and since then has spread quickly northwards, and is now regular in many parts, and very common in some areas [of course - Ed.].

A pest species in Australian orchards, it is one of the most catholic polyphages in Britain, and should be considered as a possibility when identifying larvae off any plant.
It flies in two generations between May and October.
So there. 

For the sake having a picture - here is another moth.  It is called a Grey Dagger.  But it might be a Dark Dagger.  The only way to tell them apart is to analyse their genitals.  And it might kill it.  Which is a bit unfortunate if you just found the rarer of the two, yes?  But I don't know how to analyse moth genitals and to be honest, I have no inclination to find out.  So lets assume that it's the common species, right?

Grey Dagger doing Acronicta psi

What I'll do today, right, is go out into the patch and watch some birds. Good idea, eh?   Don't go thinking that this blog is going to go all moth mad all summer.  It's is but a small diversion.  Honest guv.


Jonathan Lethbridge said...

I've got a moth book. Like yours, mine did not have that Apple Moth in it. It might even be the same book. My ID procedure is to look at a moth and have no idea what it is, not even a clue which group it is in. So I open up my book at page 1 and go all the way through it. It is highly unlikely I will find it on the first flick through, so I'll go through it again, slower. If this fails I'll try one more time, and then get really pissed off with moths in general. Then I'll hit the web, and painstakingly click through them species by species until I hit the right one. This is how I found the Apple Moth, and how I found what I called the Waffle Moth, whose name I can no longer recall. This is why I hate moths.

Dave said...

moth balls...

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