Autumn moths

After the excitement of last Saturday’s Hedge Rustic, I thought I’d do a quick post on the other autumn moths that I’ve had over the last week or so. None are amazing in terms of rarity, but I love this time of year for the colours that start to come, reflecting the changing autumnal hues in the garden.

The best of the bunch was this Anania crocealis (Ochreous Pearl):


Technically it’s a ‘micro’, though a nice example of the arbitrary nature of that title, being at least as big as, say, the Pugs which are classed as ‘macros’. It’s reasonably well distributed in southern England, though a lifer for me. A wetland, marsh lover, it may well have bred in the damp grasses of the Otter estuary that are only half a mile from the house.

From further afield, this Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella) is an immigrant which shows up regularly in traps, including mine. Again, though quite large, it’s a micro in the Crambidae family.


Next, four macros all showing the way in which the colours match the onset of Autumn leaves.

Clockwise from top left these are: Dusky Thorn (Ennomos fuscantaria); Centre-barred Sallow (Atethmia centrago); Common Marbled Carpet (Dysstroma truncata – one of many different pattern/colour forms of this common geometrid); and Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa – which again comes in many colour forms).

Finally, though the days are still warm, the nights are getting colder and smaller micros are becoming more scarce. Nonetheless, several things of interest have still turned up. This is Nephopterix angustella:


Sterling et al (2012) describe it as ‘very local, but probably increasing and occasional immigrant’ (p.356). It’s certainly a new moth for me and one of a group of the Pyralidae which have this general appearance and which I find tricky to ID. However, up close the attractive row of raised black scales on the forewings meant it was relatively easy to pin down.

Next, these two similar but, I think, different micros, measuring just 10mm or so long. Both are in the family Gracillariidae which tend to ‘sit up’ making a triangular shape with body and legs.

On the left is Azalea Leaf Miner (Caloptilia azaleella); on the right, I think, is a different Caloptilia sp., either C. robustella or C. alchimiella.  I’d like to think the latter, but the former is more common. Any views on this welcome.

And finally, a welcome return visitor to my garden is this Eudonia angustea, one of the ‘Greys’, in this case Narrow-winged Grey, for obvious reasons.


I love these Eudonia/Scoparia family and have blogged about them beforeE. angustea is often one of the first to arrive in the Spring, but I’ve not had it since June 8th so nice to see it back. It can be recorded right into October, being several, possibly continuously, brooded, so hopefully I’ll see it again. Indeed, one of the lovely things about running a moth trap is the way in which species come and go according to weather, hatching times and habitat. It makes it always exciting and often rewarding when moths turn up, like old friends, again.


Sterling, P., Parsons, M. and Lewington, R. (2012) Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. London: British Wildlife Publishing.

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Budleigh Salterton resident; keen birder; moth-er.

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