Late season moths at Gatwick

Last night I tagged along to the last moth survey activity at Goat Meadow, a clearing by the woods on the edge of Gatwick. I’m still a complete novice when it comes to moths, so it was great to have Jake Everitt there to identify things, and to point out the key features. Mercifully, there were a few I recognised from the last time (even if I couldn’t quite remember the names), such as Rivula sericealis (Straw Dot), Atethmia centrago (Centre-barred Sallow), and Campaea margaritata (Light Emerald).

However, there were also a few common moths that, though I’d seen before, had no recollection of them at all: Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic), Chloroclysta truncata (Common marbled carpet) and Noctua pronuba (Large Yellow Underwing). Another that I had also seen at the last moth survey was the micro moth Carcina quercana, whose foodplants include oak (hence the name) and beech.

Picture of Carcina quercana

Carcina quercana

We also found the micro Anania crocealis (= Ebulea crocealis), the larvae of would have fed on the fleabane that was all over the woodland fringes, though the picture is a bit rubbish.

Picture of Anania crocealis

The micro moth Anania crocealis

Rubbish pictures were the order of the day, as it got cold and damp, and I didn’t feel much like fiddling around with the camera, so this picture of the Noctuid moth Gortyna flavago (Frosted Orange) could have been a bit better too; it certainly doesn’t adequately show how brightly coloured it was.

Picture of Gortyna flavago

Gortyna flavago (Frosted Orange)

However, the last picture from the trap was the best, and what a gorgeous animal Dryobotodes eremita (Brindled Green) is:

Picture of Dryobotodes eremita

Dryobotodes eremita (Brindled Green)

Other moths in the trap that were new for me were Omphaloscelis lunosa (Lunar Underwing) and Cymatophorima diluta (Oak Lutestring), of which there were several, and a single Thera firmata (Pine Carpet). So, not a huge haul, but a good-enough selection of late season moths for me to try and remember.

To make up for the paucity of moths, Rachel Bicker pointed out a few of the common spiders (another group I know almost nothing about), such as Araneus diadematus, and Araneus quadratus, as well as Metellina segmentata, then found Nuctenea umbratica (Walnut orb-weaver) on the gate on the way back.

Picture of Nuctenea umbratica

Nuctenea umbratica (Walnut orb-weaver)

So, sustained by coffee and (later) a fire, it was a very enjoyable evening.

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