Feathered Gothic moth
How far would you travel to see a ruby tiger? These tigers, not to mention a canary shouldered thorn, a burnished brass and a feathered gothic were all in Byefield Lane car park last night. They, along with a host of other exotically-named species, are all moths, found for us by Martin Anthoney of the Monmouthshire Moth and Butterfly Group.
Mothing turns out to involve a less peering into bushes than bird-watching and less walking than botany. Instead, ten of us joined Martin around a bright lightbulb and waited for the moths to turn up. Once close to the light most of them settle down either on the white sheet or egg-trays provided, and sit obligingly still while you compare them to the pictures in the field guide.
Even identification is easier than I had expected with around five hundred different species present in Monmouthshire. These macro-moths are large, similar in size to many butterflies, some are brightly coloured, and most have clear and distinctive patterns. Even on what was apparently a relatively quiet night, we were able to identify at least eighteen different species. The least expected was also one of the plainest: a mouse moth, so called for its habit of scuttling across the ground, like a mouse!
The evening was a fascinating introduction to a group of animals I hadn’t really looked at before. I’m told mothing can get addictive…
List: Brimstone, Burnished brass, Canary shouldered thorn, Centre barred sallow, Common marbled carpet, Common white wave, Dusky thorn, Feathered gothic, Flame carpet, Flame shoulder, Green carpet, Large yellow underwing, Mouse moth, Ruby tiger, Setacious Hebrew character, Six-striped rustic, Snout, Square spotted rustic