Moths


Over 300 species of macro moth have been recorded in Skye and Lochalsh. The number varies throughout the year with just eight species having been recorded in January while July has yielded around 150. I have been using a moth trap at my home since October 2012 and have recorded around 120 species from 11 different familes.

Caterpillars


Hepialidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Map-winged Swift


Lasiocampidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pale Eggar

Copyright: Steve Terry

Northern Eggar

Copyright: Steve Terry

Fox Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Drinker


Drepanidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pebble Hook-tip


Saturniidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Emperor


Thyatiridae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Peach Blossom

Copyright: Steve Terry

Common Lutestring


Geometridae (Sterrhinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Small Fan-footed Wave

Copyright: Steve Terry

Riband Wave

Copyright: Steve Terry

Smoky Wave


Geometridae (Larentiinae)

Silver-ground Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Chevron

Broken-barred Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Flame Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Red Twin-spot Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Northern Spinach

Common Carpet (photo by Nigel Richards)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Water Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Small Phoenix

Copyright: Steve Terry

Purple Bar

Copyright: Steve Terry

Striped Twin-spot Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Twin-spot Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Slender-striped Rufous

Copyright: Steve Terry

Barred Straw

Copyright: Steve Terry

Red-green Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Autumn Green Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Small Rivulet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Dark Marbled Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Common Marbled Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Welsh Wave

Copyright: Steve Terry

Barred Yellow

Copyright: Steve Terry

Grey Pine Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Green Carpet

Copyright: Steve Terry

July Highflyer

Copyright: Steve Terry

Ruddy Highflyer

Copyright: Steve Terry

Winter Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Yellow-barred Brindle

Copyright: Steve Terry

Treble Bar

Copyright: Steve Terry

Early Tooth-striped

Copyright: Steve Terry

Foxglove Pug

Copyright: Steve Terry

Golden-rod Pug


Geometridae (Ennominae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Barred Umber

Copyright: Steve Terry

Clouded Border

Copyright: Steve Terry

Peacock Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Magpie

Copyright: Steve Terry

Brown Silver-line

Copyright: Steve Terry

Brimstone

Copyright: Steve Terry

Bordered Beauty

Copyright: Steve Terry

Early Thorn

Copyright: Steve Terry

Lunar Thorn

Copyright: Steve Terry

Scalloped Hazel

Copyright: Steve Terry

Scalloped Oak

Copyright: Steve Terry

Feathered Thorn

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pale Brindled Beauty

Copyright: Steve Terry

Peppered Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Dotted Border

Copyright: Steve Terry

Mottled Umber

Copyright: Steve Terry

Mottled Beauty

Copyright: Steve Terry

Engrailed

Copyright: Steve Terry

Bordered White

Copyright: Steve Terry

Light Emerald

Copyright: Steve Terry

Grey_Scalloped Bar


Sphingidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Poplar Hawkmoth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Elephant Hawkmoth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Convolvulus Hawkmoth


Notodontidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pale Prominent

Copyright: Steve Terry

Lesser Swallow Prominent

Copyright: Steve Terry

Coxcomb Prominent

Copyright: Steve Terry

Puss Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pebble Prominent

Copyright: Steve Terry

Buff-tip

Copyright: Steve Terry

Sallow Kitten


Lymantriidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Vapourer


Arctiidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Garden Tiger

Copyright: Steve Terry

White Ermine

Copyright: Steve Terry

Buff Ermine


Nolidae

Copyright: Steve Terry

Least Black Arches


Noctuidae (Noctuinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Flame Shoulder

Copyright: Steve Terry

True Lover's Knot

Copyright: Steve Terry

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Copyright: Steve Terry

Autumnal Rustic

Copyright: Steve Terry

Ingrailed Clay

Copyright: Steve Terry

Triple-spotted Clay

Copyright: Steve Terry

Square-spot Rustic

Copyright: Steve Terry

Heath Rustic

Copyright: Steve Terry

Red Chestnut


Noctuidae (Hadeninae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Shears

Copyright: Steve Terry

Grey Arches

Copyright: Steve Terry

Broom Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pale-shouldered Brocade

Copyright: Steve Terry

Glaucous Shears

Copyright: Steve Terry

Marbled Coronet

Copyright: Steve Terry

Lychnis

Copyright: Steve Terry

Antler Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Powdered Quaker

Copyright: Steve Terry

Common Quaker

Copyright: Steve Terry

Clouded Drab

Copyright: Steve Terry

Hebrew Character

Bright-line Brown-eye

Copyright: Steve Terry

Smoky Wainscot

Copyright: Steve Terry

Brindled Ochre


Noctuidae (Cuculliinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Black Rustic

Copyright: Steve Terry

Golden-rod Brindle

Copyright: Steve Terry

Red Sword-grass

Copyright: Steve Terry

Early Grey

Copyright: Steve Terry

Green-brindled Crescent

Dark Brocade (photo by Terry Swainbank)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Grey Chi

Copyright: Steve Terry

Red-line Quaker

Copyright: Steve Terry

Yellow-line Quaker

Copyright: Steve Terry

Lunar Underwing

Copyright: Steve Terry

Pink-barred Sallow

Copyright: Steve Terry

Sallow


Noctuidae (Acronictinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Knot Grass


Noctuidae (Amphipyrinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Small Angle Shades

Copyright: Steve Terry

Angle Shades

Copyright: Steve Terry

Dark Arches

Copyright: Steve Terry

Clouded-bordered Brindle

Copyright: Steve Terry

Dusky Brocade

Copyright: Steve Terry

Middle-barred Minor

Copyright: Steve Terry

Common Rustic

Small Wainscot (photo by Terry Swainbank)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Ear Moth

Copyright: Steve Terry

Rosy Rustic

Copyright: Steve Terry

Crescent


Noctuidae (Pantheinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Nut-tree Tussock


Noctuidae (Plusiinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Burnished Brass

Copyright: Steve Terry

Gold Spot

Copyright: Steve Terry

Silver Y

Copyright: Steve Terry

Gold Spangle

Copyright: Steve Terry

Spectacle

Copyright: Steve Terry

Plain Golden Y

Copyright: Steve Terry

Beautiful Golden Y


Noctuidae (Catocalinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Mother Shipton


Noctuidae (Ophiderinae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Herald


Noctuidae (Hypeninae)

Copyright: Steve Terry

Snout


To see what is likely to be around during a particular month, click on one of the links below.


March April May June July August September October


Please note that the flight season can last for several months and I have allocated each species to a particular month on the basis of when I first saw it.


Moths - an essay by Brian Neath

(Former Vice-county Moth Recorder)


Moths have had a bad press in the past and many people still think of them as the creatures that make holes in clothes. However attitudes have changed considerably in recent years and moth trapping has become a very popular hobby. Much of this change can be attributed to the publication of the Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland in 2003. Paul Waring and Martin Townsend were the authors and Richard Lewington provided the superb illustrations. It was the first time that all the British and Irish macro-moths had been illustrated in a single volume and in a natural posture rather than as pinned out specimens from a museum. This made identification much easier than it had ever been before.

Soon after this, Butterfly Conservation set up the National Macro-moth Recording Scheme (NMRS), which involved appointing a Vice-County Recorder for every vice-county. Vice-Counties are suitably sized areas for biological recording originally set up by the Botanical Society of the British Isles. In the Highlands these are divisions of the old county boundaries such as East and West Sutherland, East and West Ross-shire and East and West Inverness-shire. All records of macro-moths have to be accepted by the appropriate Vice-County Recorder before being entered into the NMRS. The scheme has been so successful that a Provisional Atlas of the UKs Larger Moths (i.e. macro moths) was published in 2010. The maps can be viewed on the Butterfly Conservation (Moths Count) website and on the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.

One of the main attractions of moth recording is the sheer number of species. There are only 20 species of butterfly that are likely to be seen in Skye and Lochalsh but there are over 300 species of macro moth. The number of species of moth varies throughout the year with some species even having their flight period during the winter months. 8 species have been recorded in January while peak numbers occur in July (c.149 species). In addition many moths are more spectacular than butterflies. Northern Eggar, Emperor, Poplar Hawk-moth, Elephant Hawk-moth and Garden Tiger are large colourful moths while Angle Shades, Herald and Saxon have amazing shapes and patterns. It should also be mentioned that there are a number of day-flying moths.

To get into moth recording it is necessary to obtain a moth trap. There is a wide range of models with an equally wide range of prices. The traps are set up in the evening and the contents examined the following morning. The moths can then be released into cover or left to make their own way out the following evening.

Advice and suggestions for books and equipment can be provided to anyone interested in getting involved.


Useful links: Butterfly [and moth] Conservation - Highland Branch

UK Moths