I put the moth trap out last night next to the lovely purple buddleia, instead of the nettle patch, and was rewarded with some gorgeous new species in the moth hotel this morning:
Swallow-tailed moth, which usually have eye-spots on the tips of the wings to confuse predators, who peck at those rather than the moth’s actual face. This one has raggedly tails, suggesting the eye-spots have indeed been pecked.
This one was interesting – is it a Treble-bar or a Lesser Treble-Bar? Both species are very similar in appearance. Many similar-looking moth species can only be separated reliably by close inspection of other body parts under a microscope. Fortunately, these two can be separated by the shape of the male’s abdomen –
And a careful inspection showed I have a male, with a narrow, pointy abdomen, so this is a Treble-bar moth!
As well as these, I got a handful each of the familiar Light Emeralds and Mottled Beautys, all looking a bit worn out as they approach the end of their season. Different moth species emerge from pupae at different times of the year, and most only stick around for a month or two. One of the (many) wonderful things about moth-trapping is seeing how the composition of species regularly caught changes throughout the year.