Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria

Geometridae » Ennominae

Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria

The Willow Beauty is a variable moth and may be confused with other ‘Beauty’ species. An important feature in identification is the cross-line on the forewing beyond the middle which is strongly kinked near the leading edge. It is more or less straight in trailing half, and forms a dot on each vein. Wingspan 30 to 38mm.

The adult flies mainly June to August, but in the south a second generation form August to October. Readily comes to light, sometimes in fair numbers. Found in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. Common and widespread, and resident.

The larva feeds on a range of broadleaved trees, shrubs and climbers, including privet, Honeysuckle and birches.

© Pete Hillman May 2014.

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Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae

Noctuidae » Hadeninae

Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae

Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758) 73.274 BF2154

Wingspan 37-45mm. A fairly distinctively marked moth with a white outline of the kidney mark. The ground-colour can vary.

Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae

It has three generations and can be seen May to September. Most frequent in cultivated areas, but found in various habitats, including open woodland. It is attracted to light. A resident species and common throughout Britain, but less so further north.

The caterpillars are pests of cultivated brassicas, but will also feed on the leaves of most cultivated or wild herbaceous plants.

© Pete Hillman May 2014.

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa

Noctuidae » Xyleninae

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa (Linnaeus, 1758) 73.113 BF2306

This is quite an extraordinary looking moth. Very distinctively shaped and patterned which make it resemble a withered leaf to a would be predator from the air. It rests with its wings folded in an unusual fashion. Wingspan 45 to 50mm. Related to Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara).

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa

The adult flies May to October, in two generations, although recorded all year round. Attracted to light and sugar, and feeds on flowers. Often seen during the day resting on walls, fences and foliage. Found in a wide range of habitats, including gardens, parks, hedgerows and woodland. Common and widespread throughout the British Isles.

Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa

The larva feeds on wild and cultivated woody and herbaceous plants, including Red Valerian, Stinging Nettle, and Broad-leaved Dock.

© Pete Hillman May 2014.

Bee Moth Aphomia sociella

Pyralidae » Galleriinae

Bee Moth Aphomia sociella

The females (see image above) are usually larger than the males, and the species is sexually dimorphic with the male being paler than the browner female. Although there may be some character variations in this moth, the males have creamy whitish coloured forewings, head and thorax. The forewing has small elongated dark spots along the outer margin. The female forewing is browner with conspicuous black discal spots, two on each wing, one larger than the other. Both sexes can express mixed pinkish, purplish, brownish and greenish hues in forewing colouration and patternation. which helps aid it in camouflage. They also have a tendency to roll rather than fold their wings when at rest. Forewing length 12-18mm.

The adult flies June to August. Rests during the day in vegetation, and attracted by light at night. Found in various habitats, including wooded areas, scrub and gardens. A widespread and common species throughout Britain.

The larva live in bumblebee and wasp nests feeding on the comb and the brood itself.

© Pete Hillman May 2014.

Longhorn Moth Nemophora degeerella

Adelidae » Adelinae

Longhorn Moth Nemophora degeerella

This moth has a striking metallic bronze ground colour with distinctive markings intersecting the forewing. The males have very long antennae, usually about four times the length of the forewing. I believe the images featured here show a female. Forewing length 7 to 10mm.

Longhorn Moth Nemophora degeerella

The adult flies May and June, during the day, and is seen in damp, deciduous woodland. Common and widespread throughout England and Wales. The larva feeds on dead leaves, often amongst Bluebells, living within a portable case.

© Pete Hillman May 2014, local wood, Staffordshire, England.

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae

Zygaenidae » Zygaeninae

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae

An attractively bright day-flying moth, with yes, you guessed it, five red spots on each forewing. Forewing length 15 to 19mm. Similar to the Five-Spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii), which is less common and more localised.

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae

The adult flies June to July, and they are seen in rough grassland and chalk downland. Common and widespread throughout, except in Scotland where it is more localised. The larva feed on clovers and vetches, and the like.

© Pete Hillman June 2017, local field, Staffordshire, England.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum

Sphingidae » Macroglossinae

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum

I feel quite privileged to have been able to take these photographs of this splendid hawkmoth. I took them quite a few years ago with my first digital camera purchase, and haven’t been able to capture one in flight and feeding since back then.

A spectacular brightly coloured diurnal moth which can be seen sipping nectar in full sunlight with its extraordinary long proboscis. It looks and sounds like a hummingbird as it feeds from tubular flowers such as Red Valerian, Buddleia, Lilac, and the like. It has a bright orange flashy underwing, and distinct chequer-like markings on the rear of its squat abdomen. Wingspan 40 to 50mm.

The adult flies April to December. Most immigrants arrive in August and September. Occurs anywhere, from coastal regions, woodland rides, parks and gardens. This is a regular migrant to Britain from southern Europe and north Africa which can breed here in hot summers in the south of England. The larva feeds on on Lady’s and Hedge Bedstraw, and Wild Madder.

© Pete Hillman August 2005.