Speckled brown moth in a specimine jar

Moth Workshop at the Garden

Volunteer Siobhan attended the July 2021 Moth Workshop and has shared her experience here

On Friday 9th July at 10am I attended a moth activity session at the Ninewells Community garden to celebrate national moth night.

The Event was hosted by David Lampard, Curator of Geology & zoology based at McManus Galleries.

David, along with Jim D, (our trustee whom organised the event) arrived at the garden at 9.30pm the previous night to set up the trap ready for it getting dark at about 11pm.

The trap was set up in woodland clearing in front of the garden in the arboretum surrounded by a variety of habitats including uncut grass, patches of nettles, willow herb and trees.

As it started to get dark, David did a bit of dusking, searching the undergrowth with a head torch and net to attract emerging moths. The plan was for David and Jim to catch the moths before they got inside the trap and identify them by torchlight. They would carry on doing this until the numbers decreased at 3am!

Opening the moth trap and keeping the moths safe until they could be ID’d

The trap was wrapped up and left until 10am the next day for the 2nd part of the Activity which I attended along with 5 other participants.

We were given insect nets as the trap was unwrapped to catch and transport the moths to a test tube to be identified and counted. David and Jim provided Moth guide books to help us identify them and showed us the most important features to concentrate on.

photo of a Heart and Dart Moth
Heart and Dart moth

The Kidney mark is a mark near to the outer edge of the wing which is really important in identifying nocturnal moths. For example ‘the Heart and dart’ which has a heart shape at the kidney and a straight line above which looks like a dart.

Moth identification

In this photo David has studied the moth and is trying to tell if this is the Common Carpet moth, the Silver ground carpet moth or the Garden carpet moth which are all very similar. One of the most common problems which come up when trying to identify the different moths is how similar they can look even under the microscope.

In this one Jim is showing me what David initially thought was the Willow Beauty moth, but it turned out to be the mottled beauty which again are very similar.

Burnished Brass moths

Here are the aptly named ‘Burnished brass’ moths which have a bright luminous quality and could be mistaken for butterflies.

It took over 2 hours to empty the trap and identify most of the moths and another hour to identify the trickier ones.

The final list of all the moths ended up as a total of 33 species not counting micro moths (listed below).

134 moths were counted not including micros and escapees.

Everyone who attended the Activity thoroughly enjoyed it and the Ninewells Community Garden is keen to host another one soon so watch this space!

Scientific nameCommon nameNumber
Pandemis cerasanaBarred Fruit-tree Tortrix3
Tortrix viridanaGreen Oak Tortrix5
Idaea aversataRiband Wave2
Xanthorhoe fluctuataGarden Carpet1
Xanthorhoe montanataSilver-ground Carpet1
Epirrhoe alternataCommon Carpet1
Cidaria fulvataBarred Yellow2
Perizoma alchemillataSmall Rivulet2
Opisthograptis luteolataBrimstone Moth2
Ourapteryx sambucariaSwallow-tailed Moth1
Alcis repandataMottled Beauty3
Cabera pusariaCommon White Wave1
Campaea margaritariaLight Emerald2
Rivula sericealisStraw Dot1
Hypena proboscidalisSnout12+
Herminia tarsipennalisFan-foot1
Abrostola tripartitaSpectacle1
Diachrysia chrysitisBurnished Brass7
Hoplodrina octogenariaUncertain5
Euplexia luciparaSmall Angle Shades1
Apamea sordensRustic Shoulder-knot1
Apamea monoglyphaDark Arches3
Oligia strigilisMarbled Minor3
Oligia fasciunculaMiddle-barred Minor17
Cerapteryx graminisAntler Moth2
Anarta trifoliiNutmeg1
Mythimna impuraSmoky Wainscot10
Agrotis exclamationisHeart & Dart6
Axylia putrisFlame1
Ochropleura plectaFlame Shoulder2
Noctua pronubaLarge Yellow Underwing5
Xestia bajaDotted Clay4
Xestia triangulumDouble Square-spot25
The names and numbers of moths caught at Ninewells Garden Moth trapping in July 2021

Photos and Text by Siobhan Croll except Heart and Dart moth- photo by Helena Simmons, List of Moths identified supplied by David Lampard

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