Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Moths are back!

I didn’t blog much at all last year but aim to be more active in 2017.  With that in mind and given the warmer weather, I decided to put my backyard light trap out last night.  I wasn’t disappointed as there were 4 moths of 4 species in the trap this morning and one of these appears to be a Goat Sallow Moth (Homoglaea hircina) which is a new backyard species.  Assuming that my ID is correct, that’s not a bad start to the mothing year!

Here’s the list and a few photographs taken this morning.

Speckled Green Fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci)
Western Swordgrass Moth (Xylena thoracica)
Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula)
Goat Sallow Moth (Homoglaea hircina)


Monday, 18 April 2016

17th-18th April – Lappet Moth

Not too much to report but I have had my first Lappet Moths (Phyllodesma Americana) since 2013.  One was in the light trap yesterday (17th) and two this morning.  Tricky to photograph well and one of these photographs was taken on my deck table as it just wouldn’t pose on anything else…


Friday, 15 April 2016

First Moths of 2016

I’ve had the light trap out 6 times since April 2nd and have recorded 27 moths of 4 species.  21 of these were Speckled Green Fruitworm moths (Orthosia hibisci).  1 of the species, a Western Woodling (Egira rubrica), was recorded in Lethbridge on the 9th April.  This appears to be quite an early Alberta record.  Given the recent warm weather I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I see a few more early records.

The other species were the expected:

False Pinion - Litholomia napaea
Western Swordgrass - Xylena thoracica

Egira rubrica 1KEgira rubrica

Speckled Green Fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci)Untitled_Panorama9k

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

2015 Backyard Macro Moth Summary

As I have already had my first few moths of 2016, I thought it was about time that I completed last years summary…

In 2015 I counted 3,222 macro moths consisting of 160 species.  There were more than 3,222 moths in my bait and light traps but 3,222 are the moths that I could identify with a reasonable level of confidence.  Of course, there are always a few moths which are a best guess based on location, date of occurrence etc.

The 10 most common moths were as follows.  No real surprises here.

Common Name Scientific Name No’ of Records
Glassy Cutworm Apamea devastator 452
Thoughtful Apamea Apamea cogitata 398
Bristly Cutworm Moth Lacinipolia renigera 382
Olive Arches Lacinipolia olivacea 173
Vancouver Dart Agrotis vancouverensis 165
Bronzed Cutworm Moth Nephelodes minians 154
Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 139
Civil Rustic Platyperigea montana 124
The Mottled Rustic Caradrina morpheus 109
Lesser Wainscot Mythimna oxygala 92

I recorded 19 new backyard moth species in 2015.  This was up from only 7 in 2014.  I think a possible reason for the improvement was a drier June which allowed me to put the light trap out more often.  Once again, my thanks go to Gary Anweiler for his help identifying the new moths!!  Even when I think I know what the moth is (and I often don’t) it’s great to get confirmation of a new backyard species.

Here’s the list of the new backyard species for 2015 followed by some new species photographs.

Pale-marked Angle Moth (Macaria signaria)
Gray Spruce Looper Moth (Caripeta divisata)
Mountain Girdle Moth (Enypia griseata)
Small Phoenix Moth (Ecliptopera silaceata)
White-ribboned Carpet Moth (Mesoleuca ruficillata)
Wormwood pug (Eupithecia absinthiata)
Sigmoid Prominent Moth (Clostera albosigma)
Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)
Northern Pine Tussock Moth (Dasychira plagiata)
Colorful Zale Moth (Zale minerea)
Frigid Owlet Moth (Nycteola frigidana)
Pink-barred Lithacodia (Pseudeustrotia carneola)
Splendid Dagger Moth (Acronicta superans)
Brown-lined Sallow Moth (Sympistis badistriga)
Orthodes obscura
Old Man Dart Moth (Agrotis vetusta)
Praevia Dart Moth (Xestia praevia)
Two-spot Dart Moth (Eueretagrotis perattentus)
Abagrotis hermina

 6344 Pale-marked Angle Moth (Macaria signaria)6863 Gray Spruce Looper Moth (Caripeta divisata)7213 Small Phoenix Moth (Ecliptopera silaceata)7307 White-ribboned Carpet Moth (Mesoleuca ruficillata)7586.1 Wormwood Pug (Eupithecia absinthiata)8129 Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)8304 Northern Pine Tussock Moth (Dasychira plagiata) (1)8304 Northern Pine Tussock Moth (Dasychira plagiata)8697 Colorful Zale Moth (Zale minerea)9226 Splendid Dagger Moth (Acronicta superans)10059 Brown-lined Sallow Moth (Sympistis badistriga)10290 Orthodes obscura10968.1 Praevia Dart Moth (Xestia praevia)11008 Two-spot Dart Moth (Eueretagrotis perattentus)11030.1 Abagrotis hermina

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Sept moths and 300 up

Heavy rain has once again prevented me from putting the light trap out a great deal but I did get a very nice October Thorn (Synaxis jubararia) on the 13th Sept.  I have only recorded this moth once before in Sept 2008 and that specimen was quite worn so I am very happy with this sighting.  Other moths include an Ashen Brindle moth (Lithomoia germana) and Alberta Lutestrin (Ceranemota albertae).  The latter moth was a fairly worn specimen but I’ve included the photographs as they are good enough for an ID. 

The 300th backyard macro moth turned out to be a Frigid Owlet Moth (Nycteola frigidana) that I recorded on the 10th June.  Not a spectacular looking moth or specimen but as a new species I’m quite happy with it.  Hopefully the October Thorn will supply the colour in this blog entry.

The moths since my last blog (excluding the Frigid Owlet Moth) were:

Alberta Lutestrin (Ceranemota albertae)
October Thorn (Synaxis jubararia)
Ashen Brindle moth (Lithomoia germana)
Nameless Pinion Moth (Lithophane innominata)
Battered Sallow Moth (Sunira verberata)

OTAB1 (1)NPBSAL1AL8975 Frigid Owlet Moth (Nycteola frigidana)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Very low moth numbers but a new backyard moth.

With the recent rain and cool temperatures there has been very little moth activity in my backyard so I am working on a few ID’s.  The first one turned out to be a dark form of a moth that I see most years, a Kidney-spotted Rustic (Helotropha reniformis).   I spent several hours trying to ID this moth and without Gary Anweiler’s help I’d probably still be searching!  The second moth is a new backyard moth, Mountain Girdle Moth (Enypia griseata).  Thanks again to Gary for the ID confirmation and the additional info’.  Another moth which was new to my backyard in August was, I believe, an Old Man Dart Moth (Agrotis vetusta). 

With the addition of the Girdle Moth (Enypia griseata) my backyard macro moth list is now 299.  Hopefully, I will find 1 more species before the mothing season is over…

9453 Kidney-spotted Rustic melanic (Helotropha reniformis)7006 Mountain Girdle Moth (Enypia griseata) 10641 Old Man Dart Moth (Agrotis vetusta)

Thursday, 3 September 2015

First night of no moths

Well, the title is a slight exaggeration because I did find one Olive Arches on the siding by the back door.  However, it was the first non rainy night since spring that both the light and bait traps were completely empty.  The temperature must have dropped very quickly.

Just to add, I have started to update the “Moths of Calgary and Southern Alberta” gallery on my website at

I’ve added some new species and have started to replace a few of the photographs with what are, hopefully, slightly better images.