The noctuid that thinks it's a geometrid

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 17 June 2010 19:36

Today we carried out the third visit of the Friston Forest entomology survey. I'm concentrating on Lepidoptera, leaving the beetles alone for a while. The highlight for me was Olive Crescent (top picture). A new species for me. This RDB noctuid is known from the site and is particularly fond of stressed or dying leaves of Beech. The site is a Beech plantation and of the five areas that we survey, two are Beech plantation and three are rides. Interestingly I saw one individual Olive Crescent on each of the three ride surveys but none on the two plantation surveys, this is in line with what Waring and Townsend states; 'the edges of rides and clearings'. They disturb from rest very easily and this was how we were recording them. They do look very much like a geometrid (although they are actually noctuids - related to the fan-foots) with a large wing area to body size ratio. For a comparison, the bottom picture is the local Beech feeding Clay Triple-lines. They are very similar in flight. There are also LOTS of Clay Triple-lines at this site so I had to try and catch them all to check for Olive Crescent. Other highlights for the day included a Red-necked Footman in flight, several Dark-green Fritillaries and a Magpie (moth) larvae. I now have a whole bunch of micro moths to ID...

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