Six year old photo requires identification

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 4 February 2011 16:57

As some of you may know my back has been playing me up this week and I have been unable to work for the last three days. Bored silly and stuck in the flat I resorted to sorting out my Flickr account and came across a photo I took in Summer (May/June) 2005 at Cliffe Pools of a pyralid moth. I didn't ever come up with an identification that I was happy with and I have just come back to it and I think it's the rare immigrant/occasional resident Sciota adelphella. I went for a second opinion but was told it was not possible to separate it from Pempelia formosa from my photo. 

Having nothing better to do and realising it's the only way I am gonna add anything to my list when I'm house-bound, I searched around online for some photos of each. Have a look at the links above. In all the photos of S. adelphella, the central white wavy line is slightly closer to the head than it is to the wing tips. The distance between the two white wavy lines is far greater than the distance from the outermost wavy line and the wing tip. In P. formosa, the central wavy line is slightly closer to the wing tips than it is to the head. Also, the distance between the two wavy lines is about the same as the distance between the outermost wavy line and the wing tip. It also has a black slash mark between the two wavy lines and seems to roll itself up in a tube more. These observations are only based on a number of photos I have found online, I have no experience of either moth.

If I had the specimen, I think I would be more confident but as it was nearly six years ago I have to rely on the photograph. What would be great is if someone out there reading this knows the answer. I also have no real idea about who exactly is reading my blog so I thought it would also be a good test to see who's reading! Any moth-ers in the Dungeness area should be familiar with these species so please let me know what you think.

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