Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Mystery Moth. Help Required...and not just for me.

Right, first of all, an explanation.

Walking along the road near home at dusk this small moth flew close by me. It looked like a pug in size and jizz, so I reached out and caught it by hand and carefully put it in my coat pocket. Back home, I removed the jacket and unzipped the side pocket and there it was ready to fly off. Gently, I potted it up, and as the light was going fast went for the camera to get a shot. The moth was, as usual, tapped out onto the slate to be positioned for best light.

Except for a school boy error. I put the pot down on top of it! Bugger.

So, er, apologies for my cack-handedness, I will do better in future.

Anyway, the photo is properly crap as by now the light had all but gone leaving me with a blurred, dead semi-flattened moth of an unknown species.

Is it, do you think, 461 Ypsolopha ustella ? Its wing span is about 17 - 18mm.


  1. I well remember potting up the first Nutmeg for the garden - would have been a good photographic subject except I inadvertently decapitated it in the process ......

    Y. ustella looks most likely - if nothing else it is so variable that you can't discount it, and there are not too many other candidate micros flying at this time of year.

    What's the wing-span (2x length from center of thorax to apex of forewing)? Y. ustella range is c15-20mm.

  2. Looks like Bedellia somnulentella to me, the Sweet Potato Leaf Miner- right time of year for overwintering individuals... but I wouldn't count on it!

  3. Ta Mark.

    Hi Bill, I cant see it being somnulentella. It has never been recorded in Northumberland, possibly because we dont grow Sweet Potato up here? Unless it lives on other plants too? The moth came from a damp area of mixed mature woodland..

    Cheers Stewart.

  4. I wouldn't take too much notice of the vernaculars applied to some micros Stewart. B. somnulentella is mainly a southern species, but on occasion there have been spates of records further north. It is, however, almost half the size of Y. ustella with a wing-span of c8-10mm. Did you check the wing-span?

  5. Agree that it looks like Y. ustella.

    Here's one I caught in January



  6. Hi all, the wing length was is about ( I still have the moth)7 -8 mm. That should make the span 17 -18mm.