Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara)

Status: Common throughout the UK.

'Well-folded, Light-bearer'
(Eu = good/well + plexia = from plexus, folded or interwoven: Latin, lucipara = from luciparens, light-bearing: Latin)

Like its larger relative (the Angle Shades), this species has creased forewings and hair-tufts which add to its dead leaf disguise.

Up close, this is a very attractive moth: the forewings are striated with shades of gold and toffee-brown, flushed with salmon-pink on the trailing edges and they have a prominent 'angled' central bar of rich mahoganey brown. There is an oily violaceous sheen on the orbicular stigmata and the tufts of hair on thorax and abdomen.

The bright gold reniform stigmata inspired the species name 'lucipara' (light-bearing) and this moth is known in France as 'la luisante' - 'the shining'.

Small Angle Shades Euplexia lucipara

Small Angle Shades Euplexia lucipara

Small Angle Shades Euplexia lucipara

Small Angle Shades Euplexia lucipara

Small Angle Shades Euplexia luciparaFlight Period: One generation: June to July.

Foodplants: A wide range of herbaceous & woody plants (especially Bracken and other ferns).

Ochsenheimeria urella

Status: Fairly widespread throughout the UK.

'Ochsenheimer, Little-burner (?)'

(Ochsenheimeria = Ochsenheimer, urella = from uro, to burn or dry up: Latin, possibly from the damage the larvae do to grasses?).

This tiny micro moth is a day-flier and active mostly in the morning.

The antennae have a rough, shaggy appearance due to the presence of elongated scales. Profuse tufts of bristles cover the head and there are a few raised scales on the forewings.

The genus Ochsenheimeria is named in honour of the german lepidopterist Ferdinand Ochsenheimer (1767–1822) who wrote Die Schmetterlinge von Europa (The Lepidoptera of Europe) and was an actor by profession.

Detailed information about the morphology & life cycle of Ochsenheimeria can be found here (PDF file):

Review of Ochsenheimeriidae and the Introduction of the Cereal Stem Moth Ochsenheimeria vacculella into the United States (Lepidoptera: Tineoidea). Donald R. Davis (1975), Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology: Number 192.

Ochsenheimeria urella Specimen collected from the Test marsh (NS480747)

Flight Period: One generation: July to August.

Foodplants: Larvae mine the leaves and stems of grasses, including couch grass (Agropyron) and brome (Bromus).

July Highflyer (Hydriomena furcata)

Status: Common throughout the UK.

'Monthly Urn, Fork-like'

(Hydrio from hudria = water jar/urn + mena = month: Greek, furcata = fork-like: Latin)

An extremely variable moth which is often green with varying degrees of black marbling, but can also be brown with black marbling, completely melanic or marbled with faded greenish-brown tones.

Like the other 'highflyer' moths, the July Highflyer has forewings that are distinctly shouldered at the base and the wing shape is described in the genus name as urn-like.

July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata

Typical green form

July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata

Melanistic blackish-brown form

Flight Period: One generation: from July to August in Southern Britain, from late July to early October in Northern Scotland.

Foodplants: A variety of trees & plants including Hazel, sallows, Creeping Willow and Bilberry.

Coxcomb Prominent (Ptilodon capucina)

Status: Common throughout the UK.

'Feather-toothed, Capuchin friar'

(Ptilo = feather + don = tooth: Greek, capucina = Capuchin friar, aka the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin).

The scientific name of this distinctive moth refers to the prominent tufts of hair on the thorax and abdomen: Ptilodon (feather-toothed) and capucina: an allusion to the brown hooded garb of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin - after which the Capuchin Monkey is also named.

In Germany this species is known as the 'Kamelspinner' (or Kamel Zahnspinner) due to its camel 'humps'!

Coxcomb Prominent Ptilodon capucina

Coxcomb prominent

Coxcomb Prominent Ptilodon capucina

Coxcomb Prominent Ptilodon capucina

Coxcomb Prominent Ptilodon capucina

Flight Period: Usually two generations: first from late April to June, second brood from August to early September.

Foodplants: A variety of broad-leaved trees including Birch & Hazel.