Aug 242015

Goat Moth Caterpillar with €2 coin, © Andrew Kelly

We are in the season for Goat Moth caterpillar sightings. The caterpillars are unmistakable, pink or dark pink on sides and reddish purple on top, about 100mm or 4 inches long and as thick as a finger. Have you seen one? If so, we’d like to know.

The caterpillars spend many years munching away inside trees. Many species of trees can be host. During late summer many mature caterpillars leave the tree and wander looking for a place to pupate. They may remain in pupa state for years before the adult emerges. June is the usual flight season. It’s the wandering caterpillars that are being seen now. Caterpillars of varying sizes can be encountered at other times of year from trees being cut for firewood. Goat Moth is more common than previously thought. While adults are not often seen, there are caterpillar sightings annually from the SW and mid east region. 7 sightings have been reported during past couple weeks. Alas one of these was a road kill. Can you add other sightings?

Aug 032014

Cameraria ohridella was first confirmed in Ireland in south Dublin during 2013. In recent weeks, (June & July 2014) as well as throughout Dublin, mines and adults have been noticed in Belfast, Cavan, Louth and Wicklow and while many searches of trees have been negative it is likely to be more widespread than the current distribution map indicates.

As I write this the 2 maps above are the same. The map on left will stay fixed as a snapshot of what is known on 1st Aug 2014, the right map will update when further sightings are confirmed.

We would like you to look for mines of this species in your area on Horse Chestnut trees (Conker Tree) While fresh mines are distinctive, the old mines are brown as is leaf blotch, a fungal disease which can be found, sometimes very extensively on practically all Horse Chestnut trees. For the inexperienced this blotch can be easily interpreted as mines. If in doubt it is probably blotch

If you feel you have a definite sighting of a mine, forward a photo via Ask an Expert
If we can confirm we will add your sighting to the map.

The following 3 photos, courtesy of Dave Allen indicate of what to look out for. the fresh mines are pale and obvious. Part of the mine is usually a darker blotch and frass and a caterpillar may be visible. The mines may join together and many caterpillars may be visible together. The most likely location on tree is low, usually within reach and often near the trunk. The caterpillar pupates inside the mine. The 2nd photo shows an exit case. These are often seen sticking out of the leaf. If it has fallen out then a hole is left. The 3rd photo shows many mines in a leaf.

Further information

British Leafminers

Cameraria ohridella has a very recent history having been first observed in Macedonia in 1984. It was first observed in Britain in 2002
See wikipedia for more info

Jul 162014

We get a lot of identification requests, so to assist you we have a Find your Moth page.

It gives links to Common Moths gallery, day-flying species gallery and caterpillar gallery. Also we’ve launched a keyword filter

It’s not comprehensive but it does cover the moths that make up the bulk of identification requests.

See how you get on and tell us if any of these resources helped you to identify a moth.

And to perhaps help you on your way, here are a couple that are being asked a lot at moment.

Small Magpie

Poplar Hawk-moth

Jun 252014

This evening, the number of moth records submitted via the on-line form since its launch in late March is more than 900! That’s a fantastic response. Thanks you all. It all helps towards understanding the distribution and abundance of our moths.

The form can be found at this link

Jun 252014

Have you seen a moth you want identified. You can now use this form to forward photos to us and we will try to name it for you. There is a link to the form in the right sidebar. We will continue to try naming the moths on Facebook, but we are aware that many of you don’t use Facebook. We won’t promise to identify everything, but we’ll do our best. Once you know what the moth(s) is/are then the record(s) can be submitted to the national database via our online form here

Mar 202014

No point in reinventing the wheel. Here are  links to some guides in sorting out some species that we often encounter during Spring, March, April and on into May. It’s not a comprehensive list. Feel free to add further resources in comments and I may add it to article. All thumbnails link to the species album in the image archive.

Orthosia species (Quakers etc)

Moths of the season Spring Quakers and Drabs, Part I on Birdguides

This guide features  Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi, Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta, Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica, Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda and Small Quaker Orthosia cruda, all widespread in Ireland.
Lead-coloured Drab Orthosia populeti is also mentioned, but it is rarely recorded in Ireland, but useful to know what features to look out for.
Common Quaker Orthosia cerasiClouded Drab Orthosia incertaHebrew Character Orthosia gothicaTwin-spotted Quaker Orthosia mundaSmall Quaker Orthosia cruda

Further into April other species appear and Birdguides have

Moths of the season Spring Quakers and Drabs, Part II

This includes Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis and Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa Other species mentioned are Northern Drab Orthosia opima which is rare in Ireland and Blossom Underwing Orthosia miniosa which is presumed extinct.
Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilisRed Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa

Early Tooth-striped/Mottled Grey

Separating Early Tooth-striped Trichopteryx carpinata and Mottled Grey Colostygia multistrigaria can be problematic, but help is at hand.

Lancashire Moths have a guide on separating these 2.

Early Tooth-striped Trichopteryx carpinataMottled Grey Colostygia multistrigaria


We all need help with Pugs! and Lancashire Moths have come up trumps again!

Pugs of Lancashire and Cumbria

This guide covers our species quite comprehensibly. In early Spring, the 2 most likely species are Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata and Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata but as we head through April may others species turn up.

Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviataDouble-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata

Micro-moth families

Not specifically Spring, but worthy of inclusion, particularly if you starting to look into the world of micro-moths.

Identification of micro-moth families GMS moth tips 3


Mar 152014

It may be a new look, but the atlases remain. :)

The new look will include a blog hopefully involving a number of authors. This will showcase the Moths of Ireland and also give a better insight into the activities of moth recording.

Also you’ll see a link above for the image archive. A very exciting venture for us as well.

So as is said watch this space!