Posted by: lensweb | July 28, 2016



A rather large moth was attracted to Toton Fields Local Nature Reserve on Saturday.


Moths come in a huge variety of sizes, colours and shapes but most are rarely seen because they fly at night.

There are 2,500 species of moths in Britain of these approximately 800 are macromoths the majority are very small and are called micromoths. Most live here all year, but some visit on migration.

LENS Wildlife Group were invited to run a moth trapping session by the Friends of Toton Fields Local Nature Reserve as part of a comprehensive wildlife survey of the site.


 On 23 July 2016 two light traps were run for 3 hours at Toton Fields LNR. This Local Nature Reserve is owned by Broxtowe Borough Council and was declared in 2009. It is managed by Broxtowe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.  The site  has amenity grassland, small areas of ash/ willow / poplar plantations, river corridor and scrub habitats.poind mem

The traps were placed near to the Greenwood Centre off Banks Road. at the edge of a field, alongside the River Erewash with associated wetland species, wet grassland and young woodland.

river meme


actinic memeSkinner design moth traps were used, which consist of a wooden b
ox with a central wooden crossbar housing a bulb holder and rain guard. Two large, angled pieces of clear Perspex have dual purposes, deflecting moths downwards, and allowing easy visual inspection to find moths which settle into the empty egg boxes which are placed in the box. Two different light sources were used, a 125W mercury vapour (MV) lamp which is very bright and will usually attract more moths and the much duller Actinic which is preferable if you want your nocturnal activities to remain low-key. The two different light sources can attract different moth species, geometers tending to favour the actinic, noctuids the MV lamp.


By the end of the evening, 62 moth species had been trapped and identified. It is certain if the traps had run for a longer period more species would have been caught. The most numerous species were the Water Veneer, Smoky Wainscot and Dingy Footman, followed by the Rivulet. The Water Veneer larvae are entirely aquatic, feeding on various aquatic plants such as pondweeds (Potomogetonspp.) and Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis). There are two forms of the female; one wingless, which lives under the water, and one winged, the males are winged. The smoky wainscot lives in rough grassy areas, the larval foodplants are mainly grasses. The Rivulet lives in woodland margins, hedgerows and grassy embankments and flies in July and August. It can be found around damp woodland, the caterpillars live inside the capsules of red campion (Silene dioica), eating the seeds.The Dingy Footman larva feeds on various lichens.

Two shield bugs, the forest bug and a hawthorn shield bug were also attracted to the light as well as many caddis flies, midges and gnats.

Greenwood Centre, Toton        
SK 494 345        
Moth Trapping 21.30  – 0.30        
15W Actinic and 125W Mercury Vapour as indicated        
Temperature 23oC-19oC        
Moonrise 23.42 – illumination 70% but extensive cloud cover        
Euzophera pinguis Ash-bark Knot-horn 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Laspeyria flexula Beautiful Hook-tip 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Yponomeuta evonymella Bird-cherry Ermine 3 15W actinic Common
Bupalus piniaria Bordered White 3 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Lacanobia oleracea Bright-line Brown-eye 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 2 125W MV Common
Habrosyne pyritoides Buff Arches 4 125W MV Common
Hadena rivularis Campion 1 125W MV Common
Mythimna ferrago Clay 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border 1 15W actinic Common
Lomographa temerata Clouded Silver 3 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 4 15W actinic Common
Scoparia ambigualis Common Grey 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Mesapamea secalis Common Rustic 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Cabera pusaria Common White Wave 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Agapeta hamana Common Yellow Conch 1 125W MV Common
Craniophora ligustri Coronet 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Local
Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Eilema griseola Dingy Footman 6 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Melanchra persicariae Dot Moth 3 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Xestia triangulum Double-square Spot 6 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Euthrix potatoria Drinker 3 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Cosmia trapezina Dun-bar 4 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 3 125W MV Common
Deilephila elpenor Elephant Hawk-moth 1 125W MV Common
Herminea (Zanclognatha) tarsipennalis Fan-foot 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Axylia putris Flame 4 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Xanthorhoe fluctuata Garden Carpet 1 15W actinic Common
Pasiphila rectangulata Green Pug 2 15W actinic Common
Agrotis exclamationis Heart & Dart 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Scoliopteryx libatrix Herald 1 125W MV Common
Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Notodonta dromedarius Iron Prominent 1 125W MV Common
Hydriomena furcata July Highflyer 3 125W MV Common
Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 4 125W MV Common
Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Noctua comes Lesser Yellow Underwing 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Jodis lactearia Little Emerald 2 125W MV Common
Cryphia domestica Marbled Beauty 1 125W MV Common
Oligia strigilis Marbled Minor 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl 2 15W actinic Common
Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty 1 125W MV Common
Mormo maura Old Lady 1 15W actinic Local
Udea lutealis Pale Straw Pearl 1 125W MV Common
Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth 2 125W MV Common
Idaea aversata Riband Wave 8 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Perizoma affinitata Rivulet 10 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Phragmatobia fuliginosa Ruby Tiger 3 125W MV Common
Eilema complana Scarce Footman 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Local
Scotopteryx chenopodiata Shaded Broad-bar 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Idaea biselata Small Fan-footed Wave 4 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Eurrhypara hortulata Small Magpie 2 15W actinic Common
Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot 15 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Hypena proboscidalis Snout 1 125W MV Common
Abrostola tripartita Spectacle 3 125W MV Common
Phlyctaenia coronata Spotted Magpie 2 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Acronicta aceris Sycamore 1 15W actinic Local
Aplocera plagiata Treble-bar 1 15W actinic Common
Acentria ephemerella Water Veneer 20 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Camptogramma bilineata Yellow Shell 1 125W MV Common
Pentatoma rufipes Forest Bug 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common
Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale Hawthorn Shieldbug 1 15W actinic and 125WMV Common


All species recorded in the United Kingdom have been given a national status with the most threatened and scarce species assigned to a conservation category, as listed under ‘National status’. Accurate up to date and properly vetted information is difficult to come by the most recently compiled national distribution maps may not include the most up to date information and the National Status listed in this report is based on that listed in Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland, Waring and Townsend 2003 which used data, pattern and density per 10km square and square in Watsonian vice-counties .

The Sycamore, The Coronet, Old Lady and The Scarce Footman have LOCAL status ie records are localised or patchy. All the other moths recorded have COMMON status ie are well distributed.

17y4irThe ground colour of The Sycamore varies from pale grey to dark sooty-grey. It is noted for it’s brightly-coloured caterpillar which is covered with yellow and orange hairs and has a row of black-edged white blotches along the back. It feeds on horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) as well as sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and field maple (A. campestre). It is distributed mainly in the south-eastern counties of England, with scattered records elsewhere.


The Coronet is widely distributed, but not common, throughout much of Britain, it is more frequent in the south and south-west. The habitat preferences are woodland, commons, downland and marshy places. The flight period is during June and July. When fresh, some individuals show an olive-green suffusion to the darker parts of the forewing.The larval foodplants are ash (Fraxinus) and privet (Ligustrum).

17y4m9The Old Lady is a huge, sombre-coloured moth, which is distributed  locally throughout much of Britain, and common in places. It hides by day in old buildings and sheds, and frequents damp localities as well as waste ground and gardens. The adults are on the wing in July and August. The caterpillars feed in the spring after overwintering, on blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), and other shrubs and trees.


The Scarce Footman holds it’s wings furled tightly around the body. It flies in July and August and tends to inhabit more heathy and moorland habitats, and is distributed in England, mainly in the south and east. The larvae feed on lichens mostly, but also will eat moss and the leaves of some low plants.

cor meme.jpg‘THE CONSERVATION STATUS OF LARGER MOTHS IN NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’ 2014 update to Third (2011) Edition  by Sheila Wright, Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall,  includes all Nationally Local species recorded from more than 5, 10Km squares in Nottinghamshire since 1990, together with all Nationally Common species recorded from 5 or fewer 10Km squares in Nottinghamshire since 1990. The assessment of the conservation status of each of the species of Larger Moth resident in Nottinghamshire takes into account both their national conservation status and their local rarity. This is because it is probably at least as important for us to protect nationally rare/local species which happen to be common in Nottinghamshire as it is to protect nationally common species which are nevertheless scarce in this county. (Many Nottinghamshire moths are both nationally and locally rare).

Resident species have been assigned a Grade 1, 2, 3 conservation status in the county, or left ungraded, according to a combination of their national status and the frequency of their known occurrence within Nottinghamshire, as detailed below. Frequency is determined by the number of 10km squares in the county from which they have been recorded since 1990.

Migrants have been excluded from consideration for conservation status, since it is probably safe to assume that their occurrence at a particular site will be casual and have no real bearing on the conservation value of that site.

180693The Sycamore, The Coronet, The Old Lady and the Beautiful Hooktip have been assigned GRADE 3 which includes all Nationally Local species recorded from more than five 10Km squares in Nottinghamshire since 1990, together with all Nationally Common species recorded from five or fewer 10Km squares in Nottinghamshire since 1990.

Currently 81 moths (25 micros and 56 macros) are afforded Priority Species status under the UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) following a review in 2006/07. These are the species which require most urgent conservation effort and many occur on a very small number of sites. None of these moths were caught at Toton Fields LNR.

17y4uhIn addition to the list of 81 scarce and threatened BAP Priority moths, a further 71 species of widespread but rapidly declining moths, which were identified in Butterfly Conservation’s 2013 ‘The State of Britain’s Larger Moths report’ were added to the UK BAP to encourage research by universities and institutes into the causes of decline and ways to reverse the trends. Shaded Broad Bar and Dot Moth, trapped at Toton Fields LNR, are two of these listed species .


Moths have important roles in the wildlife ecosystem. They pollinate flowers and are vital food for many other animals.  Moths are also useful to us, giving vital information about our own environment, especially climate change.

Research has shown that moths are in decline and need our help.

Toton Fields LNR provides a valuable biosystem sink for moths. These results provide a baseline survey of moths which inhabit the nature reserve and it is certain that further moth species will be identified from this site in the future planned sessions of moth trapping, however it is doubtful whether a more spectacular specimen will be seen than the rather large moth that was attracted to Toton on Saturday night.

Marion Bryce and Derek Brumbill 25 July 2016


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