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I think I see why my ID is assuming too much. Initially when looking at the info on the species on page 72 of Waring, Townsend and Lewington 2009, it seemed that unless in Shetland, it was only possible for the moth to be X. montanata montanata. Further down the text however, it makes references to 2 other subspecies- f.degenerata and f. costimaculata.
There could well be more than this.
Therefore, it was assuming far too much to make an ID of X. montanata montanata from this image, right? Because my ID assumes way too much, and isnt verifiable from the image?
Could someone clarify that this is the case please? I'll get the hang of this yet.
I have a lot of images of this species and they are varied, I wonder is it possible to determine subspecies from good photos, or are my variations likely to be just variants of the common montanata montanata?
Thanks in advance,
I think a lot of people are in the same position I am. From looking at your picture I am happy (without the need to check any literature) that it is X. montanata so can agree with the ID to binomial level.
If I check literature then in this case it is clear that X. m. montanata is justified (from the complete brown cross bar mainly) and so can agree with the trinomial.
I think quite often this makes it difficult to get agreements to sub-species level IDs on iSpot even when they are right. Worth adding text explaining why you think it is that subspecies when you add it and people may well agree more readily.
Lat/Lng: 53.5873, -2.4016
OS grid ref: SD735101