Douglas's picture

Blair's Mocha

Observed: 29th June 2012 By: Douglas
Butterfly Conservation
Invertebrates expert
Blair's Mocha
Description:

Caught at Eagle's Nest Field Centre (S. France) with MV trap.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Douglas's picture

Mocha

My moth has a distinctly hooked apex; a feature of puppillaria. The markings and ground colour don't seem at all right for albipunctata in my opinion.

http://www.lepiforum.de/cgi-bin/lepiwiki.pl?Cyclophora_Puppillaria

http://www.lepiforum.de/cgi-bin/lepiwiki.pl?Cyclophora_Albipunctata

Since you mention lepinet, the markings are very similar one of the puppillaria pictured.
http://www.lepinet.fr/especes/photos/PUPPILLARIA-20080808-1.jpg

Best wishes,

Douglas

Donald Hobern's picture

Mocha

Thanks, Douglas.

You may well be right. I didn't pay attention to wing shape.

I still can't see any C. puppillaria however with such a pinkish-grey rather than yellowish-orange ground colour. The other feature that seems perhaps less than totally clear is the shape of the hind wing. In Lepiforum both species certainly show some variation but the puppillaria hind wings tend to have some kind of angle in the termen. That seems even more the case in the Lepinet.fr images. Your moth is at the extreme end of the scale of smooth curvature in this respect.

Best wishes,

Donald

Donald Hobern

Donald Hobern's picture

Ha ha!

Well, I have actually just found a photo of a moth identified as C. puppillaria that is close to yours in colour and also shows closed spots on the wings, from SW France - and I took it and identified it...:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern/2869716876/

I seem to remember hesitating a great deal over that moth, but finally went with C. puppillaria because I couldn't justify making it something different from this one a week earlier:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern/2869730150/

I think this just goes to suggest I need a lot more experience with Mochas before I become dogmatic. Whatever your moth is, my moth was probably the same. Rightly or wrongly, it seems my moth is currently the illustration for puppillaria in Wikipedia.

Best wishes,

Donald

Donald Hobern

Douglas's picture

Tricky

Yes, well there are a very tricky, variable group, perhaps more so than I gave them credit for.

One of the illustrations in W&T is shown with a very smooth hindwing angle. I take your point on ground colour, but is seems variable; more images showing variation: http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1678.php

This species was very common where I was trapping, presumably all migrants. Although I can't be sure, I assume they were the same species; many were plainier than this, more like the ones shown in W&T. Wish I'd taken a few more photos now!

Looking at the maps (http://www.lepinet.fr/especes/nation/carte.php?e=l&id=32230) albipunctata shouldn't occur there and I certainly didn't see any indivudals with very pale colour and large spots as typical forms of this species show.

Thanks for your input, certainly made a little more aware of this group's difficulty. I do remain relatively happy that it's puppillaria though.

Best wishes,

Douglas

Donald Hobern's picture

Happy with Blair's

Hi Douglas.

At home and having checked The Geometrid Moths of Europe Volume 2, I'm happy that C. puppillaria is the best fit (although the southern French populations certainly seem to be much pinker than the norm. GME2 shows 18 puppillaria, all of which are rather orange. In any case, your moth (and my 2003 moth) is clearly not C. albipunctata. As well as the falcate forewing tip, the presence of a row of spots down the centre of the top of the abdomen (clearly visible for the first few abdominal segments in your photo) distinguishes this pair.

As you note, C. albipunctata is not found in the south of France. The other Cyclophora species in the general area (C. pendularia, C. albiocellaria, C. lennigiaria, C. annularia, C. quercimontaria, C. ruficiliaria, C. hyponoea, C. porata, C. suppunctaria, C. punctaria, C. linearia) can all be ruled out by the combination of ground colour, pattern and absence of abdominal spots.

Best wishes,

Donald

Donald Hobern

Douglas's picture

Thanks

Many thanks for your additional research Donald; nice to get confirmation.

Best wishes,

Douglas