gramandy's picture


Observed: 15th September 2012 By: gramandy
Kent Wildlife TrustThanet Coast ProjectWildwood Trust
gramandy’s reputation in Invertebratesgramandy’s reputation in Invertebratesgramandy’s reputation in Invertebratesgramandy’s reputation in Invertebrates

New to me - another of those moths - Stenoptilia I think

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Emmelina monodactyla interacts


gramandy's picture


...happy to go with this ID - not sure why I'd ruled it out but that did crop up when looking for ID.

DavidHowdon's picture

Ruling out

I suspect dhobern is correct.

But if we rule out E. argoteles if it is outside Wicken Fen then how will E. argoteles outside Wicken Fen ever be discovered?

David Howdon

Donald Hobern's picture

E. argoteles

You are right, but I note the comment in Colin Hart's section on argoteles that the unusual nature of the Wicken Fen population and its lack of similarity to the normal run of E. monodactyla was recognised back in the 19th century. I also note the comment here here that specific searches in suitable areas in Norfolk did not turn the species up. I think this indicates that E. argoteles should not be expected to be found in most areas.

Hard to know how to treat some of these low-probability possibilities appropriately in cases like this...

Best wishes,

Donald Hobern

DavidHowdon's picture

What I tend to do

is to record them all as monodactyla but add a note indicating how this identification was made: e.g. based on size (the largest monodactyla are apparently larger than the largest argoteles), wing curvature (strongly curved wing tips may indicate monodactyla), genitalia or merely location. That way the county recorders who get my records will, if argoteles is found elsewhere, be able to tell which of my records can be retained and which need reducing to the Emmelina agg. in the future.

On iSpot I will occasionally add an "Emmelina" ID to one of these just to draw people's attention to the existence of the other one (not least because E. argoteles does not yet appear in iSpot's taxa database).

David Howdon

Martin Harvey's picture


My take on this is that I'm happy to regard Emmelina species in non-fen habitats to be monodactyla, until such time as E. argoteles has been found further afield than Wicken Fen.

David is of course correct that it never will be found if no-one looks for it, and for those people who are in the business of dissecting moth specimens it is certainly worth checking from apparently unlikely locations (as I have done myself from time to time), but until it is found to be more widespread I don't think there is sufficient evidence to justify rejecting all undissected records of E. monodactyla.

Of course, if E. argoteles ever is found to be more widespread then that will give county moth recorders such as myself a headache in that all previous records of E. monodactyla will become suspect (unless specimens exist), but personally I'm happy to cross that bridge when and if necessary!

Entomologist and biological recorder

gramandy's picture

never thought...

...that 1 little moth could evoke such passionate dialog - love it. This is what ispot is all about for me. Thanks for all the comments. I will keep recording anything and everything that is new to me. It can only help to increase our communal knowledge.