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The "problems" surrounding these species are becoming a bit of an iSpot old chestnut. There shouldn't be an issue with well-marked aurata (as here with 2 bold yellow/gold spots). Problems might arise with a claim of purpuralis based on a worn or poorly marked specimen. In the "Mint Moth (Pyrausta)" carousel there are several examples which could/should be identified to species level.
I would agree that things have become a little confused with these Mint Moths on iSpot. There are some that are clearly P. aurata (like this one) and others that are clearly P. purpuralis. There are also some with intermediate markings and it is those that should fall into the grey area of just "Pyrausta". However I know that some others will not agree unless the hind wing markings are clear to see.
It will be interesting to see what other members feelings are on this subject.
Chris Brooks - www.dragonfly-images.co.uk
My Flickr site - www.flickr.com/photos/ceb1298
Chris is correct in so far as his observation is safe he also has within the limits of i-spot indicated what it might likely be on a less certain basis . I have no trouble agreeing with a cautious observation and it is likely aurata. He therefore has ticked all the boxes in so far as the images we have before us
The issue is clearly indicated in the article you can not speculate on what you have not seen to enable a positive and safe ob whilst we would all like to close the obs and tick the box there are times when less is more IMO Phenotypic and local variation on markings can often confuse You have not seen all the markings or full perspective to encourage a full binomial better to encourage caution than to speculate on the absence of another shot
I can not understand why good keying on a number of differential points ammounts to an old chestnut :-)
Why do you think it is aurata and not purpalis ?
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The unattributed article cited is but one source on the identification of the Pyrausta species.
Barry Goater's "British Pyralid Moths" makes no mention of a major identification problem regarding aurata. Likewise Sterling and Parsons in the "Field Guide to Micro Moths of GB and Ireland".
Problems can arise between purpuralis and ostrinalis in which case a view of the underside is vital.
There is a wide range of aurata variants shown here -
Some these might be confused with purpuralis and there probably a cline that takes some aurata into purpuralis territory, but there is no doubt about the specimen in the observation here. The German article also has an interesting take on the difference between the 2 species on the basis of upperwing patterns.
If the moth shown here was presented to me as the recorder in VC33 I would have no hesitation in accepting it as a record of aurata - it has the requisite single deep orange/goldspot. This is described as "diagnostic" on the Norfolk moth web site (authored by the relevant County Recorder); it is Goater's distinguishing feature.
Thanks Robert thats an interesting and well considered response. assisting a useful thread these on Mints , I still however prefer a front backa and sides , which is rarely feasible on flitting specimens but nevertheless sets good a observation apart Accepted this is a fairly fresh specimen and as you point out aged specimens may present more of a challenge
As the relevant county recorder for this moth, I am happy to accept it as P. aurata without question.
Lat/Lng: 51.4, -3.6
OS grid ref: SS9076