Moths – A Whiter Shade of Pale

It’s apparently been National Moth Week this last week, although I’ve only just realised that today – a bit late. Fortunately I’d run the moth trap at the weekend anyway, so I was sort of participating in Moth Week, albeit unwittingly!

My star moth from this weekend was this beautiful white one – the Yellow Tail. It does have a yellow abdomen which it sticks out when disturbed, but personally I’d have called it something that described its beautiful white wings a bit better. But whatever the name, it’s a lovely moth and I was so happy to finally get one in our garden.

Yellow Tail

Two weeks ago I’d got another first for the garden which I’d initially thought was a Yellow Tail, until I realised it didn’t have one! Closer inspection revealed it to be a White Satin (whoever named this one was more on my wavelength), which has a lovely sheen to its wings and stripy little front legs.

White Satin

Feeling on a bit of a roll with the white moths, I raided the photos to see what other ones we’ve had. The most obvious was the White Ermine. We get these most summers and they really are stunning – and easy to identify making them the perfect moth in my book!

White Ermine

The next white moth I could think of was the other type of Ermines we get. These tiny micro moths feed on fruit trees and turn up in the moth trap regularly, but they are really difficult to identify. The books advise that you should breed them up from the food plant to be certain of the species, but that doesn’t help when you’ve just caught one in a trap. The trap was right next to our apple tree, so this maybe an Apple Ermine, but we have plum trees nearby too, so it could be an Orchard Ermine. We may even be getting both species.

Apple Ermine

The final white moth of the day is the Leopard Moth. I’ve not seen one in the garden yet this year (although I did see one on the Wildlife Trust’s Moth Breakfast back in June), so this is a photo from last year. These are crazy unmistakable looking moths.


I find these white moths really hard to photograph, mainly because I’m no good with camera settings so do most of it on auto. Trouble with using auto on white moths is that it struggles with the exposure as they are often too white against whatever background they’re on and the photos can look blown. The White Satin was particularly awkward as it flew out of the pot and landed on the black tripod leg. The only way to photograph it was to take the camera off the tripod – adding my shakiness to the equation. So that’s today’s excuses dealt with!

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