Scarce Umber – another winter moth

January 5th 2020

Scarce Umber – another winter moth

Earlier this year Gwen Richards posted a story on Assynt’s Winter Moths, in two of which, the Dotted Border and Pale Brindled Beauty, the females have vestigial wings.

A male of a third species in which this condition occurs, the Scarce Umber Agriopis aurantiaria, appeared on the outside of my kitchen window at Nedd (NC1331) late on the 29th November 2019.  Since the pattern was rather darker than in many illustrations, I passed it on to Gwen for confirmation and she photographed it before letting it go .

It is a colourful insect, with darker bands and marginal dots on a warm orange-brown background (photo 1).  The camouflage value of the markings becomes apparent against a fallen hazel leaf (photo 2).  It has been previously recorded in Assynt, but no further north on the west coast.

Ian Evans

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