Species of the Month - March 2013

Oak Beauty

Biston strataria

March is the best time to see the Oak Beauty, a very distinctive moth that is rather scarce this far north.  The males, with the feathery antennae as in the picture below, come to lit windows at night, or of course to a moth trap if you have one.  Females rarely come to light.  Either sex can sometimes be found at the base of tree trunks in the daytime. (info from Waring and Townsend 2003)

Biston strataria

The moth is identified by the two brown bands edged with black against a spotty whitish background.

We have two sightings on record so far, one by me at Taynuilt on 17 Mar 2011, and one by Judith Witts near Inveraray on 19 Mar 2012.  Both were males that came to house lights.  Can we make it a hat-trick with a 2013 sighting?

Please send in your Oak Beauty sightings using the form below.  If you are not sure of the identity of your moth, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LORN forum and let me know it is there.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Sex (male has feathered antennae) 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g came to window or found outdoors   


By filling in this form you consent to your record being passed on to the appropriate recording scheme.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

Not surpisingly, due to the very cold weather there were no sightings during March.  I only had two moths to my window all month, an Early Grey on the 5th and a 20-plume Moth on the 16th.

7 Apr: Female Oak Beauty to lit window, Taynuilt.  Photo below.

Biston strataria

10 Apr: Male Oak Beauty to lit window, Taynuilt. 


Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Feb 2013 - Coral Lungwort
Jan 2013 - Willow Jelly Button & Birch Jelly Button
Dec 2012 - Dice Lichen
Nov 2012 - Feathered Thorn
Oct 2012 - Dryad's Saddle
Sep 2012 - Tawny Grisette
Aug 2012 - Forest Bug
Jul 2012 - Grayling
Jun 2012 - Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids
May 2012 - Small Copper
Apr 2012 - Green Tiger Beetle
Mar 2012 - March Moth
Feb 2012 - Barren Strawberry
Jan 2012 - Brambling
Dec 2011 - Red Squirrel
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves
Oct 2011 - Small Tortoiseshell
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric
Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated