Species of the Month - March 2015

Hebrew Character

Orthosia gothica

The Hebrew Character is one of the commonest early spring moths, and is easily recognised by the black mark on each wing which supposedly looks like the Hebrew letter N.  It can appear in late February but most sightings are in March or April, with a few still on the wing in May.

Orthosia gothica

This moth is attracted to light and can be found on the outside of lit windows, so it's worth going out and having a look before bedtime, or even the next morning when they may be sitting motionless on or near the window-frame.  This species is active on cold nights when few other moths are about.

Orthosia gothica

This one is a male as it has feathered antennae.  Other than that the sexes look identical.  The forewing length is about 15-17 mm (Waring and Townsend 2009).  The larvae feed on a wide variety of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants and so the moth can occur in almost any kind of habitat.  The larvae must be very numerous but they hide in the daytime, feeding only at night, and I've yet to see one.

Orthosia gothica, normal and aberrant forms

This photo is from a moth trap set by county moth recorder Andrew Masterman in Glen Nant in 2012.  The moth on the left is an unusual form of Hebrew Character in which the "letter" mark is a similar brown to the rest of the moth, instead of a sharply contrasting black.  On the right is the normal form.


Please send in your Hebrew Character sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  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 LNHG Facebook page.

Date of sighting (see note*) 
Number seen  
Grid reference 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details   


*Moths caught in moth traps are dated to the evening the trap was set.  I normally do the same for moths found in the morning at rest on or near windows which had been lit for all or part of the night.

By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

17 Mar: Clive Craik had one in his moth trap at Barcaldine.

20 Mar: I had one to house lights, Taynuilt

24 Mar: Pat Blunsden had 2 in her moth trap on Seil.

26 Mar: I had one to house lights, Taynuilt

30 Mar: Jessie Wormell had one in trap at Benderloch

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 2015 - Tree Lungwort
Jan 2015 - Flute Lichen
Dec 2014 - Giant Willow Aphid
Nov 2014 - Golden Spindles
Oct 2014 - Crimson Waxcap
Sep 2014 - Four-spotted Orb Weaver

Aug 2014 - Pale Butterwort
Jul 2014 - Melancholy Thistle
Jun 2014 - Forester Moth
May 2014 - Large Red Damselfly

Apr 2014 - Hedgehog
Mar 2014 - Hairy Bittercress
Feb 2014 - Pale Brindled Beauty
Jan 2014 - Velvet Shank
Dec 2013 - Frilly-fruited Jelly Lichen
Nov 2013 - Whooper Swan
Oct 2013 - Ballerina Waxcap
Sep 2013 - Parrot Waxcap
Aug 2013 - Vapourer Moth

Jul 2013 - Emerald Damselfly
Jun 2013 - Globe Flower
May 2013 - Early Purple Orchid
Apr 2013 - Peacock Butterfly
Mar 2013 - Oak Beauty
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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This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.