Species of the Month - November 2012

Feathered Thorn

Colotois pennaria

This moth will often come to a lit window or doorway in November, and is easily reconised since nothing else that flies at this time of year looks like it.  In fact you can probably recognise it even if it's on the outside of your window and you're inside.  In such a case it would be best to take a photo and to measure the moth.  The forewing length of the Feathered Thorn is about 20-23 mm.

Colotois pennaria

Note the white dots near the wing corners, and the brown dots in between the two brown lines above them.

Colotois pennaria

The male, which is more likely than the female to come to light, has large feathery antennae.  In this example the white dots are obscure and the brown ones seem to have worn off completely.

Colotois pennaria

In late autumn and early winter the males are flying about looking for females, and the females are looking for sites to lay their eggs, which can be on any of a number of common trees such as oak, willow, birch, etc.  The eggs hatch in Spring into caterpillars which eat the leaves of whatever tree or bush they're on until about mid-June when they're ready to pupate.  They then drop to the ground and bury themselves a short way under the soil to emerge as an adult moth in autumn.

Please send in your 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 
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 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
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

7 Nov, a male came to lit window overnight, Taynuilt - Carl

9 Nov, a fresh well-marked male (different to the 7 Nov one) came to the lit front door at Taynuilt - Carl

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

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

Next month's page
Current month's page

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated