Dumbing down is simple, but when you’re writing don’t try to dumb up

We all know the phrase “dumbing down”, it’s usually used as a rather dismissive phrase of content that has been written at a lower than expected intellectual level. TV, magazines, websites are said to be dumbing down if they over-simplify their message in an often vain attempt to attract or retain a bigger audience. It’s a miserable and cynical approach.

My approach to writing, and I’ve done a lot of it over the last three decades, has always been to write so that I can understand what I’ve written whether or not I’m writing for a specialist scientific or technical audience or a popular audience. So, when asked for a piece of writing advice recently on Twitter my first thought was to not do the opposite of dumbing down, which I’ve referred to there as dumbing up.

It would be just as cynical to make one’s writing overelaborate, more complicated, flouncy than it needs to be to get your point across. Moreover, there is a major pitfall in attempting to sound clever when you’re not – you end up looking stupid. You might use a word or phrase that you’ve heard for which you don’t know the actual definition and context in which it can be used, a reader who knows that word will know immediately that you’ve got it wrong and summarily dismiss your writing.

You need to know your audience, but perhaps more importantly, you need to know yourself, you need to be aware that your knowledge is limited and to not stretch your understanding beyond your capabilities. Of course, you can educate yourself on a subject and then, and only then, might you stretch your writing a little further, but always within the limits of that knowledge. Be aware of the known knowns, the unknown knowns, the unknown unknowns. Also be aware of bias arising from the very human ability to overestimate one’s abilities, The Dunning—Kruger effect. As they once told you – Keep it simple, stupid. Dumbing up is dumb.

At the height of summer you will find plenty of Lepidoptera at the almost legendary Fleam Dyke

Mrs Sciencebase and myself visited the July Racecourse end of Devil’s Dyke near Newmarket back in July and saw literally hundreds of Chalkhill Blue butterflies and dozens of Marbled White as well as a couple of Dark Green Fritillary.

It was tip-off from a couple I met by chance in a woodland who were “twitching” a White Letter Hairstreak at Overhall Grove (Nick & Stella). All of this was mentioned in my Woodwalton NNR blog post at the time. The same couple pointed me in the direction of the Cambs and Essex branch of Butterfly Conservation website, to which members add their sightings on a very timely basis.


I’d missed seeing Clouded Yellow on the wildflower margin at Waresley Wood up the hill from Browns’ Piece this year, not surprising given the farmer had ploughed it for some reason and put a load of signs up warning off walkers from venturing anywhere near his land.

Chalkhill Blues courting

Anyway, the C&E branch had an update regarding another dyke, Fleam Dyke, near the one I mentioned earlier. Chalkhill Blues there and Clouded Yellow. So I took a trip there on the first sunny morning for a few weeks. I was perhaps too late for the Clouded Yellow. Although their season does extend into the autumn, they’re a rare migrant anyway, so you have to be lucky.

However, parking up at the Fulbourn Fen car park and walking from there to Fleam Dyke and to the far end of the ridge Mutlow Hill, I was rewarded with a fair few Lepidoptera – Common Blue, Brown Argus, Brimstone butterfly, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, European Peacock, Chalkhill Blue, Large and Small White. There were numerous moths around – Silver Y, Yponomeuta sp., Garden Carpet, Treble-bar.

I had planned to head to Devil’s Dyke after walking Fleam Dyke for more “Chalks”, but changed my mind as it clouded over. I learned later from the Cambs & Essex page that someone had spotted a solitary Adonis Blue there, which would’ve been a new species to me. Ah well.

Social sensitivities could make us cancel the Gypsy Moth

In the US and elsewhere, there’s been a call to give many plants and animals new vernacular names because their well-known common names contain terms and words considered inappropriate. The Gypsy Moth, Lymantria dispar, is a case in point.

L. dispar was, according to the UK Moths website, “a common species in the East Anglian and southern fens” in the early 1800s, a century later it was extinct as a breeding species here. Meanwhile, having been introduced to North America in 1869 it has spread there and become a larval pest of deciduous trees. It is already more properly known as the LDD Moth in North America, for the extant sub-species there Lymantria dispar dispar.

Back in Old Blighty, the species had somewhat recovered in London by 1995 and has spread across its old stamping grounds. I saw my first male L. dispar to the actinic light on the night of the 5th August 2020, only my third season of mothing. On the almost balmy night of 22nd August 2021, there were three males in the garden. Incidentally, the females are larger and bulkier than the males and mostly white. The larvae are tiny and can disperse readily on a breath of wind.

The term “Gypsy” (more commonly Gipsy in English until recently) originated in the early 17th Century and derives from gypcian, a Middle English dialectic word meaning “Egyptian“. Of course, the Roma to whom the term has pejoratively and inappropriately been applied were of Indian ancestry rather than North African. The term is generally considered offensive when referring to itinerant ethnic groups and so there is a pressing need to find new names for a range of plants and animals – Gypsy Wort, Gypsy Ant, and, of course, the Gypsy Moth.

I wonder whether the entomologists would consider calling L. dispar the “Dusky Underwing”. I don’t think that name has been used for another member of the Lepidoptera. The male of the species has a passing resemblance to the Catocala species, such as the Red Underwing and the Dark Crimson Underwing at least while their hindwings are not exposed. And, there are many other unrelated “underwing” moths, such as the various and diverse yellow underwings, orange underwing, straw underwing and the black underwing (now usually known as the Old Lady and previously the Grave Brocade). #TeamMoth #MothsMatter

Forgive me, I thought I was writing a new blog article but when I looked at the one I did when I saw L. dispar in the garden for the first time in 2020, I seem to have repeated myself.

Wheatears have nothing to do with ears of wheat, they just have a white rump

The Wheatears are on the move, there were a couple of females that took a pitstop along the Cottenham Lode on the outskirts of our village while on passage south. They were first spotted on 18th August by friend Josh C, and Mrs Sciencebase and myself saw them on the 21st, although it was drizzly so I wasn’t carrying my camera. Here’s a male I snapped in May 2017 in Aldeburgh. Suffolk, Le Cul-blanc.

By the way, the name Wheatear has nothing to do with wheat, ears, nor ears of wheat, even. It’s from the 16th Century name meaning “white arse” as the bird famously has a white rump. The French call it the Cul-blanc. They used to be caught and roasted as seaside snacks on the South Coast in the 1700s. Apparently, half a million every year. I think I’ve seen fewer than a dozen in my whole life…but imagine a time when a bird that seems fairly rare was so abundant…makes you wonder where they all went…ah.

Find out what new moths I have mostly been discovering in my garden this year

I have been mothing in earnest since the summer of 2018 and have seen and photographed almost 400 species in that time. It feels like a lot, but there are some 1800 or so species we might see in The British Isles, although not all of them will be present in a Cambridgeshire garden.

Buff Arches was new in the garden in 2019

I keep a detailed record of what I see and report into the County Moth Recorder at the end of the season. Usually, there are a few new species to add to the growing list each year. 2021 does not feel like the numbers nor diversity have been as high as they were in the previous three seasons, but I have noted several new and interesting species attracted to the actinic light of the scientific moth trap and to pheromone lures (previously, I used a lure for the Emperor moth, but this year, bought a set of lures for Clearwing moths and the Hornet moth, and was successful with several of those species.

      1. Agonopterix purpurea (Haworth, 1811) (MYO lure)
      2. Argyresthia curvella (Linnaeus, 1761)
      3. Yellow Belle (Aspitates ochrearia, Rossi, 1794)
      4. Toadflax Brocade (Calophasia lunula, Hufnagel, 1766)
      5. Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata, Scopoli, 1763)
      6. Yellow Oak Button (Aleimma loeflingiana, Linnaeus, 1758)
      7. Currant Clearwing (Synanthedon tipuliformis, Clerck, 1759)
      8. Orange-tailed Clearwing (Synanthedon andrenaeformis)
      9. Raspberry Clearwing (Pennisetia hylaeiformis, Laspeyres, 1801)
      10. Red-belted Clearwing (Synanthedon myopaeformis, Borkhausen, 1789)
      11. Red-tipped Clearwing (Synanthedon formicaeformis, Esper, 1782)
      12. Yellow-legged Clearwing (Synanthedon vespiformis,  Linnaeus, 1761)
      13. Downland Conch (Aethes tesserana, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
      14. Buff Cosmet (Mompha ochraceella, Curtis, 1839)
      15. Ephestia sp.
      16. Four-dotted Footman (Cybosia mesomella) – Monk’s Wood
      17. Helcystogramma rufescens (Haworth, 1828)
      18. Rosy-striped Knot-horn (Oncocera semirubella) – Cherry Hinton
      19. Leek Moth (Acrolepiopsis assectella, Zeller, 1839)
      20. White-backed Marble (Hedya salicella, Linnaeus, 1758)
      21. Dewick’s Plusia (Macdunnoughia confusa, Stephens, 1850)
      22. Mottled Pug (Eupithecia exiguata, Hübner, 1813)
      23. Plain Pug (Eupithecia simpliciata, Haworth, 1809)
      24. The Satellite (Eupsilia transversa, Hufnagel, 1766)
      25. Scarce Silver-lines (Bena bicolorana, Fuessly, 1775)
      26. Buttoned Snout (Hypena rostralis, Linnaeus, 1758)
      27. Grey Tortrix (Cnephasia stephensiana, Doubleday,[1849)
      28. Dark Umber (Philereme transversata, Hufnagel, 1767)
      29. Tawny-barred Angle (Macaria liturata, Clerck, 1759)
      30. Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi, Vieweg, 1790)

Take a look at the unexpected beauty of moths

Regular readers will hopefully be well aware by now that I got bitten by the mothing bug three years ago. Mrs Sciencebase spotted an enormous Copper Underwing in the garden and we were both fascinated by its size and its markings.

Poplar Hawk-moth

A friend in the village had previously offered to lend me his scientific moth trap with its UV tube and so I gave him a call and he said he would set it up that night in his garden. I could come to see what had turned up the next morning (24th July 2018). There were lots of moths in there with some weird and wonderful names – Angle Shades, Poplar Hawk-moth, Willow Beauty, Dark Arches, Burnished Brass, Ruby Tiger, Buff Ermine…the list goes on.

Elephant Hawk-moth

I was hooked and took the trap home and have been “lighting up” ever since. My “tick list” is fast approaching 400 moth species. I’ve photographed them all at least once and some of them several times. You can see my latest moth photos on the Sciencebase Instagram along with my other nature photos and other stuff. My ticklist is on my Imaging Storm website along with an archive of the Lepidoptera photos.

Six-spot Burnet

They do say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but you cannot deny that the insect world is beautiful and nowhere more so, in my opinion than in the realm of the Lepidoptera. Incidentally, butterflies are just one group within Lepidoptera, on the same branch of the family tree as the so-called micro moths, in fact.

Eyed Hawk-moth
Buff Arches
Chinese Character
Yellow-legged Clearwing
Emperor Moth
Gypsy Moth
Clifden Non-pareil

Check out the sciencebase musical Top 10 which goes all the up to 11

A friend suggested that after posting my 9 albums in 9 years update, I should put together a “greatest hits”. I suspect they were being ever so slightly facetious, but I took a look at my BandCamp stats covering all the time I’ve been posting songs there and pulled out a Top 10, so here it is:

  1. The Silent Spring – The amazing Emmazen on backing vocals
  2. Push the Button What if Peter Gabriel did a song about cybersex?
  3. Burning the Candle at Both Ends – Too much, too young, too soon?
  4. In Transition – Are the times a changin’?
  5. Bait and Switch (Mono Stone Remix) – Contrarywise
  6. White Line Warrior (Bradley, Schwaegler & Tropp) – Rush’s Tom Sawyer meets the Digital Man heading home from Bangkok
  7. Who is Really Fooling Who? – If James Taylor had been a gambling man
  8. Escape to the Stars – Featuring Eddie Bryant on saxophone
  9. Time to Unwind (It’s Over) – At the end of the day…
  10. Complications – Lo-Fi lockdown woes

Of course, this Top 10 goes up to 11 and a track from earlier musical incarnation on BandCamp looks like it did better in terms of streams and downloads than the No. 10 song on this list by a small margin – Golden Light.

Lots of music

Some time between joining a community choir in its opening month more than 14 years ago (September 2007) and helping set up a local “Arts Night” about 9 years ago (April 2012) that ultimately evolved into my gigging band C5, I started writing and recording music in earnest. None of the youthful noodling that led nowhere back when I was a youthful noodler, these were meant to be proper songs and instrumentals with an intro, middle-eight, and a coda. The works.

Well, several years on I seem to have amassed around 200 or so songs and instrumental many of which are on my BandCamp and SoundCloud pages. The BandCamp stuff is under two different names – davebradley and sciencebass, but the SoundCloud stuff is all under the username sciencebase.

I think there are about 135 songs on the 9 collections pictured above…back in the day a 40-minute vinyl album would usually have 10 or so tracks (prog rock excepted), so I reckon some of these are double albums, and that older “If at First…” album (the spider’s web one) which has 29 songs is a triple album!

If you’ve been to any of my solo gigs, the CCC Arts Nights, or even early C5 gigs you may well have heard a few of these songs live, among the ones from the collections that I remember singing in a pub, at a party, in a community hall, festival, or other venue are: Winter Warmer, Sunny Days and Rainbows, White Whine (First World Problems), Bedding Down the Roses, Too Old to Die Young, Grace, Give My Love to the Waves, Bridges (Crossed and Burned), It’s Never Too Cold to Snow, Christmas Present, Burning the Candle at Both Ends, The Mighty Fall, Wild Honeysuckle, The Silent Spring, Turncoats, Burning Out etc etc

Obviously, none of the Lockdown LP nor the After the Lockdown songs have had a live airing. Moreover, while some of these songs fit the C5 format of – lead vocal, acoustic and electric guitar, drums and bass, and backing vox, it’s been a long time since the band ran through any of my material and we’ve not had a chance to rehearse the party cover songs we do ready for upcoming autumnal gigs, so it may be some time before they get that live treatment.

UPDATE: As of, 12 Nov 2021, I have written four new tunes since late September 2021, that are now part of my Lifelines EP.

Lifelines EP artwork associated with four new songs from 雷竞技官网
Lifelines EP

…of all the Leps I’ve photographed

My Mothematics Gallery can be found on my Imaging Storm photography site along with other invertebrates, flora and fauna, etc. I’ve written about several of the species I’ve seen for various outlets, but haven’t yet got around to adding all of the links to this list #bearwith


  1. Aethes francilana/beatricella (Walsingham, 1898/Fabricius, 1794)
  2. Agapeta hamana (Linnaeus, 1758)
  3. Agonopterix heracliana-ciliella agg NFM 2020
  4. Agonopterix purpurea (Haworth, 1811) NFM 2021 (MYO lure)
  5. Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa, Linnaeus, 1758)
  6. Arches, Buff (Habrosyne pyritoides, Hufnagel, 1766)
  7. Arches, Dark (Apamea monoglypha, Hufnagel, 1766)
  8. Arches, Least Black (Nola confusalis, Herrich-Schaeffer, 1847)
  9. Arches, Light (Apamea lithoxylaea, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  10. Argyresthia curvella (Linnaeus, 1761) NFM 2021
  11. Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata, Borkhausen, 1794)
  12. Barred Marble (Celypha striana, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  13. Beauty, Brindled (Lycia hirtaria, Clerck, 1759) NFM 2020
  14. Beauty, Lilac (Apeira syringaria, Linnaeus, 1758)
  15. Beauty, Marbled (Bryophila domestica, Hufnagel, 1766)
  16. Beauty, Mottled (Alcis repandata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  17. Beauty, Oak (Biston strataria, Hufnagel, 1767)
  18. Beauty, Pale Brindled (Phigalia pilosaria, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  19. Beauty, Tree-lichen (Cryphia algae, Fabricius, 1775)
  20. Beauty, Willow (Peribatodes rhomboidaria, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  21. Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella, Linnaeus, 1758)
  22. Bell, Two-coloured (Eucosma obumbratana, Lienig & Zeller, 1846) NFM 2020
  23. Blood-vein (Timandra comae, Schmidt, 1931)
  24. Blood-vein, Small (Scopula imitaria, Huebner, 1799)
  25. Bluebell Shade (Eana incanana, Stephens, 1852)
  26. Border, Clouded (Lomaspilis marginata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  27. Border, Dotted (Agriopis marginaria, Fabricius, 1776)
  28. Box-tree Moth (Cydalima perspectalis, Walker, 1859)
  29. Bramble Shoot Moth (Notocelia uddmanniana, Linnaeus, 1758)
  30. Brick, The (Agrochola circellaris, Hufnagel, 1766)
  31. Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea, Linnaeus, 1758)
  32. Brimstone (Opisthograptis luteolata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  33. Brindle, Clouded (Apamea epomidion, Haworth, 1809) NFM 2020
  34. Brindle, Small Clouded (Apamea unanimis, Huebner, 1813)
  35. Brindle, Yellow-barred (Acasis viretata, Huebnerr, 1799)
  36. Brindled Green (Dryobotodes eremita, Fabricius, 1775)
  37. Brocade, Dusky (Apamea remissa, Huebner, 1809)
  38. Brocade, Light (Lacanobia w-latinum, Hufnagel, 1766)
  39. Brocade, Toadflax (Calophasia lunula, Hufnagel, 1766) – larva and adult NFM 2021
  40. Brown-line Bright-eye (Mythimna conigera, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  41. Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata, Scopoli, 1763) NFM 2021
  42. Brown-tail (Euproctis chrysorrhoea, Linnaeus, 1758)
  43. Buff-tip (Phalera bucephala, Linnaeus, 1758)
  44. Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica, Linnaeus, 1758)
  45. Burnet, Five-spot (Zygaena trifolii, Esper, 1783)
  46. Burnet, Six-spot (Zygaena filipendulae, Linnaeus, 1758) (pre-trap)
  47. Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis, Linnaeus, 1758)
  48. Button, Maple (Acleris forsskaleana)
  49. Button, Tufted (Acleris cristana, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  50. Button, Yellow Oak (Aleimma loeflingiana, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2021
  51. Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae, Linnaeus, 1758)
  52. Campion, The (Sideridis rivularis, Fabricius, 1775) NFM 2020
  53. Carpet, Common (Epirrhoe alternata, O. F. Mueller, 1764)
  54. Carpet, Common Marbled (Dysstroma truncata, Hufnagel, 1767)
  55. Carpet, Garden (Xanthorhoe fluctuata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  56. Carpet, Large Twin-spot (Xanthorhoe quadrifasiata, Clerck, 1759)
  57. Carpet, Least (Idaea rusticata, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  58. Carpet, Red-green (Chloroclysta siterata, Hufnagel, 1767)
  59. Carpet, Red Twin-spot (Xanthorhoe spadicearia, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  60. Carpet, Scorched (Ligdia adustata)
  61. Carpet, Silver-ground (Xanthorhoe montanata, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  62. Carpet, Spruce (Thera britannica, Turner, 1925)
  63. Case-bearer, Coast Green (Coleophora amethystinella, Ragonot, 1885) NFM 2020
  64. Chestnut, The (Conistra vaccinii)
  65. Chestnut, Beaded (Agrochola lychnidis)
  66. Chestnut, Dark (Conistra ligula)
  67. China-mark, Ringed (Parapoynx stratiotata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  68. China-mark, Small (Cataclysta lemnata)
  69. Chinese Character (Cilix glaucata)
  70. Chocolate Tip (Clostera curtula)
  71. Chrysoteuchia culmella, “Grass Moth” Linnaeus, 1758
  72. Cinnabar, The (Tyria jacobaeae) (pre-trap)
  73. Clay, The (Mythimna ferrago, Fabricius, 1787)
  74. Clearwing, Currant (Synanthedon tipuliformis, Clerck, 1759) NFM 2021
  75. Clearwing, Orange-tailed (Synanthedon andrenaeformis, Laspeyres, 1801) NFM 2021
  76. Clearwing, Raspberry (Pennisetia hylaeiformis, Laspeyres, 1801) NFM 2021
  77. Clearwing, Red-belted (Synanthedon myopaeformis, Borkhausen, 1789) NFM 2021
  78. Clearwing, Red-tipped (Synanthedon formicaeformis, Esper, 1782) NFM 2021
  79. Clearwing, yellow-legged (Synanthedon vespiformis,  Linnaeus, 1761) NFM 2021
  80. Clifden Nonpareil (Catocala fraxini, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2020
  81. Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata)
  82. Clover, Marbled (Heliothis viriplaca, Hufnagel, 1766)
  83. Cnephasia sp. (Grey Tortrix agg.)
  84. Codling Moth (Cydia pomonella, Linnaeus, 1758)
  85. Conch, Black-headed (Cochylis atricapitana)
  86. Conch, Common Yellow (Agapeta hamana)
  87. Conch, Downland (Aethes tesserana, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775) NFM 2021
  88. Conch, Ox-tongue (Cochylis molliculana)
  89. Conch, Rough-winged (Phtheochroa rugosana, Huebner, 1799)
  90. Conch, White-bodied (Cochylis hybridella, Huebner, 1813)
  91. Corn-borer, European (Ostrinia nubilalis, Huebner, 1796)
  92. Coronet, The (Craniophora ligustri, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  93. Coronet, Varied (Hadena compta, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  94. Cosmet, Buff (Mompha ochraceella, Curtis, 1839) NFM 2021
  95. Cream-bordered Green Pea (Earias clorana)
  96. Crescent, The (Helotropha leucostigma, Huebner, 1808)
  97. Crescent, Green-brindled (Allophyes oxyacanthae)
  98. Dagger, Grey/Dark (Acronicta psi/tridens)
  99. Dagger, March (Diurnea fagella)
  100. Dart, Deep-brown (Aporophyla lutulenta)
  101. Dart, Garden (Euxoa nigricans, Linnaeus, 1761)
  102. Dart, Shuttle-shaped (Agrotis puta)
  103. Diamondback Moth (Plustella xylostella)
  104. Dowd, Furness (Blastobasis adustella, Walsingham, 1894)
  105. Dowd, Wakely’s (Blastobasis lacticolella, Rebel, 1940)
  106. Drab, Clouded (Orthosia incerta, Hufnagel, 1766)
  107. Dun-bar, The (Cosmia trapezina, Linnaeus, 1758)
  108. Eggar, Oak (Lasiocampa quercus, Linnaeus, 1758)
  109. Elder Pearl (Anania coronata, Hufnagel, 1767)
  110. Emerald, Common (Hemithea aestivaria, Hübner, 1789) NFM 2020
  111. Emerald, Light (Campaea margaritaria)
  112. Emerald, Small (Hemistola chrysoprasaria, Esper, 1795)
  113. Emperor (Saturnia pavonia, Linnaeus, 1758)
  114. Ephestia sp. NFM 2021
  115. Ermine, Apple (Yponomeuta malinellus, Zeller, 1838) larvae 2020
  116. Ermine, Bird-cherry (Yponomeuta evonymella, Linnaeus, 1758)
  117. Ermine agg. (Orchard, Apple or Spindle Ermine)
  118. Ermine, Buff (Spilosoma lutea, Hufnagel, 1766)
  119. Ermine, Thistle (Myelois circumvoluta, Fourcroy, 1785)
  120. Ermine, White (Spilosoma lubricipeda, Linnaeus, 1758)
  121. Esperia sulphurella (Fabricius, 1775)
  122. Fan-foot, The (Herminia tarsipennalis, Treitschke, 1835)
  123. Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis, Linnaeus, 1767) NFM 2020
  124. Flame, The (Axylia putris, Linnaeus, 1761)
  125. Flame, Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta, Linnaeus, 1761)
  126. Flat-body, aggregate (Agonopterix heracliana-ciliella agg.)
  127. Flat-body, Brindled (Agonopterix arenella)
  128. Flat-body, Broom (Agonopterix scopariella)
  129. Flat-body, Brown-spot (Agonopterix alstromeriana, Clerck, 1759)
  130. Flat-body, Coastal (Agonopterix yeatiana, Fabricius, 1781)
  131. Flat-body, Long-horned (Carcina quercana, Fabricius, 1775)
  132. Footman, Buff (Eilema depressa, Esper, 1787)
  133. Footman, Common (Eilema lurideola, Zincken, 1817)
  134. Footman, Dingy (Collita griseola)
  135. Footman, Four-dotted (Cybosia mesomella, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2021 Monk’s Wood
  136. Footman, Orange (Eilema sororcula, Hufnagel, 1766) NFM 2020
  137. Footman, Scarce (Eilema complana, Linnaeus, 1758)
  138. Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775)
  139. Fungus moth (Tinea trinotella) – one of many fungus moths
  140. Garden Pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  141. Gold Spot (Plusia festucae, Linnaeus, 1758)
  142. Gold Triangle (Hypsopygia costalis)
  143. Gothic, Feathered (Tholera decimalis, Poda, 1761)
  144. Grass-veneer, Common (Agriphila tristella)
  145. Grass-veneer, Elbow-striped (Agriphila geniculea, Haworth, 1811)
  146. Grass-veneer, Hook-streak (Crambus lathoniellus, Zincken, 1817)
  147. Grass-veneer, Pearl (Catoptria pinella, Linnaeus, 1758)
  148. Grass-veneer, Satin (Crambus perlella, Scopoli, 1763)
  149. Grass-veneer, Straw (Agriphila straminella, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  150. Grey, Common (Scoparia ambigualis, Treitschke, 1829)
  151. Grey, Early (Xylocampa areola)
  152. Grey, Ground-moss (Eudonia truncicolella)
  153. Grey, Little (Eudonia lacustrata)
  154. Grey, Narrow-winged (Eudonia angustea)
  155. Grey, Poplar (Subacronicta megacephala)
  156. Grey, Small (Eudonia mercurella)
  157. Hawk-moth, Elephant (Deilephila elpenor)
  158. Hawk-moth, Eyed (Smerinthus ocellata))
  159. Hawk-moth, Hummingbird (Macroglossum stellatarum)
  160. Hawk-moth, Lime (Mimas tiliae)
  161. Hawk-moth, Pine (Sphinx pinastri, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2020
  162. Hawk-moth, Poplar (Laothoe populi)
  163. Hawk-moth, Privet (Sphinx ligustri) (pre-trap)
  164. Hawk-moth, Small Elephant (Deilephila porcellus)
  165. Hawthorn moth (Scythropia crataegella, Linnaeus, 1767)
  166. Heart & Club (Agrotis clavis)
  167. Heart & Dart (Agrotis exclamationis)
  168. Heath, Latticed (Chiasmia clathrata)
  169. Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)
  170. Hebrew Character, Setaceous (Xestia c-nigrum)
  171. Helcystogramma rufescens (Haworth, 1828) NFM 2021
  172. Herald, The (Scoliopteryx libatrix, Linnaeus, 1758)
  173. Highflyer, May (Hydriomena impluviata, Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775) NFM 2020
  174. Hook-tip, Beautiful (Laspeyria flexula, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  175. Hook-tip, Oak (Watsonalla binaria, Hufnagel, 1767)
  176. Hook-tip, Pebble (Drepana falcataria)
  177. House Moth, Brown (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  178. House Moth, White-shouldered (Endrosis sarcitrella)
  179. Kitten, Sallow (Furcula furcula)
  180. Knot-grass (Acronicta rumicis, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2020
  181. Knot-horn, Beautiful (Rhodophaea Formosa, Haworth, 1811
  182. Knot-horn, Grey (Acrobasis advenella, Zincken, 1818)
  183. Knot-horn, Rosy-striped (Oncocera semirubella, Scopoli, 1763) NFM 2021 (Chalkpits)
  184. Knot-horn, Tabby (Euzophera pinguis, Haworth, 1811)
  185. Knot-horn, Thicket (Acrobasis suavella)
  186. Knot-horn, Twin-barred (Homoeosoma sinuella, Fabricius, 1794) NFM 2020
  187. Knot-horn, Warted (Acrobasis repandana, Fabricius, 1798) NFM 2020
  188. Lackey, The (Malacosoma neustria, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2020
  189. Large Clothes Moth (Morophaga choragella)
  190. Leek Moth (Acrolepiopsis assectella, Zeller, 1839) NFM 2021
  191. Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)
  192. Long-horn, Brassy (Nemophora metallica, Poda, 1759)
  193. Lozotaenia forsterana (Fabricius, 1781) NFM 2020
  194. Lychnis, The (Hadena bicruris)
  195. Magpie (Abraxas grossulariata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  196. Magpie, Small (Anania hortulata)
  197. Maiden’s Blush (Cyclophora punctaria)
  198. Mallow, The (Larentia clavaria, Haworth, 1809)
  199. Marble, Birch (Argyrotaenia ljungiana)
  200. Marble, Common (Celypha lacunana)
  201. Marble, Diamond-back (Eudemis profundana, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) NFM 2020
  202. Marble, White-backed (Hedya salicella, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2021
  203. March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)
  204. Meal Moth (Pyralis farinalis, Linnaeus, 1758)
  205. Merveille du Jour (Griposia aprilina, Linnaeus, 1758)
  206. Miller, The (Acronicta leporina, Linnaeus, 1758)
  207. Minor, Cloaked (Mesoligia furuncula)
  208. Minor, Tawny/Marbled (agg.) (Oligia latruncula)
  209. Minor, Middle-barred (Oligia fasciuncula, Haworth, 1809)
  210. Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)
  211. Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis, Scopoli, 1763)
  212. Mother Shipton (Euclidia mi, Clerck, 1759)
  213. Mouse Moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis, Clerck, 1759)
  214. Mullein, The (Cucullia verbasci)
  215. Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica)
  216. Nemapogon sp. (agg.)
  217. Nutmeg, The (Anarta trifolii)
  218. Nutmeg, Large (Apamea anceps)
  219. Oak Lantern (Carcina quercana, Fabricius, 1775)
  220. Oegoconia sp. (Haworth, 1828) NFM 2020
  221. Old Lady (Mormo maura, Linnaeus, 1758)
  222. Peacock (Macaria notata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  223. Peacock, Sharp-angled (Macaria alternata, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  224. Pearl, Dusky (Udea prunalis, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  225. Pearl, Elderberry (Phlyctaenia coronata, Hufnagel, 1767)
  226. Pearl, Fenland (Anania perlucidalis, Hübner, 1809)
  227. Pearl, Lesser (Sitochroa verticalis, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2020
  228. Pearl, Olive (Udea olivalis, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  229. Pearl, Rusty Dot (Udea ferrugalis, Hübner, 1796) NFM 2020
  230. Pearl, Straw-barred (Pyrausta despicata, Scopoli, 1763) NFM 2020
  231. Peppered Moth (Biston betularia)
  232. Phoenix, The (Eulithis prunata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  233. Pinion, Brown-spot (Agrochola litura, Linnaeus, 1761)
  234. Pinion, Lunar-spotted (Cosmia pyralina, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  235. Pinion, Pale (Lithophane socia)
  236. Pinion, White-spotted (Cosmia diffinis, Linnaeus, 1767)
  237. Plume, Beautiful (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla)
  238. Plume, Common (Emmelina monodactyla)
  239. Plume, White (Pterophorus pentadactyla, Linnaeus, 1758)
  240. Plusia, Dewick’s (Macdunnoughia confusa, Stephens, 1850) NFM 2021 (also Greece 2019)
  241. Prominent, Coxcomb (Ptilodon capucina)
  242. Prominent, Iron (Notodonta dromedarius)
  243. Prominent, Pale (Pterostoma palpina)
  244. Prominent, Pebble (Notodonta ziczac)
  245. Prominent, Swallow (Pheosia tremula)
  246. Pseudoswammerdamia combinella NFM 2020
  247. Ptycholoma lecheana NFM 2020
  248. Pug, Bordered (Eupithecia succenturiata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  249. Pug, Common (Eupithecia vulgata, Haworth, 1809)
  250. Pug, Currant (Eupithecia assimilata)
  251. Pug, Cypress (Eupithecia phoeniceata, Rambur, 1834)
  252. Pug, Double-striped (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)
  253. Pug, Foxglove (Eupithecia pulchellata, Stephens, 1831)
  254. Pug, Freyer’s (Eupithecia intricata, Zetterstedt, 1839)
  255. Pug, Green (Pasiphila rectangulata)
  256. Pug, Grey (Eupithecia subfuscata)
  257. Pug, Lime-speck (Eupithecia centaureata)
  258. Pug, Mottled (Eupithecia exiguata, Hübner, 1813) NFM 2021
  259. Pug, Plain (Eupithecia simpliciata, Haworth, 1809) NFM 2021
  260. Pug, Wormwood (Eupithecia absinthiata, Clerck, 1759)
  261. Puss Moth (Cerura vinula)
  262. Quaker, Common (Orthosia cerasiu)
  263. Quaker, Powdered (Orthosia gracilis)
  264. Quaker, Red-line (Agrochola lota)
  265. Quaker, Small (Orthosia cruda)
  266. Quaker, Twin-spotted (Anorthoa munda)
  267. Quaker, Yellow-line (Agrochola macilenta)
  268. Ranunculus, Large (Polymixis flavicincta)
  269. Ranunculus, Small (Hecatera dysodea)
  270. Rustic, Black (Aporophyla nigra)
  271. Rustic, Brown (Rusina ferruginea, Esper, 1785) NFM 2020
  272. Rustic, Clancy’s (Caradrina kadenii, Freyer, 1836) NFM 2020
  273. Rustic, Common/Lesser agg. (Mesapamea secalis/didyma)
  274. Rustic, Flounced (Luperina testacea)
  275. Rustic, Light Feathered (Agrotis cinerea)
  276. Rustic, Mottled (Caradrina morpheus)
  277. Rustic, Rosy (Hydraecia micacea)
  278. Rustic, Square-spot (Xestia xanthographa)
  279. Rustic, Vine’s (Hoplodrina ambigua)
  280. Rustic/The Uncertain (Hoplodrina blanda/octogenaria)
  281. Sallow, The (Cirrhia icteritia)
  282. Sallow, Barred (Tiliacea aurago)
  283. Sallow, Centre-barred (Atethmia centrago)
  284. Sallow, Dusky (Eremobia ochroleuca, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  285. Sallow, Pink-barred (Xanthia togata)
  286. Satellite, The (Eupsilia transversa, Hufnagel, 1766) NFM 2021
  287. Scalloped Oak (Crocallis elinguaria, Linnaeus, 1758)
  288. Sciota adelphella
  289. Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria, Linnaeus, 1767)
  290. Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  291. Shark, The (Cucullia umbratica, Linnaeus, 1758)
  292. Shears, Tawny (Hadena perplexa, Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775) NFM 2020
  293. Shears, The (Hada plebeja)
  294. Shoot, Orange-spotted (Rhyacionia pinicolana)
  295. Short-cloaked Moth (Nola cucullatella, Linnaeus, 1758)
  296. Shoulder-knot, Blair’s (Lithophane leautieri)
  297. Shoulder-knot, Rustic (Apamea sordens)
  298. Silver Y (Autographa gamma)
  299. Silver-lines, Green  (Pseudoips prasinana, Linnaeus, 1758)
  300. Silver-lines, Scarce (Bena bicolorana, Fuessly, 1775) NFM 2021
  301. Small Scallop (Idaea emarginata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  302. Snout (Hypena proboscidalis, Linnaeus, 1758)
  303. Snout, Buttoned (Hypena rostralis, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2021
  304. Spectacle, The (Abrostola tripartita)
  305. Spectacle, Dark (Abrostola triplasia, Linnaeus, 1758)
  306. Spinach, The (Eulithis mellinata, Fabricius, 1787)
  307. Spinach, Dark (Pelurga comitata)
  308. Square-spot, Double (Xestia triangulum, Hufnagel, 1766)
  309. Straw, Barred (Gandaritis pyraliata, Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)
  310. Straw, Bordered (Heliothis peltigera, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  311. Straw, Scarce Bordered (Helicoverpa armigera, Hübner, 1808) NFM 2020
  312. Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis)
  313. Streamer, The (Anticlea derivata)
  314. Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria, Linnaeus, 1758)
  315. Swift, Common (Korscheltellus lupulina)
  316. Swift, Orange (Triodia sylvina)
  317. Sword-grass, Dark (Agrotis ipsilon)
  318. Sycamore moth (Acronicta aceris) – caterpillar
  319. Tabby, Double-striped (Hypsopygia glaucinalis, Linnaeus, 1758)
  320. Tabby, Large (Aglossa pinguinalis, Linnaeus, 1758)
  321. Tabby, Rosy (Endotricha flammealis)
  322. Thorn, Canary-shouldered (Ennomus alniaria)
  323. Thorn, Early (Selenia dentaria)
  324. Thorn, Feathered (Colotois pennaria)
  325. Thorn, Purple (Selenia tetralunaria)
  326. Tiger, Jersey (Euplagia quadripunctaria, Poda, 1761)
  327. Tiger, Ruby (Phragmatobia fuliginosa, Linnaeus, 1758)
  328. Tortrix, Dark Fruit-tree (Pandemis heparana, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  329. Tortrix, Dark Strawberry (Celypha lacunana)
  330. Tortrix, Garden Rose (Acleris variegana, Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  331. Tortrix, Grey (Cnephasia stephensiana, Doubleday,[1849) NFM 2021
  332. Tortrix, Large Fruit-tree, male (Archips podana, Scopoli, 1763)
  333. Tortrix, Red-barred (Ditula angustiorana, Haworth, 1811) NFM 2020
  334. Treble-bar (Aplocera plagiata, Linnaeus, 1758)
  335. Treble Brown Spot (Idaea trigeminata)
  336. Treble Lines (Charanyca trigrammica)
  337. Tubic, Golden-brown (Crassa unitella, Hübner, 1796)
  338. Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum)
  339. Tussock, Pale (Calliteara pudibunda)
  340. Tussock, Nut-tree (Colocasia coryli)
  341. Twenty-plume moth (Alucita hexadactyla)
  342. Twist, Orange-pine (Lozotaeniodes formosana)
  343. Twist, Privet (Clepsis consimilana)
  344. Umber, Dark (Philereme transversata, Hufnagel, 1767) NFM 2021
  345. Umber, Mottled (Erannis defoliaria, Clerck, 1759)
  346. Umber, Waved (Menophra abruptaria)
  347. Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow (Noctua fimbriata, Schreber, 1759)
  348. Underwing, Copper agg. (Amphipyra pyramidea agg.)
  349. Underwing, Dark Crimson (Catocala sponsa, Linnaeus, 1767) NFM 2020
  350. Underwing, Large Yellow (Noctua pronuba)
  351. Underwing, Least Yellow (Noctua interjecta, Hübner, 1803)
  352. Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow (Noctua janthe)
  353. Underwing, Lesser Yellow (Noctua comes, Hübner, 1813)
  354. Underwing, Lunar (Omphaloscelis lunosa)
  355. Underwing, Red (Catocala nupta, Linnaeus, 1767)
  356. Underwing, Straw (Thalpophila matura, Hufnagel, 1766)
  357. Vapourer, The (Orgyia antiqua)
  358. Wainscot Smudge (Ypsolopha scabrella, Linnaeus, 1761)
  359. Wainscot, Bulrush (Nonagria typhae, Thunberg, 1784)
  360. Wainscot, Common (Mythimna pallens)
  361. Wainscot, Large (Rhizedra lutosa)
  362. Wainscot, Smoky (Mythimna impura, Hübner, 1808)
  363. Wainscot, Twin-spotted (Lenisa geminipuncta, Haworth, 1809)
  364. Wainscot, Webb’s (Globia sparganii, Esper, 1789)
  365. Water-veneer, Pale (Donacaula forficella, Thunberg, 1794)
  366. Wave, Common White (Cabera pusaria, Linnaeus, 1758)
  367. Wave, Dwarf Cream (Idaea fuscovenosa, Goeze, 1781)
  368. Wave, Riband (Idaea aversata and ab remutata)
  369. Wave, Satin (Idaea subsericeata, Haworth, 1809)
  370. Wave, Single-dotted (Idaea dimidiata, Hufnagel, 1767)
  371. Wave, Small Dusty (Idaea seriata)
  372. Waved Black (Parascotia fuliginaria)
  373. Wax Moth (Galleria mellonella)
  374. Webber, Juniper (Dichomeris marginella, Fabricius, 1781) NFM 2020
  375. White Satin Moth (Leucoma salicis, Linnaeus, 1758)
  376. White, Bordered (Bupalus piniaria, Linnaeus, 1758)
  377. White, Broad-barred (Hecatera bicolorata, Hufnagel, 1766)
  378. White-point (Mythimna albipuncta)
  379. Willow, Pale Mottled (Caradrina clavipalpis)
  380. Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata)
  381. Yellow-faced Bell (Notocelia cynosbatella)
  382. Yellow Horned (Achlya flavicornis)
  383. Yellow, Barred (Cidaria fulvata, Forster, 1771)
  384. Yellow Conch, Common (Agapeta hamana, Linnaeus, 1758)
  385. Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata)
  386. Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis, Fuessly,1775)

Butterflies are all moths, simply a grouping within Lepidoptera

  1. Argus, Brown (Aricia agestis, Denis & Schiffermueller, 1775) NFM 2020 Church Lane, Cottenham
  2. Blue, Chalkhill NFM2021 Devil’s Dyke, Cambs
  3. Blue, Common (Polyommatus icarus, Rottemburg, 1775)
  4. Blue, Holly (Celastrina argiolus, Linnaeus, 1758)
  5. Blue, Long-tailed NFM 2019 Cottenham and then Greece
  6. Blue, Northern (Plebejus idas, Linnaeus, 1761) – NFM 2018 Germany
  7. Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni, Linnaeus, 1758)
  8. Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) NFM 2020 Waresley Wood
  9. Comma (Polygonia c-album, Linnaeus, 1758)
  10. Copper, Small (Lycaena phlaeas, Linnaeus, 1761) NFM 2018 Norfolk
  11. Emperor, Purple NFM2021 Woodwalton Fen
  12. European Peacock (Aglais io, Linnaeus, 1758)
  13. Fritillary, Silver-washed (Argynnis paphia, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM 2020 Hayley Wood
  14. Fritillary, Dark Green NFM2021 Devil’s Dyke, Cambs
  15. Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus, Linnaeus, 1758)
  16. Hairstreak, Green (Callophrys rubi, Linnaeus, 1758) NFM2021 Les King Wood, Cottenham
  17. Hairstreak, Purple NFM2021 Woodwalton Fen
  18. Hairstreak, White Letter NFM2021 Overhall Grove
  19. Heath, Small (Coenonympha pamphilus, Linnaeus, 1758)
  20. Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina, Linnaeus, 1758)
  21. Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines, Linnaeus, 1758)
  22. Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, Linnaeus, 1758)
  23. Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus, Linnaeus, 1758)
  24. Skipper, Essex NFM 2020 Church Lane, Cottenham
  25. Skipper, Large (Ochlodes sylvanus, Esper, 1777)
  26. Skipper, Small (Thymelicus sylvestris, Poda, 1761)
  27. Tortoiseshell, Small (Aglais urticae, Linnaeus, 1758)
  28. Two-tailed Pasha NFM 2019 Greece
  29. Speckled Brown (Pararge aegeria, Linnaeus, 1758)
  30. Swallowtail (Papilio machaon, Linnaeus, 1758) – France
  31. Swallowtail, Scarce – Greece
  32. White, Green-veined (Pieris napi, Linnaeus, 1758)
  33. White, Large (Pieris brassicae, Linnaeus, 1758)
  34. White, Marbled (Melanargia galathea, Linnaeus, 1758)
  35. White, Small (Pieris rapae, Linnaeus, 1758)

Incidentally, the title of this blog post was alluding to the 1975 song by Hal David (words) and Albert Hammond (music) – To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before – from Hammond’s album of that year 99 Miles from L.A. You might also know it from the 1984 cover version by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson.

Toadflax Brocade moth

As the name of the Toadflax Brocade moth might suggest, its purported larval foodplant is toadflax, which could one of dozens of Linaria plant species. The “brocade” refers to the patterning on the wings of the moth, which might to a fanciful entomologist remind one of a heavy fabric interwoven with a rich, raised design.

Toadflax Brocade, the blur of the wings down to it vibrating them pre-flight

Anyway, we saw a solitary larva of this species on our garden waste bin a couple of years ago, I blogged it at the time. Two summers later and an adult finally made an appearance in the scientific trap last night, drawn to the 40 Watt actinic UV tube. There were a few dozen other moths in the trap, all ones that have put in several appearances over the summer weeks. It’s been a mad year in this part of Vice County 29, far fewer moths seen in far lower numbers than in the heady days of the summer of 2019.

Toadflax Brocade moth

That was my first full season with the trap and one sultry night had almost 500 specimens of more than 100 species to count and catalogue before freeing into the undergrowth some way away from the trap site. At the time of writing, 25 species new for the garden so far in 2021. There’s still plenty of time for something special to arrive, still hoping to see December Moths later in the year, of course!

Larva next to purple toadflax

According to the UK Moths site: “As a resident species, this moth is restricted to the south-east and central southern coasts of England, where it frequents mainly shingle beaches. It is a relatively recent colonist, arriving around 1950 and quickly gaining a foothold, but appears to be now in decline again.”

Purple Toadflax

Its scientific name is Calophasia lunula which hints at a heat phase and perhaps the moon-like quality of some of its wing marking…but that’s just a guess and Peter Marren doesn’t seem to mention the scientific binomial in his excellent book Emperors, Admirals & Chimney Sweepers. Actually, I recall now, a lunula is a crescent moon marking, like the white at the base of one’s fingernails. Also refers to a Bronze Age necklace.

Yellow Toadflax, also known as Butter & Eggs