Thursday 26 March 2015

Summary of my Calgary Backyard Moth Species for 2014

As the 2015 mothing season appears to be just around the corner, he says hopefully, I thought it was about time that I did an end of year summary for 2014…

The macro moth numbers were considerably down when compared to previous years but that is as much due to the number of times that I had the light and bait traps out as to anything else.  With vacations and bad weather I only had the light trap out 3 times in June!

Still the year was not a complete loss. I did record 133 species of macro moths, 7 of which were new records for my backyard.  As usual, these figures do not include a handful of species that I have not yet identified and some micro moths.

The new backyard species were:

Black-rimmed Prominent (Pheosia rimosa)
Leucania insueta
Brother Moth (Raphia frater)
Atlantic Arches Moth (Lacanobia atlantica)
Scripted Arches (Mamestra curialis)
Spruce Cone Looper Moth (Eupithecia mutata)
Spotted Grass Moth (Rivula propinqualis)

This brings my backyard macro moth list to 280.

The following is a summary of my most frequently record backyard moths.  No real surprises here:

Backyard Moths where the numbers counted were greater than 50
Common Name Latin Name Number
Glassy Cutworm Apamea devastator 395
Thoughtful Apamea Apamea cogitata 308
Bristly Cutworm Moth Lacinipolia renigera 160
Olive Arches Lacinipolia olivacea 109
Civil Rustic Moth Platyperigea montana 83
Morrison's Sooty Dart Pseudohermonassa tenuicula 71
Lesser Wainscot Mythimna oxygala 65
Bronzed Cutworm Moth Nephelodes minians 56
Mottled Rustic  Caradrina morpheus 53
Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 53

Once again, a special thanks to Gary Anweiler and anyone else who helped with the ID’s.

The following photographs were taken in the Okanagan, although, I have seen these Sphinx moths in Alberta.



  1. It's too wet in Plymouth for Moths [or so it seems, those that do survive seem happy to dive bomb my bedside lamp and we have nothing close to yours] although we do get plenty of Butterflies in what is politely called Summer, not to mention slugs, consequently stacks of birds, nothing akin to some that you have in Canada. Still, we hold our own. With the Blackbirds, Hedgehogs and the odd Thrush all of whom are reputed for ravaging the slug population, we should expect to have fewer every year. Unfortunately none live up to their reps and so Chris has to resort to other solutions which, predictably fail. Plymouth is the slug capital of Europe.

    Hence, the reason that I'm totally impressed by your back yard, a crop that I'd gladly swap some slugs for. How many would you like and how many of your moths would you be prepared to part with?

    I look forward to seeing what is in the next production of your Blog. Thanks again.

  2. Nice! I bumped into your blog the other day and impressed so far. I have a back log of 40 of so unidentified moths from Alberta and I've checked off 10 of them just by going through your blog.

    Wonder if you could help with an age old query...trying to determine if this is Eupithecia lafontaineata or subfuscata...

    1. Hi Starsong, Eupithecia are a very difficult group so it's hard to be certain but my best guess would subfuscata. To me it looks very close to the photograph on MPG ( and after searching the website it would appear to be a much more common moth in Alberta than lafontaineata. I'll send your image to the Albertaleps group for another opinion.