Olav's Wood: Butterflies and moths

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Printable leaflet

Meadow Brown butterflies feeding on
Knapweed in Olav's Wood.
[5th August, 2014]
A female Green-veined White feeding on
Knapweed in Olav's Wood.
[6th August, 2014]
Silver-ground Carpet in the evening
on the road verge near Olav's Wood.
[18th June, 2014]

If you walk through Olav's Wood on a sunny summer's day, you are likely to see several species of butterflies and moths in flight. An evening walk in the warmer months will be rewarded with a variety of moths.

Moths in Olav's Wood

Sydney Gauld (SG), the Butterflies and Moths Recorder for Orkney, kindly supplied a list of moths trapped in Olav's Wood, 9-10th August 2014. Other records have been provided by Lee Johnson (LJ) and Andy Mitchell (AM).

Abraxas grossulariata Magpie Moth *
Acleris aspersana Ginger Button (SG)
Arctia caja Garden Tiger Moth (LJ, Sept. 2015)
Anthophila fabriciana Nettle-tap Moth (LJ, June 2015)
Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches (SG)
Aphelia paleana Timothy Tortrix (LJ, June 2015)
Autographa gamma Silver Y (LJ, June 2015) - A migratory species from southern Europe and north Africa
Cerapteryx graminis Antler Moth (LJ, Aug 2015)
Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet (SG)
Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay (SG)
Epiblema cynosbatella Yellow-faced Bell Moth (LJ, July 2015)
Eulithis testata The Chevron (SG)
Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug (LJ, 28 May 2018)
Glyphipterix simpliciella Cocksfoot Moth (LJ, June 2015)
Gracillaria syringella A leaf-miner moth which feeds on privet and lilac (LJ, June 2016)
Hydraecia micacea Rosy Rustic (SG)
Hydriomena furcata July Highflyer (SG, AM)
Hylaea fasciaria Barred Red (SG)
Laothoe populi Poplar Hawkmoth (LJ, June 2015 and AM)
* Lyonetia clerkella Apple Leaf-miner Moth, recorded on rowan (LJ, 22nd Sept 2018)
Mesapamea secalis Common Rustic (SG)
Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot (SG)
Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (SG)
Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing (SG)
Notodonta ziczac Pebble Prominent (LJ, June 2018)
Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth (LJ, Sept. 2015)
Orgyia antiqua Vapourer Moth (LJ, August 2017)
Perizoma didymata Twin-spot Carpet (SG)
Phragmatobia fuliginosa Ruby Tiger Moth (L, Sept. 2015)
Saturnia pavonia Emperor Moth (LJ, May 2017)
Xanthorhoe decoloraria Red Carpet (SG)
Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet. Common in summer months along paths in the woods, and roadside verges.
Xestia xanthographa Square-spot Rustic (SG)
Zeiraphera griseana Larch Tortrix (SG)

* Magpie moths (Abraxas grossulariata) are abundant in the woodland in the summer months (esp 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017). This species is described as "Rare in Orkney and Shetland, and possibly not resident." (Waring, Townsend and Lewington, Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. Second Edition, 2009). Magpie Moths are now (2016) a resident breeding species in the woods and elsewhere in Orkney (Lee Johnson, see photographs below).

Butterflies in Olav's Wood

Butterflies in the woods recorded by Andy Mitchell:

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Large White Pieris brassicae
Green-veined White Pieris napi
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Peacock Aglais io
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
Red Admiral on Elecampane (LJ, 7th Aug 2018) Common Pug Moth in the woods
(LJ, 29th May 2018 )
The splendidly arrayed Vapourer Moth caterpillar
on Rosa rugosa (Nancy Charlton, 21 July 2018)
Magpie Moths (Abraxas grossulariata)
are abundant in the woods in some years.
(Aug 2015)
Magpie Moth caterpillars in Olav's Wood
(LJ, April 2018)
Pebble Prominent caterpillar in Olav's Wood
(LJ, 21 Aug 2018)
Green-veined White in the woods
(LJ, 17th May 2017)
Poplar Hawkmoth
(LJ, June 2015)
Vapourer Moth eggs laid on a
female's pupal cocoon once she emerges
(LJ, Aug 2017)
Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus)
are seen in and around the woodlands.
This picture of a male on Ragged Robin
was taken on the west coast of South
Ronaldsay where these butterflies are
common in the summer months.
(Aug 2015)
Emperor Moth in the woods
(LJ, 17th May 2017)

Butterflies and moths in Orkney

Orkney has an interesting Lepidoptera fauna (butterflies and moths). There are good resources for investigating this, especially the Lorimer Collection in Stromness Museum, which is available to view by the general public.

Ian Lorimer has also published books on Orcadian Lepidoptera which are available at the museum or for sale online:

  • Lepidoptera of the Orkney Islands, R.I. Lorimer. 1983, E.W. Classey. ISBN: 9780860960171
  • Unfinished Business: A Final Supplement to the Lepidoptera of the Orkney Islands (1983), R.I. Lorimer. 1998. ISBN: 9780860960263

Orkney Library in Kirkwall houses the Orkney Biodiversity Records Centre, which includes material on butterflies and moths of the islands.

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