Ear Moth agg. (Dave Green)

Guide to Difficult Species online


Some larger moths, even common ones found in gardens, are difficult to identify. This book gives naturalists the means to tackle these tricky species.

British and Irish moths: an illustrated guide to selected difficult species (covering the use of genitalia characters and other features) makes available up-to-date information on the identification of difficult macro-moths, beyond what is currently available in the field guides. Written by moth experts Martin Townsend, Jon Clifton and Brian Goodey, and originally published in 2010, 72 larger moth species (plus their subspecies and forms) are included.

Much of the Guide is focussed on genitalia characteristics, although there are discussions of other characteristics such as wing markings (see example pages shown below). It provides the next step for those wishing to make definitive determinations of difficult moths such as ear moths, dark/grey daggers, copper underwings and the November Moth group.

The book itself is out of print and there are no plans to reprint it. However, the full contents are now available online here. 

At the moment the 72 larger moth species (plus their subspecies and forms) from the original publication are included in this online version. Simply click on the species of interest in the table below to view the text, keys and illustrations. The introductory text and how to use the guide can be found here. Details on dissection methods, morphology and the glossary can be found here. The references and further reading can be found here.

Some of the files are quite large and may take several minutes to download. You will need a .pdf viewer to open the files.

Please note that the key and figure relating to female Satin Beauty Deileptenia ribeata (pages 40 & 41) are the corrected versions.

© This online resource is provided for personal use only.

Bradley NumberEuropean ChecklistSpeciesPage
170(4000)Five-spot Burnet Zygaena trifolii18
171(3999)Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae18
1678(8017)Blair's Mocha Cyclophora puppillaria20
1678a(8018)Jersey Mocha Cyclophora ruficiliaria 20
1679(8019)False Mocha Cyclophora porata20
1680(8022)Maiden's Blush Cyclophora punctaria20
1681(8024)Clay Triple-lines Cyclophora linearia20
1724(8252)Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia24
1725(8253)Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata24
1733(8240)Lead Belle Scotopteryx mucronata 26
1734(8241)July Belle Scotopteryx luridata26
1768(8356)Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata28
1769(8358)Spruce Carpet Thera britannica28
1795(8442)November Moth Epirrita dilutata30
1796(8443)Pale November Moth Epirrita christyi30
1797(8444)Autumnal Moth Epirrita autumnata30
1798(8445)Small Autumnal Moth Epirrita filigrammaria30
1867(8620)Treble-bar Aplocera plagiata32
1868(8622)Lesser Treble-bar Aplocera efformata32
1889(7539)Peacock Moth Macaria notata36
1890(7540)Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata36
1937(7754)Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria38
1937a(7762)Feathered Beauty Peribatodes secundaria38
1937b(7765)Lydd Beauty Peribatodes ilicaria38
1940(7775)Satin Beauty Deileptenia ribeata38
1941(7777)Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata38
1947(----)Engrailed Ectropis bistortata42
1948(7796)Small Engrailed Ectropis crepuscularia42
2080(10282)Square-spot Dart Euxoa obelisca44
2081(10280)White-line Dart Euxoa tritici44
2082(10275)Garden Dart Euxoa nigricans44
2083(10284)Coast Dart Euxoa cursoria44
2087(10351)Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum48
2088(10350)Heart & Club Agrotis clavis48
2089(10348)Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis48
2110a(10102)Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing Noctua janthina50
2111(10103)Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing50
2116(10236)Cousin German Protolampra sobrina54
2120(10089)Ingrailed Clay Diarsia mendica54
2123(10093)Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi54
2124(10094)Fen Square-spot Diarsia florida54
2185(10043)Lead-coloured Drab Orthosia populeti58
2188(10037)Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta58
2197(10005)Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea60
2198(10006)Smoky Wainscot Mythimna impura60
2199(10007)Common Wainscot Mythimna pallens60
2200(10008)Mathew’s Wainscot Mythimna favicolor60
2219(9232)Striped Lychnis Shargacucullia lychnitis64
2220(9229)Water Betony Shargacucullia scrophulariae64
2221(9233)Mullein Moth Shargacucullia verbasci64
2283(8776)Dark Dagger Acronicta tridens68
2284(8777)Grey Dagger Acronicta psi68
2297(9307)Copper Underwing Amphipyra pyramidea70
2298(9308)Svensson’s Copper Underwing Amphipyra berbera70
2329(9759)Confused Apamea furva72
2330(9766)Dusky Brocade Apamea remissa72
2337(9780)Marbled Minor Oligia strigilis74
2338(9781)Rufous Minor Oligia versicolor74
2339(9782)Tawny Marbled Minor Oligia latruncula74
2343(9789)Common Rustic Mesapamea secalis76
2343a(9790)Lesser Common Rustic Mesapamea didyma76
2343b(9791)Remm’s Rustic Mesapamea remmi76
2357(9831)Large Ear Amphipoea lucens78
2358(9829)Saltern Ear Amphipoea fucosa78
2359(9832)Crinan Ear Amphipoea crinanensis78
2360(9828)Ear Moth Amphipoea oculea78
2381(9449)Uncertain Hoplodrina alsines82
2382(9450)Rustic Hoplodrina blanda82
2383(9451)Powdered Rustic Hoplodrina superstes82
2384(9454)Vine’s Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua82
2439(9053)Gold Spot Plusia festucae86
2440(9054)Lempke’s Gold Spot Plusia putnami86