Saturday, 28 February 2015

Agonopterix heracliana or ciliella ?

Tried the moth trap last night - dry, light wind and a min temperature of 6C - but only two moths. A very nice Hebrew Character and an Agopterix sp. I have this problem every year - is this A. heracliana or A. ciliella ? I have attached a photo taken through the specimen pot of the underside but I'm still not sure about the lines on the cilia ...


  1. Hi Howard.
    You need to look at the lines in the cilia of the hindwing under a hand lens for the answer as it is very hard to see from a photo.

    All the best

  2. Hi Ben
    I did that and saw pretty much what the photo shows - a broad basal line and two fainter ones. I'm looking at the underside - does this matter?

  3. Howard, see this previous blog post from Dave on the subject:

    As yours has 2-3 obvious bands in the cilia I'd say it's ciliella. All the ones I've checked have only had one obvious band so I've recorded them as heracliana.


  4. Yes, this character may not be as reliable as I had thought. I think I'm going to dissect a few this year to check, so yours may need to go down as heracliana/ciliella. That said, I don't think SEWBReCORD accepts that as a name so you may need to enter it as Agonopterix and put heracliana/ciliella in the comments.

  5. I`ve been watching this particular post with interest, as I also had one that was one of these two species on the 26th Feb. Mine had only one band, so I recorded it as heracliana, but I note Dave`s comments. Another Agonopterix resting on a wall yesterday was the easier ocellana!

    1. If it only has one band then it is heracliana - it's when there are more bands that the uncertainty comes in!

  6. I used to check the bands on the upperside of the hindwing - perhaps this is more reliable? The downside, of course, is that to see the hindwing upperside the moth usually has to be killed (unless it can be sedated).

  7. Thanks to all for your comments and advice. For now, if there is a single basal line I will log as A. heracliana and if there are five clear lines I will log as A. ciliella. Anything in between will go down as A. heracliana/ciliella