Thursday 29 February 2024


Not so long ago I didn't know what3words, what it was. Until Nahal pointed out that I had a series of blog titles reminiscent of the apps language. I then found the app and now rather like it, quite handy for telling folk where you are or giving an accurate location. Anyway, today the blog post title is intentional, but it doesn't lead to any particular place via the app, it just refers to an odd coincidence.

Persistent because I've gnawed away at a problem with the county micro-moth list until eventually today I came to a solution. Time because the solution was in 2017. And window because there lies the coincidence.

So here was the problem, a moth called False Codling Moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta. Originally, when going through the county recording sheet for micro-moths I noticed the scientific name was incorrect, the genus wasn't capitalised, so I made a note for the County Lepidoptera Recorder and highlighted the species in the list.

Thaumatotibia leucotreta False Codling Moth.

The CLR then couldn't find the record of the moth. So I embarked on a bit of a search, emailing folk to see if they knew anything about the record. No joy. Finally, I emailed the previous CLR who came back with a bit of a surprising answer, he'd found a photo of the moth in his records, my photo, I'd sent it to him in April 2017. Searching my photos on a backup drive I couldn't find the image, but then I had the bright idea of searching the local insect Facebook Group. And out popped the answer. The story of how I'd found the moth on the kitchen window, on the inside. I'd misidentified the moth initially, as it isn't in any of the books, it's an adventive, an Afro-tropical species. I'd mis-identified it as Grapholita molesta, another adventive; my photos were still named as that, which is why I couldn't find them. Now, at the time I was working, so distracted by the hum-drum of the job and not knowing the rarity of the find, I'd included the moth in a blog post and then forgotten all about it. The CLR of the time had somehow mislaid the record between correctly identifying it and writing the annual report, although he had entered it on the recording sheet.

Thaumatotibia leucotreta False Codling Moth, 9mm forewing.

Now, the window that I'd found the moth on is by our pantry, and in our pantry there are always peppers, chillis and oranges, the food stuff for Thaumatotibia leucotreta. This moth was just the second Scottish record of this species. Oddly, the window the moth was found on has a radiator underneath it, on which I found the first Scottish record of Blair's Mocha Cyclophora punctaria. Coupled with the slight embarrassment of forgetting about finding this rare moth, there is now the odd coincidence of where it was found. A hot spot for finding rare moths for Scotland is inside our kitchen by the radiator; that's weird!


Nick Carter said...

Great story! Love it.

Alastair said...

...bit embarrassing really, having wittered on about the moth and then discovered it was mine and I'd forgotten about it...

Nahal said...

That's amazing. I can only guess at your consternation when you were told it was YOUR record! Is it possible to SSSI a radiator?!

Alastair said...

Trouble with getting old, memory is not what it was, I don't usually forget an interesting species though. I blame that activity called work, which thankfully I no longer do, far too much time spent doing that.