• Wild Shetland Tours

2019 moths

Updated: Aug 1

Moth recording is a big interest of mine. For those who are unaware of this pastime, it involves basically having a big wooden box with a light attached to it; the moths are attracted to the light, and then go into the box and rest on old egg boxes until the morning, when they are identified, counted and released unharmed.


2019 was a reasonable year for moths in Shetland, with a few interesting species recorded throughout the islands. At Bakkasetter, my total for the year was 5,377 individual moths of 65 species, which sounds a lot, but is nothing compared to the numbers recorded further south in Scotland and England. The best moth of the year at Bakkasetter was a small micro moth by the name of Agriphila inquinatella, which was caught on 1st August and confirmed by moth expert Andy Mackay in Leicester as the first record for Shetland (unfortunately I don't have a photo of it!). Some of the other notable moths recorded at Bakkasetter in 2019 are shown below.

Flame Shoulder, 15th June 2019. Once a rare vagrant to Shetland, but now much more regular. This species has more than likely colonised a few areas in south mainland Shetland in recent years (C) Rob Fray

Ghost Moth, 25th June 2019. A common moth, but one of the most spectacular and definitely one of my favourites. This is a female; the males are almost white (C) Rob Fray

Broom Moth, 29th June 2019. A rare migrant to Shetland (C) Rob Fray

Gold Spot, 23rd July 2019. A very attractive resident moth, but only ever recorded in small numbers (C) Rob Fray

Snout, 23rd July 2019. A well-named moth, with a prominent snout! I recall catching Shetland's second or third Snout during the day at Quendale about ten years ago; nowadays, it has colonised much of Shetland, particularly south mainland, and can be found wherever there are nettles. There is a good population in the Bakkasetter area (C) Rob Fray

Straw Dot, 23rd July 2019. A rare vagrant, with maybe less than 20 records in Shetland, but being recorded with more frequency in recent years (C) Rob Fray

Magpie Moth, 24th July 2019. Formerly very rare in Shetland, but now increasing (C) Rob Fray

Chrysoteuchia culmella, 26th July 2019. A scarce immigrant to Shetland (C) Rob Fray

Crescent, 23rd August 2019. An immigrant to Shetland in highly variable numbers; some years there are very few, other years there are large numbers (C) Rob Fray

Brick, 27th September 2019. A rare migrant to Shetland (C) Rob Fray

Large Wainscot, 27th September 2019. Another rare migrant to Shetland (C) Rob Fray

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All photos (c) Rob Fray

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