Monday 30 January 2017

Moth Mondays - A hunk of Burnished Brass... twice


The Burnished Brass
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Genus:  Diachrysia
Species:  D. chrysitis
Binomial name
Diachrysia chrysitis


The Burnished Brass
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuidae
Genus:  Diachrysia
Species:  D. chrysitis
Binomial name
Diachrysia stenochrysis
Diachrysia tutti
Phytometra stenochrysis
Plusia tutti
Phytometra multauri

We've had  the Burnished Brass [ Diachrysia chrysitis or D. stenochrysis] le Vert-Doré or le Plusie confluente in the trap twice this year... at first I thought these two were grossly different species...
the first was caught in the moth trap on the 23rd June 2016....
the second was caught in the moth trap on the 12th September 2016....
now Chinnery only shows the first form....and the second form is quite close to the Slender Burnished Brass and I'd put it down as that.
BUT... I was wrong... it is Tutt's Burnished Brass [Diachrysia chrysitis ab.juncta]... a variation on the Burnished Brass....

BUT....BUT.... I am now very confused and confumbled... the two moths look very different and the French class them as different species... but the British book "Concise Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland" have them as two forms of the same species... and the edition I have is the 2014 reprint of the 2007 edition

The two forms are a brown Noctuid type moth with outstanding metallic patches on the wings.... as are the Slender and the Scarce... the French name of le Vert-Doré describes the first form perfectly... as you can see from the top picture... a brassy green-gold.

The second form, however, is very golden in most cases... a most striking moth indeed...
BUT... under D.chrysitis in the Wiki is also a form aurea... which, from the description sounds like Tutt's... and two other forms...
The entry for D. stenochrysis is a "stub" and adds little to the argument...

This picture shown here with permission of Paul Kitchener doesn't help me at all....

You will see from this picture....
that the one on the right has pale brown wing areas.. and greeny-gold areas...
whilst the left one has much more chocolately brown area... with a wonderful gold.

Paul has supplied pictures to UK Moths... where ONLY this form is shown... but not classed as Tutt's at all.

This is what the Wiki [usually good on moths] says...
in the ab. juncta [Tutt] the median fascia is more or less widely broken in the middle, the two brassy green areas becoming confluent; in ab. aurea [Huene] the green is deep golden, with the golden bands confluent;
So, based on that, the above moths are Tutt's on the right and the aurea form on the left...
confused yet... I am!!

Whilst you try and sort that out I will tell you that this wonderful moth occurs... in the various forms... right across the Palearctic from Spain and France to Japan... but not the Greek Islands.

The hind wing is a milk chocolatey-brown with a paler edge...
The caterpillar is bright green... with white stripes along the back and sides... the one above the legs being the most visible... and it feeds on nettles, labiates and thistles.

This is the same moth as the first... D. chrysitis
The first is a somewhat blurred picture... but it was at 6.40am!!
This is a better one... but it doesn't show the metallised areas as well...
In the first picture you can see the front one is distinctly metallic as well as greenish.

This is the second form... possibly D. stenochrysis... or D.c. ab. aurea...or Tutt's??
This shows the metallised areas very well... but I am still not quite right.

Next Monday... the Buff Tip

NB: The information from the other sources is now placed at the bottom of the post.

Other than Wikipedia.... and personal observations!
Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa [ also known as]
A superbly illustrated site.... marvellous on the Micromoths...
but difficult to use on a tablet/iPad.... an awful lot of scrolling needed.   An excellent resource... with distribution maps

UK Moths This is quite a simple site... but nicely put together.

The German site - For really good samples of photos...
including museum specimens: to use....
Enter the Latin name and then select the Latin name from the list of pages found.
There is probably a lot more on this site... but I don't read [or speak] German!!

From the Wiki:

Diachrysia chrysitis, the burnished brass, is a species of moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in Europe, the Caucasus, Russia, Russian Far East and Siberia. In the south of Europe the range extends to southern Spain, southern Italy and the Balkan peninsula. It is lacking on most of the Greek Islands. In the north it extends into almost to the Arctic circle and far north Russia. In the east the range extends to the Amur region and Japan.

The wingspan is 28–35 mm. The length of the forewings is 16–18 mm. Forewing brassy green; the basal patch and broad median fascia, widening at costa, purplish brown; subterminal line preceded by a shade showing deeper green in certain lights; the terminal area paler brown; the three stigmata with dark outlines; hindwing fuscous with the fringe pale;
in the ab. juncta [Tutt] the median fascia is more or less widely broken in the middle, the two brassy green areas becoming confluent;
in ab. aurea [Huene] the green is deep golden, with the golden bands confluent;
ab. disjuncta [Schultz], golden with the bands not confluent;
while in ab. scintillans [Schultz] the bands are dull blue green.

The moth flies from May to October depending on the location.

Larva green, with many fine whitish dorsal lines; sinuous white lines along the sides and a white stripe above the feet. The larvae feed on various herbaceous plants, such as nettle, Lamium, thistles and oregano.

Diachrysia stenochrysis is a species of moth of the Noctuidae family. It is found in Europe, the Caucasus, the Far East, Primorye, Ussuri, Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, Transbaikalia, Siberia and Japan.

The wingspan is 32–34 mm.

The larvae feed on Urtica species and other plants
From UK Moths

Burnished Brass Diachrysia chrysitis
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Wingspan 28-35 mm.

Common over most of the British Isles, this spectacular moth has large areas of metallic colouring on the forewings.

The species is double-brooded, with moths on the wing between June and September.

The larvae feed on plants such as nettle (Urtica dioica), and the species inhabits gardens, waste ground and marshy areas.


Susan said...

A quick twirl around the internet suggests that there is a species complex which includes these two plus D. nadeja, only reliably distinguished by examination of genitalia. I would treat them as separate species, as they are in France, but admit, as you have done, that you are not certain of the precise IDs. You could try getting an opinion off Le Monde des insects. D. stenochrysis is not listed as present in the British Isles on Fauna Europaea, which will be why UK Moths just has one entry, for D. chrysitis only.

Susan said...

Don't worry. Nobody knows the answer to this at the moment. I've just checked Le Monde des Insectes. The difficulty seems to be distinguishing between D. chrysitis ab juncta and D. stenochrysis. They may or may not be different species, and until more is known about them, you'll just have to put up with being confused.

Le Pré de la Forge said...

I'm happy to remain confumbled .... just to have these beauties around is good enough!
Thank you Susan for the haystack dismantling!
No needle.... but quite a large box of crochet hooks!!
The German site also mentions genitalia.... but that was about the only word I got!!