Ten common Nottinghamshire moths by month
May sees the number of species on the wing rise yet again, but trap counts rarely reflect this in terms of actual numbers and sometimes, trapping sessions can be disappointing in terms of numbers for the effort put in.

It can seem strange that two hours trapping in March, can produce more moths than four hours trapping in May. Expect more species this month but fewer moths, as May marks a slightly quieter phase before picking up considerably next month.

The first migrant moths (Plutella xylostella and Silver Y) are likely to occur this month and are just as likely to be seen during the day as being trapped at night.

Below are ten species most likely to be recorded at MV light in Nottinghamshire during the month, followed by a selection of other potential species regularly attracted to light and some day-flying moths. Remember that this is just a small selection of the most likely moths to be trapped in May.

49.028 .... B&F 0986 .... Syndemis musculana (Hübner, 1799)
Status .....Certainly a common moth around much of the county, but no doubt under-recorded. Frequent at sites such as Sherwood Forest, Eakring and the Idle Valley NR, but a moth that is probably common in many Nottinghamshire woodlands. Occurs in gardens.
69.001 .... B&F 1979 .... Lime Hawk-moth Mimas tiliae (Linnaeus, 1758)
Status .....Common in Nottinghamshire, with most records occurring in a broad band running the length of the county, west of the River Trent. In suburban Nottingham, newly emerged moths can often be found on the trunks of roadside Lime trees.
70.054 .... B&F 1727 .... Silver-ground Carpet Xanthorhoe montanata ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)
Status .....Often very common along woodland rides, hedgerows etc, where it can be seen flying from dusk onwards. Despite some good populations at many Nottinghamshire sites, this moth is not attracted to MV light in the numbers that may be expected.
70.061 .... B&F 1738 .... Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata (Müller, 1764)
Status .....Widespread and very common throughout Nottinghamshire.
70.100 .... B&F 1776 .... Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria (Knoch, 1781)
Status .....A very common moth throughout Nottinghamshire. Regularly occurs in garden traps.
70.226 .... B&F 1906 .... Brimstone Opisthograptis luteolata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Status .....Common and widespread throughout Nottinghamshire and recorded from all habitat types.
72.015 .... B&F 2028 .... Pale Tussock Calliteara pudibunda (Linnaeus, 1758)
Status .....Common and widespread in Nottinghamshire woodlands. The attractive larva, is often found during the Autumn months when searching for a pupation site.
72.020 .... B&F 2060 .... White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda (Linnaeus, 1758)
Status .....Common and widespread over most of Nottinghamshire.
73.113 .... B&F 2306 .... Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa (Linnaeus, 1758)
Status .....Very common and a widespread moth in Nottinghamshire.
73.329 .... B&F 2102 .... Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta (Linnaeus, 1761)
Status .....A common moth at many Nottinghamshire sites and frequently attracted to MV light traps operated in suburban areas.
Can't find your moth? Some other moths often recorded at MV light during May
The following moths are also likely to occur during the month, although some may be more habitat specific and less likely to be recorded from suburban gardens.

63.064 Scoparia ambigualis

3.002 Common Swift

65.005 Pebble Hook-tip

65.008 Peach Blossom


69.003 Poplar Hawk-moth

69.016 Elephant Hawk-moth

70.029 Blood-vein

70.036 Maiden's Blush


70.132 Rivulet

70.141 Double-striped Pug

70.183 Common Pug

70.222 Brown Silver-line


70.240 Scalloped Hazel

70.257 Waved Umber

70.280 Clouded Silver

71.018 Lesser Swallow Prominent


71.025 Buff-tip

72.019 Buff Ermine

72.024 Ruby Tiger

72.049 Orange Footman


73.359 Setaceous Hebrew Character

74.004 Least Black Arches

Common moths often recorded during the day
The following moths are often encountered during daylight hours during May, but some species such as Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton, fly only during the day and can be found in open, grassy sites.

1.005 Micropterix calthella

7.006 Adela reaumurella

19.007 Glyphipterix simpliciella

28.019 Esperia sulphurella


38.038 Elachista rufocinerea

45.004 Platyptilia gonodactyla

48.001 Anthophila fabriciana

49.325 Cydia ulicetana


72.017 Vapourer

72.031 Cinnabar

72.083 Burnet Companion

72.084 Mother Shipton


73.015 Silver Y

A beginners guide to moths and moth trapping