I have to admit to a wry smile when reading Gavin Haig's assessment of moth id being "an art, not a science" . He was alluding to the minefield that is Pug identification but, in fairness, his statement could equally be applied the whole spectrum of micro moth challenges. Ever since my renewed interest in garden mothing, I have striven to push the boundaries of my macro photography techniques. At present I've settled on using a 28mm extension tube in conjunction with a Canon 70 - 210 mm lens with my EOS 400D body. Results are still varied but, as I play around with the settings, certainly showing signs that I'm moving in the right direction.
|Twin-barred Knot-horn (Homoeosoma sinuella)|
|Knapweed Conch (Agapeta zoegana)|
|White-foot Bell (Epiblema foenella)|
I think the perceived issues with many of the id conundrums are because of an inability to see differences due to similarities between many closely related species. I liken it to when I first started to look at birds and struggled to differentiate Chiffchaff from Willow Warbler because I failed to spot specific detail. All I saw was a bird that looked exactly the same as it's cousin! Nearly sixty years after that entry into birding, the species are like chalk and cheese by comparison. Hopefully micro moth id will follow a similar pathway as my experience with the various family groups evolves?
|Marbled Piercer (Cydia splendana)|
|Cherry-bark Tortrix (Enarmonia formosana)|
I've accompanied this post with a bunch of images, taken over the past couple of weeks, attempting to demonstrate the vital role that photography has in my personal involvement with this group of insects.
|Rosy-striped Knot-horn (Oncocera semirubella)|
|Orange Pine Tortrix (Lozotaeniodes formosana)|