To view a list of macro moth species recorded in Caithness in 2012 click on this link: 2012 List

The early Spring was marked by unusually warm weather, with Scotland experiencing record temperatures for March and the warm weather continuing through April. This relatively warm period resulted in the early emergence of many species with a number of species recorded their earliest dates for the County. However, the good start was not to continue and from May onwards the summer and autumn were cool and damp. As a result the opportunities for using light traps were limited and the inclement weather made general field work unproductive. The number of species recorded declined for the second year running.

167 species of macro moth were recorded in the County during 2012, down on the 178 recorded in 2011, well down on the total of 202 in 2010, but comparable to the 2009 total of 166.  2677 records were received from 23 observers, down on the 2011 total of 2908 and substantially down on the 2010 total of 3600.


There were no species of macro moth recorded in Caithness for the first time in 2012.


COMMON SWIFT  Hepialus lupulinus
Two records, both on the 5th July, from ND27 and ND35 were only the 5th and 6th records since 1975

SIX-SPOT BURNET Zygaena filipendulae                   Recorded in ND27
The colony in ND27 appears to be well established and there were records from adjacent sites.  Also coastal records from NC96 and ND 35 and the first inland record from ND15

DRINKER  Euthrix potatoria                                             Recorded in ND05, ND06 and ND14
Following the first records in 2010 and records in 2011 it was recorded in 2012 in ND15 and ND26.  Appears to be well established in the County.

COMMON LUTESTRING  Ochropacha duplaris           Recorded in ND27
Records from ND13 and ND27 indicate that this species if more widely distributed than records suggest

SPINACH   Eulithis mellinata
2nd County record from ND33 following 1st record in ND26 in 2008

BROKEN-BARRED CARPET   Electrophaes corylata
3rd County record since 1975 from ND13

NETTED PUG Eupithecia venosata
A single record from ND13 was the first County record since 1975. It was of the form ochracea found in Orkney and is possible the first record of this form on the Scottish mainland.

WHITE-SPOTTED PUG  Eupithecia tripunctaria           Recorded in ND26
Two records from the same site in ND13 constitute the 4th and 5th County records.

SCARCE UMBER  Agriopis aurantiaria                           Recorded in NC96
Records from ND17 and ND27 were the 3rd and 4th records since 1996. Has now been recorded in the last three years indicated that lack of field work in the main flight period may mean that the species is under recorded.

ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH  Deilephila elpenor                 Recorded in ND06
Four records from two sites in ND16 and ND26 indicate that the species is becoming established in the County following the first record in 2006.

PLAIN CLAY   Eugorisma depuncta
3rd County record from ND03 following the 2nd in 2010 and the 1st in 1991

CABBAGE MOTH   Mamestra brassicae
Two records fro ND16 were only the 3rd and 4th records since 1996. The species appears to have declined significantly since the 1990s.

SHARK  Cucullia umbratica                                                 Recorded in ND26
An exceptional tear with five records, four from ND16 and one from ND26, doubling the number of records for the County. All but one of the records are from July.

NORTHERN ARCHES   Apamea zeta assimilis
4th County record from ND03 . UK status: Na


Thank you to the observers listed below who provided records during 2011 and once again a special thanks to Roy Leverton for his help and support on identification issues.

F Bojda, W Brook, P Castle, P Davey, J Erridge, F Farrow, D Gunn, G Inglis, D Jones, G Jones, M Legg, E Maughan, A McBay, D Money, N Money, A Miller, P Miller, K Munro, D OmandD Tuerlinkx, J Waddell, D Watt, P Wright,