Thursday, 23 July 2015

Hoary Footman - Darley Dale

Simon Roddis trapped this moth a couple of evenings ago in Darley Dale. As far as I am aware this would be a first record for the county of Derbyshire so the record is only provisional at the moment. 
The identification of the footman is not straightforward as there are a number of similar species, the most likely confusion species with Hoary is the Scarce Footman (search the blog for photos) which, despite the name is regularly recorded in the area.
What struck both Simon and I when we saw the moth was the pale colouration, the slightly smaller size, compared to both Scarce and Common, and the absence of a contrasting orangey/yellow leading edge to the wing. The moth is rather worn so there is a need for caution, both in judging the colour of the upper parts and in the absence of the costal band but having caught quite a few worn Scarce Footman I have never seen one like this. 
Simon photographed the hindwing and you can see this on his Twitter site

Hoary Footman
Hoary Footman distribution c. NBN Gateway

The published distribution of the Hoary Footman on the NBN Gateway is largely coastal and restricted to the SE and SW with a scattering of records from the Welsh coast and the Lake District.
Interestingly there have been recent records from the Leicestershire & Rutland recording area where the status of Hoary Footman is given as uncommon with a comment that some prior records of Scarce Footman may have actually been Hoary.
We'll have to wait and see if the record is accepted as Hoary Footman by the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society but I'm happy to leave it labelled as such pending any decision by that Society.

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