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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

10 January, 2017

Mythimna comma: the shoulder-striped wainscot

This nocturnal species of moth, the shoulder-striped wainscot (Mythimna comma) inhabits damp, grassy places including commons and heath. It is not surprising, then, that they turn up in my moth trap as I live near Wareham Common which is certainly a damp, grassy place!
There are several similar species of moth all known as wainscots which are, in part, distinguishable by there furry, domed heads. The shoulder-striped wainscot has a darker grey colouring to the forewings than its relatives and has streaks running down them including a prominent dark stripe and that, of course, gives it its name. Flying in June and July it lays its eggs on various species of grass and the larvae hatch and overwinter as larvae in a cocoon.
The origin of the shoulder-strip name is obvious from the wing patterns but I was intrigued by wainscot. A wainscot is an area of wooden panelling in a house and I am still wondering how the two are connected, if they are connected at all of course.
Mythimna comma: the shoulder-striped wainscot