Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing moth, Noctua janthe
Underside of moth, 10x.

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing moth, Noctua jantheI found a dead Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Noctua janthe, lying on the path in the greenhouse this morning and, as I’d plugged in my USB microscope to take a closer look at the fungus I decided to take a few shots of the moth too.

wing scales


The saffron yellow underwings are a striking contrast to the drab upperwings. The border looks as if it has been painted with Impressionist brushstrokes when viewed at 60x.

I suspect that the light blue scales are reflecting daylight from the window.

moth scales, taken at 200x magnification

Zooming in to 200x reveals comb-like ends to the scales.

Coloured scales camouflage the moth when at rest and reveal distracting colours when it is disturbed and it opens its wings. It’s also possible that the coating of scales and the furry edges of the wings help muffle the sound of the moths wingbeats, helping it escape from any bat that hunts by sound alone.

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  1. Brilliant photo shot, I too have a USB micro, and another large light micro permanently set up on my desk. If a bee is found dead on the path, I always take a quick peek with the micro.
    Loved Entomology all my life, just got in with a group that uses moth trapping to record species, moths being a weak area for me until now.
    Kind Regards

    1. My USB microscope only connects with my PC so some day I might get a second to connect with the iMac that I moved onto 18 months ago. It’s going to be a dry night here so I’ll put the trap out again. I’m making progress with the more recognisable moths, for instance the Old Lady last week, but the little brown jobs are still usually staying unidentified or uncertain. But there’s just so much new material that I haven’t had time to go through it all and write it up online or in my sketchbook. It’s opened up a whole new aspect of garden natural history for me.
      Bumble bees shouldn’t be too difficult but I was astonished how many solitary bees there are. There was a funny buzz in the window the other day and just as I released the frantic insect outside I realised that it was a sawfly and that I should have had a go at identifying it. They’re not too difficult.

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