No spectacular Hawk-moths today, nothing even particularly brightly coloured or intriguing at all…except for this little creamy white one with two distinctive black spots and lots of speckles.
I couldn’t ID it so turned to Twitter and got an identification from lep expert Sean Foote within minutes – Anania perlucidalis (Hübner, 1809) and about the same time by Chris Knott on the Facebook group “Moths UK Flying Tonight“. The species only has an official scientific name, the modern common name is Fenland Pearl, and is not necessarily in the books. In fact, it’s not in my book at all under either name, which is perhaps why I struggled to find it.
According to the UK Moths site, it was first seen in the British Isles on a Huntingdonshire fen, just up the road from us here in Cambridgeshire. It’s a localised species, lives on fenland and coastal parts of East Anglia and the South East of England. The site says little is known about the lifecycle of this species although it is thought that the larvae feed on Cirsium and Carduus thistles. The Wikipedia is very terse but corroborates it as a June-July and August flyer depending on location and that the larvae feed on Cirsium.