Green Elfcup Fungus and Colour Variations in the Lunar Underwing Moth

Hi all!

As some of you may know I have recently completed a MSc in Species Identification and Survey Skills. At the moment I am filling my spare time with habitat management based volunteer work – super excited to be starting at London Wetland Centre next week!

I also joined Natures Gym earlier this week for a couple of sessions thinning and removing scrub and clearing green waste at Crane Park. During the Monday session we came across this funky looking blue fungus:


Green elfcup fungus Chlorociboria – either C. aeruginascens or C. aeruginosa; apparently microscopic examination is needed to tell the difference between these two species! Although C. aeruginosa is the rarer of the two.

It’s common to see blue stained wood caused by the mycelium of these species, but not so common to come across the fruiting body so this was a good find!  Can’t say we were looking out for it (or even knew what is was when we found it!) but still pretty cool!

Mycelium is the main part of a mushroom consisting of thread like tissue (called hyphae) that run underground or, as in this case, through dead wood; what we see on the surface is just the fruiting body!

Fascinating to think there’s a whole other world of life going on beneath our feet!

Anyway, I also wanted to share a few recent moths from the trap and look at the different colour variations of the Lunar underwing:


Lunar Underwing

Lunar Underwing

Luner Underwing

As you can see individuals vary from light creamy yellows to dark orangey browns. The darker ones are particularly stunning as the pale veins and cross-lines contrast beautifully with the darker background.

I’ve been getting quite a few of these guys lately but the variation between individuals make it just as exciting as getting a different species!

I also wanted to share a few micro moths; Originally I found the thought of identifying micros a bit daunting but actually they are not too difficult and are just as stunning as the big guys! Must purchase this book!

Garden Rose Tortrix

Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana

Light Brown Apple Moth

Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana 

Tachystola acroxantha

Tachystola acroxantha – this one doesn’t have a common name! Tiny but beautiful – love the flame orange tipped wings! 


2 thoughts on “Green Elfcup Fungus and Colour Variations in the Lunar Underwing Moth

  1. Really enjoyed reading that, thanks very much. Only just started my own blog a couple of days ago and glad that it led me here. Great to see someone else enjoying the wildife that can be found in London!

    • Thanks so glad you liked it! I only started about 3 weeks a go myself. Just had a peak at yours, love the cover photo and great to see another Londoner in to moths! I was lucky enough to see a September and an Early thorn on a moth course in Bushy Park back in August, they are lovely! Would be great to get one in the garden, would probably need a MV light for that though rather than my slightly pathetic actinic!

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