Moth observation to check

This record was rejected by irecord as the verifier said it only occurrs in Scotland but the actual observation was from further south

UK Moths (Juniper Carpet | UKmoths) suggests “A scarce species, restricted to a few scattered localities throughout Britain, though it does turn up in gardens where cultivated varieties of juniper are grown.”

Not very helpful not to give you a revised ID!
There are several very similar looking Geometridae.
Have a look at Thera obeliscata - LepiWiki
for example.

Spruce carpet, Pine carpet, Juniper carpot… i get the plants are the larval food, but CARPET what’s that about?
(Always seeking knowledge)

To hazard a guess, moths are often thought to be eaters of carpets so perhaps someone thought that the carpet moths were all carpet-eaters, whereas in fact none of them is.

A rather different moth, Trichophaga tapetzella, is known as the carpet moth. Its caterpillars feed on keratin rich materials, including woollen carpets. (It is one of several species of clothes moths).

My suspicion is that the geometrid carpet moths were thought to have wing patterns reminiscent of carpets, but a web search for confirmation was unsuccessful.

The reason given for rejecting the ID as being because it is only found in Scotland does seem to be illogical. The moth was identified as Thera juniperata juniperata, not the sub-species Thera juniperata scotia, which is indeed confined to Scotland.
T. juniperata juniperata is widely distributed throughout much of England. The map and distribution notes in Waring & Townsend confirm this, as do the records for Kent, Norfolk and other counties.
Consequently, if the ID has been rejected solely on the moth’s location I think this should be queried. Could the iRecorder have mistakenly assumed that the observer was claiming it to be the ‘scotia’ subspecies?
If the ID was being rejected for another reason that is a different matter, and an alternative ID or explanation should be given.

Good points, Roger.
There is a facility to comment on the verifiers comments on iRecord. I think that it would be worth doing.

Firstly, I think we can contact websites, organisations etc about errors; that surely is what Citizen Science is about.
Secondly, I liked the idea of an Axminster carpet giving Thera species the name. Following that line of enquiry I found this.

« The bent-line carpet moth, and several similar geometrids, are called carpet moths for their intricate wing patterns, reminiscent of the traditional carpets of Asia and the Middle East. »


The bent-line carpet moth is called the traveller in the UK!

Yes, but that is best done by the person who submitted the record or someone who is familiar with the case.
Miked raised the matter so presumably knows something about it.
What do you think, Miked?

I think it can only be done by the person who submitted the record - or someone who has their log-in details.

I can reply, however I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the dictionary updates may have affected the subspecies name, if that has happened then there is another can of worms to open. Need to look more carefully especially as the same verifier has just rejected another type of carpet moth, will look into that one too.
This is the other one that was rejected Is this Garden Carpet? | Observation | UK and Ireland | iSpot Nature not surprised about that as it is probably impossible to be sure of the species.

Thera obeliscata - I looked at the link; if all those photos are of one species, then the patterns on the wings do not seem, to me, to have much consistency.
I’m assuming other features are used to distinguish the different species. Is that right?
Ps. A moth called in one place A Carpet and in another A traveller …. Then are they all « Flying Carpets »?

Very witty!
Moths are not straight-forward to ID. As you say, some show considerable variability - especially some of the more wide-ranging species. Some can only be ID’ed to genus with any certainty unless one is prepared (and has the skill) to do a genital dissection.
I’m curious as to why this observation from 2010 is causing so much excitement now!

Yes, I wondered whether there might be some sort of muddle involving the subspecies name.
I noticed that both the Wikipedia and the atlas links on this observation are specific to the sub-species ‘scotia’ whereas the observation ID is ‘juniperata’, which seems very odd.

Here is the ispot observation on irecord Record of Thera juniperata subsp. scotica ( it was loaded there in the big download done about 8 years ago.
It is only getting mentioned now as there was a notification that it had just been looked at and was rejected. I check all ispot observations that are rejected by irecord as sometimes they have been wrongly rejected.
In this particular case I have a suspicion that there was an issue with the dictionary on one or other site or in the transfer itself. This suspicion is further enhanced as the automatically generated links on ispot are to the scotica subspecies.
Basically are we saying that the observation should have the name Thera juniperata juniperata*). If you hover over this link then you will see it goes to the scotica subspecies not juniperata so I suspect a mistake somewhere in either the ispot or NBN species dictionary.

Yes, hovering over the link demonstrates what has happened.
All you’ve got to do now is find out how and why! - and resubmit the intended ID, Thera juniperata juniperata, to iRecord.

This is a very interesting issue for biological recording in general and perhaps ispot in particular. what to do when older observations are ‘corrected’, on ispot we often run projects that look at older observations and make sure they are correct and sort them out both location and name. However there is not a mechanism to do this on irecord as far as I know we can’t resubmit the data (actually we have not been allowed to submit any data there for years).
On NBN/GBIF there is a mechanism as they simply overwrite the whole dataset when we send in a new version of our data.

Thanks for the feedback Miked - interesting.
Glad you’ve been able to deduce what type of issue caused the problem - well worth posting your original query.