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On another special request we were into photograph one of the very rarest and most wanted moth not only of Hungary, but the whole Carpathian-basin, called Asteroscopus syriaca decipulae (lets call it Kovacs' Sprawler!). This is the lastly described Noctuidae (owlet moth) from our area, by Lajos Kovacs, our keeper of the lepidoptera department of Nat.Hist. Museum that time, in 1966. The first specimens (males) were captured in a light-trap in the Zemplen Hills, NE Hungary, and since than other populations were discovered in Bukk, Vertes and Bakony Mts. It was originally described as a good species, A. decipulae, but since than it is considered a subspecies of A. syriaca. However our populations are certainly very distinctive, so I wouldn't be surprised from further taxonomic changes. Its probably a good "bona species"! However we have more populations, the only place which is reliable to see this remarkable and very late "winter" moth is a secluded spot of the Bakony Mts., where I have seen first this species in 1992, and than in 1993. It was severely endangered with foreign collectors (specimens worth a fortune that time!), and I appointed the attention of the local NP seriously, which resulted serious monitoring by rangers, and thanks God, they still keep their good habit during the short flying time. The species is very similar to A. sphinx (The Sprawler) , but much more graceful and silvery... actually its a similarity on paper only! Once you see, you know what is there! This species is so rare, that the first female was described in 1985 only, and when I got another in 1992, that was probably the 5-6th specimen known for science that time. To see this moth, you need extreme luck! It disappears sometimes for year, eg. I couldn't see one for ten years! The best year for me was 1993, when I have seen 11 specimen, but last year was also good with 6, and this year with 5 too.

Of course this time of the year is excellent for other rarities too, eg. for Rileyana fovea, which is the only Noctuidae which is able to produce rattling sounds with its specially modified hindwing. This remarkable species was discovered in Hungary at the early XIX. century, and however not an endemics, also one of our most wanted moth to see. They have a very special flying period, which is probably 20 minutes at down, the so-called "fovea-time". They don't like lamps, but easy to attract with baits. A very rare moth, sharing habitat with decipulae. So it was really special when in 1998 we have counted 600!!!

(27, October, 2009)




A fresh silvery-grey male of Kovacs' Sprawler.


The more brownish female of Kovacs' Sprawler, described in 1985 only.


The same specimen in a sleeping position.

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