Saturday, 20 May 2017

Two very small, very similar moths

While sweeping on Windmill Hill a week or so ago I spotted a tiny grey thing bouncing around in the bottom of the net in a very moth like way which turned out to be a Nepticulid moth. It was small, even for a nepticulid, and grey and did not remind me of anything I had seen before.
Trifurcula cryptella
On closer investigation it was a good visual fit for Trifurcula cryptella, which Tony Simpson had bred from mines found at the site some thirty years ago but which had eluded us since then. The ID was confirmed by dissection, but I messed it up to the point that photos would not have been worthwhile! (Sorry Pete and Patrick!)
One obscure nepticulid might have been enough, but I was lucky to stumble into another almost identical moth on Cleeve Common (Gloucestershire VC33) a couple of days ago. I spotted a number of tiny moths flying low to the ground while looking for larvae in Rock Rose. I potted a couple and saw that they looked very like the Windmill Hill moth so I thought I might get a second chance at a dissection photo. They turned out to be a different species from the same family - Trifucula subnitidella - separated from T.cryptella by the lack of a tornal spot and an odd patch of yellow scales on the underside of the fore wing.
This time I did not mess up the dissection!
Trifurcula subnitidella
Yellow armpits!
Oliver Wadsworth

Friday, 19 May 2017

A First & Second at Halesowen

Agonopterix scopariella
Last nights trap was a bit disappointing with micros in short supply, however, a Barred Umber was a first for the garden and today I flushed a second Agonopterix scopariella while gardening. Perhaps some of those A. assimilella spinnings on the Broom were in fact A. scopariella...........
Patrick Clement

Barred Umber

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Halesowen 16th May

Pauper Pug
A good night here too with 3 new species for the garden, Pauper Pug, Agonopterix scopariella and Phyllonorycter muelleriella.
A Monopis sp. with no tornal spot is being recorded as laevigella, though I never feel totally convinced with these, and dissecting doesn't help much.
Others of interest were Pammene albuginana and Azalea Leaf-miner, plus a few Neps and Phyllo's still to determine.
                                     Patrick Clement

Monopis laevigella

Agonopterix scopariella


Bringsty Common May 16th

Presumably this is just a Small Phoenix. Interesting variation. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Small Phoenix
 

Haugh Wood May 16th

As Ian has just posted, conditions in the end last night were rather good. I ventured out for only the second time this season, this time to Haugh Wood where I plan to record on the north side of the wood this year. Rob Hemming joined me for the evening. It started off with a fine but persistent drizzle, but we were out of the wind and the temperatures held up for the 3 hours we trapped. After about an hour the drizzle stopped, although most things were very damp by then. I ran 2 white-robinson traps and my tally of species at the end stood at 74 macromoth species and approximately 15 micromoth species (a few still to determine). By my maths that makes 89 species and with Robin's 2 Skinner trap results included we have just passed the hundred mark. From my 2 traps: topping the bill for numbers were: Nut-tree Tussock (44), Marble Brown (32), Brown Silver-line (21), Orange Footman (19), Brimstone (18), Pebble Hook-tip (16), White-pinion Spotted (13), Green Carpet , Coxcomb Prominent and Alder Kitten (12 each). Because of the proximity to Small-leaved Lime we recorded Roeslerstammia erxlebella and Pauper Pug. Also making an appearance were Buttoned Snout (Robin's trap), Silver Cloud, Oak Nycteoline, Great Prominent, Alder, Mocha, Dingy Shell and Lobster. As you would expect, lot's of new for year records included. Peter Hall & Rob Hemming
Haugh: Alder Kitten

Haugh: Barred Umber

Haugh: Puss

Haugh: Silver Cloud
 

Moth bonanza

Last night in Bewdley conditions were perfect for mothing and the moths responded. I trapped 64 species with well over 160 moths. Macros featured 18 Flame Shoulder, 14 Brimstone, 8 Pale Tussock with 15 year ticks including Lychnis, Alder Moth, Miller, Small Square Spot, Orange Footman, Least Black Arches,White Pinion-spotted, Rivulet, Ochreous Pug, V Pug and White Spotted Pug while two more Grass Rivulets came in (after one the previous night). Micro highlights at last with the rare obtusana in cracking condition, smeathmanniana, oblongana and epilobiella.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Clouds are Silver

Just out of interest, I thought I'd post the usual Silver Cloud (form melaleuca) with the less usual pale form. Both have the wide arrow pointing "south" across the back and you can make out the stigma too in these examples. The reniform is incomplete - typical of this species. I've just realised I've had 2 of the pale form this year and a steady trickle of the more usual dark version, including the attached last night. Peter Hall



 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

First Migrant

This Silver Y was in the garden this morning, the first migrant seen here at Norchard
so far this year. It has been a bit slow here otherwise, with just a trickle of new for year species arriving.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Bringsty Common May 11th

Plans for a trip to Haugh were put on hold when the rainfall radar showed huge amounts of rain that way. Here we had half an inch in half an hour before dusk and followed by lighter showers until around 6.30am when light rain started up again. Excited by double digit night temperatures I ran two 125W mv's in the garden and was rewarded by the best catch of the year so far. 38 species of macro and to date 4 micro. Shining the torch outside the house after dark over the Common reveals an abundance of Brown Silver-line flying over the dead bracken (from last years growth) and the traps reflected this also with a catch of 18. Brimstone also put on a good show with 15 and likely a lot more as most sit around the trap and would be gone by the time I wandered down to look. The first Alder moth came in. The "normal" form of Silver Cloud also came in, and so far since I arrived in this fair county I have only ever recorded the darker form melaleuca. Many of the moths were pristine despite the wet traps, including a fresh Cream Wave, very green Green Carpets and all of the Orange Footman moths (4) were bright and fresh too. The first Treble-lines, Common Lutestring, White Ermine, Clouded Silver, Least Black Arches, Chinese Character and Broken-barred Carpet, to name but a few.

Just on an aside as a matter of interest, I am busy going through the Rosamaund Herefordshire Rothamsted trap micromoths at the moment for 2016, kindly supplied to me by Adrian Riley. He did a Diamond-back count in early June, when the "invasion" started and recorded 8,076 of them in the trap which covered a 3 day period. That's a lot and a lot of counting too.


Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Alder moth

Bringsty Common: Brown Silver-line

Bringsty Common: Muslin moth

Bringsty Common: Orange Footman

Bringsty Common: Red Twin-spot Carpet

Bringsty Common: Pale Tussock (female)

Bringsty Common: Silver Cloud
 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Halesowen, Sunday 7th May

Dichrorampha sedatana
Today's sunshine certainly had an effect on moth activity in our garden with at least a dozen Dichrorampha sp. around the Tansy plants. I only had time to closely examine and photograph one but I expect they were all sedatana.
I quick circuit with a net in late afternoon produced my second garden record of Grass Rivulet in the 'mini meadow', plus Micropterix aruncella, Cauchas rufimitrella, Caloptilia syringella, Phyllonorycter viminiella and Phyllonorycter stettinensis x3.

Patrick Clement
Phyllonorycter viminiella

Small and Yellow

It was nice to see a Small Yellow Underwing in the garden today here on Bringsty Common and it spent a lot of time moving from daisy to daisy in the bight sunshine. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Small Yellow Underwing
 

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Worth the effort

I am often guilty of moaning about how difficult it seems to be to find larvae of reasonably common species of micro moth. It often feels that numbers are so low that finding caterpillars, cases, mines etc. is getting to be very hard and discouraging work. Thankfully, the occasional success makes all the time spent poking about in the foliage worthwhile.

This spring, from the car, I had noticed some odd looking umbelifer like plants with full leaves growing on the road sides outside Broadway and Evesham. I happened to spot a likely match in my wild flower book the other day. Not an umbelifer at all but Hoary Cress - Lepidum draba, a plant I have always wanted to locate because it is the food plant of a very smart black and white micro moth, Eidophasia messingiella. I have never caught the adult at light and the existing county records are, for the most part, few and widely spaced 'one offs' making it a difficult species to target. Added to that, in their Atlas, Tony Simpson and Mike Harper had noted that they had never found the larvae on this plant in either Herefordshire or Worcestershire and suggested it was likely feeding on related Cardamine plants but they had not been able to prove this.
In spite of this I felt that there were enough good sized patches of the plant around to make it worth a look. The plants seem to like to be within inches of the carriageway of busy main roads, so it took me a while to find a patch that was easily accessible. In the end the first clump of plants I looked at showed the characteristic feeding signs of pepper pot holes and larger windowed areas in the leaves and produced three larvae. Hopefully I will be able to get these through to adult moths in due course.

Lepidium darba - feeding sign of E.messingiella
Larva of E.messingiella
Oliver Wadsworth.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Coleophora paripennella

Coleophora paripennella
      In need of a break from gardening jobs yesterday, I popped up to Penorchard Meadows WWT reserve  on the Clent Hills. Almost immediately I entered the first meadow I spotted the feeding signs of Coleophora paripennella on knapweed and below the leaf was the larval case. However, searching for another hour revealed nothing more than a few Ancylis badiana!

Patrick Clement

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Dead interesting

My last female Emperor passed away a day or so ago so I was surprised to find a male attracted to the cage (still hanging up outside) this afternoon around 2pm. He was busy trying to couple with the females lying on the bottom of the netting! Peter Hall

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

2 Garden Coleophs, Halesowen.

Coleophora lusciniaepennella
Coleophora otidipennella in the trap last night was the first record of the species for my garden and today I have just found a small case of Coleophora lusciniaepennella on crack willow.
Patrick Clement

Coleophora otidipennella