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

1 comment:

  1. What good finds! Shame about the gen image for the one but they are very, very small!


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