Monday, 18 March 2019

Stigmella sorbi

When I looked for mines of this species in June last year they were nearly all vacated, only one tenanted mine was found and collected so I was delighted to see the adult moth had emerged this morning.

Patrick Clement

Stigmella sorbi Reared from mine on Rowan.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Small Eggar

Last summer Andy Warr was searching a WWT nature reserve near the M50 on the 1st June when he came across some curious tent-like spinnings in hawthorns. When he looked closely he could make out many quite dark Lepidoptera larvae moving about inside. Lower Smite Headquarters quickly identified images of these as Small Eggars, a moth species currently of very local status with just  a handful of sites in South Worcestershire.

Small Eggar larval tents in June 2018 (Andy Warr)

I visited the site a few days later and noticed that the larvae were larger and more brightly coloured in two later 'instars'. One or two of the larger more adventurous larva were even roaming about away from the tents on adjacent branches.
larger Small Eggar larvae (Andy Warr)

I decided to take one with the plan of rearing it through to an adult. It was fed on blackthorn and hawthorn and surprisingly still took over 4 weeks to attain full size and pupate. This was then overwintered in an outside rabbit hutch with open grill front inside a large plastic airy container with ample blackthorn and hawthorn leaf litter base. Last week I was rewarded with a fantastic pristine adult female emerging from the pupal case on 15th March.

Small Eggar pupal case after moth had emerged (Steve Whitehouse)

The moth was quickly transported back to the exact hedgerow that evening and photographed on a post top before being placed inside a greening-up hawthorn.
Female Small Eggar (Steve Whitehouse)

After a few minutes rest the moth was then watched to fly around the inner branches of the hedge in a manor similar to a bumblebee - something that was not expected at all - most moths usually fly straight off!

Friday, 15 March 2019

Herefordshire County Moth Recorder

If any of you still have 2018 records that haven't been sent in to your County Moth Recorder (details in the links on the right), please try and find time to do so.  Here in Herefordshire, I have now taken over all moths, so please send records in to me, although Phyl has kindly still offered to process records for me, so if you prefer to continue to send in to Phyl, that is also ok. I've been very busy trying to update the Micromoth database and it has more than trebled its records over the past 12 months and still more to go in. I'm now working on the Macromoths (which Phyl has done an excellent job in maintaining) and hope to have these ready by the end of the year. I'm adding missing records from some of the recorders and will also scrutinise the database for errors in the process. For those living in Herefordshire, the database summaries will be readily available upon request once the work is completed and hopefully by then the on-line distribution maps will be up and running too. I'll update you all when I'm close to completion. I am able to answer records queries from now on, so please feel free to aks questions if any arise. Peter Hall

Bringsty Common March 14th 2019

Plans to go and hunt for Barred Tooth-striped were put on hold last night due to the winds and as is typical with the law of sod, at dusk here the winds dropped to nothing (although they did pick up again a bit later). I put out a trap in the garden and recorded 154 moths of 15 species. In order of recording they were: Twin-spotted Quaker (9), Clouded Drab (20), Shoulder Stripe (6 - 3 of which were at my study window), Common Quaker (72), Small Quaker (20), Oak Beauty (6), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Yellow Horned (2), Hebrew Character (7), Early Grey (2), White Marked (2), Red Chestnut (4) and Chestnut (1), Agonopterix ciliella (1 - at study window) plus an Acleris sp. tbc. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Egg boxes were quite busy

Bringsty Common: Oak Beauty

Bringsty Common: Red Chestnut

Bringsty Common: Twin-spotted Quaker

Bringsty Common: White-marked

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Stigmella lapponica

An adult emerged today from a mine on birch collected at Hartlebury Common on 28th May 2018.

Patrick Clement
Stigmella lapponica

Stigmella lapponica mine.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Common Clothes Moth, Tineola bisselliella

Always mixed emotions when finding Clothes Moths in the house but I was pleased to have a new species regardless. Certainly not a common moth in VC37 these days but it just shows what can be achieved by buying a new and expensive woollen carpet!

Patrick Clement

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Elachista stabilella

For the past few years, around this time, I have been searching the rough grasses on the edge of Windmill Hill for Elachista mines in the hope of finding E.stabilella. This is the only site we have for this moth in the county. It had not been recorded since 1999 despite several searches for mines and sweep netting the area at various times. I was beginning to think that it might have died out on the site, so I was very pleased to find 3 mines on my search this year. The larvae looked right according to published descriptions, but it is still something of a shock when the moth you were hoping for emerges from it's pupa.

Not the most exciting looking moth perhaps, but it is good to know that it is still on site. Maybe the next challenge is to find a new site for the species, but we are painfully short of calcareous grassland in the county, so options are limited.

Oliver Wadsworth.