Sunday, 10 May 2015

Dodford 9th May - Little and Large

The wind has died down but overnight temperatures still in single figures so disappointingly low number of moths although a bit more variety amongst the worn Hebrew Characters and Clouded Drabs still holding on.

Last nights highlight was my first ever Great Prominent.

Great Prominent

But there was also this single micro which is also new to me but appears to be an Elachista,

My first thought was E.albifrontella but on closer inspection there appears to be another white spot before the apex which could indicate E.apicpunctella .Unfortunately only a couple of "pot shots" and it successfully managed to make a bid for freedom whilst I was taking the shots so I no longer have the moth but any ideas?

Pete Smith


  1. Pete, difficult to be definite about this (hence the lack of response!). I think you are on the right track but I would want to dissect for additional evidence, especially as I suspect this would be new for your garden so you will want to be certain before recording.

    1. Thanks, Patrick. Not only would it be new to garden but also new to me so useful advice. Would you say it is possible to ID from a good photo of a good specimen with ,say, a much larger /clearer apical spot or is this one of those species where dissection would always be required?

    2. I sent you a mail yesterday, but it may have been to your gmail account. I ran the images past John Langmaid as no-one had replied as he basically said what Patrick said. John said "there are a number with a white frons which this one has". So I think you need to keep them, and if Patrick is like me on Neps, hope it is a male.

    3. The important thing is to keep hold of the moth until you have a response to photographs (your images taken in the pot are fine for an initial assessment and much better than most I see posted elsewhere). I'll be happy to dissect some for you if it helps and I do think it would have been necessary in this instance for a positive id. Of course, dissection is not a magic bullet but, coupled with decent photographs of the moth, will often clinch the ID.

    4. Thanks Peter and Patrick, micros are a steep learning curve and I am grateful for your advice.

      It can sometimes take me ages just to narrow down to a genus and then it is not always clear whether it is possible to get to species without dissection. But every micro I attempt to ID adds to the my knowledge base and familiarity at least makes the process a bit quicker.

      I am naturally inquisitive by nature and like to solve puzzles so I will keep an eye out for another one and try to keep hold of it next time!


    5. The more you do the easier and quicker it becomes although you will often reach a point where a dissection is necessary. Ultimately, you may want to consider learning the dissection techniques yourself? There is plenty of expertise available in the two counties should you wish to.

    6. Yes at some time in the future I may consider the dissection route, but plenty to learn before then I reckon.

      Cheers Pete

  2. Nice to have Great Prom in the garden!


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