Thursday, 10 January 2019

Bucculatrix thoracella, Luffia ferchaultella and Pammene regiana

In the last week or so I have been looking for overwintering larval cocoons of Bucculatrix thoracella on the trunks of lime trees, intending to rear some adults to photograph.

Vacated or predated cocoon of Bucculatrix thoracella.

So far the couple of dozen cocoons that I have found have all been vacated or predated, but as is often the case, while looking for one species another will be found.

Luffia ferchaultella larval case.

While checking some roadside Limes in Hagley I quickly found 3 small larval cases of Luffia ferchaultella, actively feeding on the lichen. This appears to be the earliest larval record for VC37 and a dot in an otherwise blank square.

A group of Limes in a Halesowen park drew a blank for B. thoracella but while there I noticed an avenue of mature Sycamore trees with lots of loose, flaky bark at their base, the perfect habitat for overwintering larvae of Pammene regiana. The fully fed larvae of this species descend from the canopy in early autumn and overwinter in cocoons behind loose bark, before pupating in the spring.

Loose, flaky bark at base of Sycamore.

Lifting off a few pieces of bark I soon found several cocoons, both vacated, and occupied.

Vacated cocoons of Pammene regiana with exuviae.

Pammene regiana cocoon with larva revealed.

Pammene regiana larva.
Patrick Clement

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