Wednesday, 7 December 2016

6th December and 23 December Moths

The "heat wave" prompted me to run 2 traps last night. I ran the MV at Haisbro Avenue and Redhouse Barns. At Haisbro Avenue there were 10 December Moths, one Mottled Umber (melanic), a Chestnut and 4 Epiphyas postvittana. At Redhouse there were 13 December Moths, one Angle Shades, one Feathered Thorn and 2 Epiphyas postvittana.
This evening there was a Cypress Carpet on the kitchen door.


Not seen a moth for the first 6 days of December. The work security lights turned up a Winter Moth, December Moth & this Dark Sword-grass on the 7th.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Slim pickings

Occasional moths are appearing on the Dingestow Court windows and porch light, but the season is essentially over.  An MV on 11th November produced a December Moth and several Green-brindled Crescent, but the best moth that night was a (rain tattered) Sprawler under the porch light.  Winter Moths, Feathered Thorns and Eudonia angustea have appeared on a few nights since then, but we need to hope for a winter immigration for any more excitement this year.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Late mines - Oak and Birch

As the year draws to a close there is still time to add species to your home patch list; indeed it is almost the only time of year when Oak Stigmella are vaguely possible.  I collected several Oak leaves with 'green islands' in the SAC Parc Lodge Wood on the south-east side of the Sugarloaf today, and found that most of them held Stigmella mines complete with larvae.  Eggs on the underside and narrow black frass ruled out most species, leaving just the similar-looking Stigmella atricapitella and S. roborella.  Most larvae had dark heads, indicating the former, but a few shorter mines were occupied by larvae with pale heads, and belonged to the latter species (which has only one previous record from VC35).  It is interesting that the larvae and mines of Stigmella atricapitella were consistently larger than those of S. roborella today.

Stigmella atricapitella (left) has a black head and dark sclerite plates;
S. roborella (right) has a pale head and no dark sclerite plates

On my way from school drop-off to Abergavenny I paused briefly to record mines near Llanfihangel Crucorney.  As well as more Stigmella atricapitella and some Ectoedemia subbimaculella (see last week's post) I was pleased to spot mines of E. occultella with their distinctive central spots on Birch.  This is only the 6th county record.

Sunday, 30 October 2016


The work security lights have been a bit slow in turning up the moths of late but did produce a lifer for me tonight (30/10) while out on one of my teabreaks on the nightshift in the form of this Gem.


Funny things on Oak

Late October leaf-mining on Oaks at Dingestow produced two larval signs of interest: the larval mines of Ectoedemia subbimaculella with slits that frass is ejected through, and frass-covered tubes on the underside of leaves which had me totally baffled but which were IDed as Gypsonoma dealbana by Billy Dykes.

The blotch mines of Ectoedemia subbimaculella have a slit at one end, from which the larva ejects frass.
This is unique to this species, which is a notably late feeder, with larvae occupying the mines well into November,
often continuing to feed in 'green islands' after the leaves have dropped. 
Earlier in the month, the similar (but slitless) mines of E. albifasciella were commonplace.

The common Tortricid Gypsonoma dealbana makes a silk tube, covered with frass, on the underside of Oak leaves.  Something new I learned today!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Redhouse Barns, 26th October

Not a bad catch for the time of year. 7 Large Wainscots, 15 Beaded Chestnuts, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Angle Shades, 1 Silver-Y, 3 Epirrita spp. 1 Figure of  8 and a Green-brindled Crescent.

Green-brindled Crescent

3 of the 7 Large Wainscots

Figure of 8