Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Farmyard mines

I had a quick look for mines and galls in the Court Farm yard at Dingestow, and was surprised at how many I found.  Unlike autumn mining, which focuses on trees, today's focus was on two groups of plants: Willowherbs for Mompha and Goosefoots/Fat-hen for Chrysoesthia.  These are mostly really colourful moths when adult, and I have swept several species from the mixed beds of Fat-hen and Willowherbs in the farmyard over the last few years, but today was about the mines.  Please check local scruffy areas for these under-recorded Micros!

Chrysoesthia sexgutella (white mine with little frass, grouped in the centre) & C drurella (browner mine with wandering broadly linear frass), both on Chenopodium or Atriplex

Mompha locupletella on Epilobium ciliatum and Mompha langiella (I believe) on Epilobium parviflorum
Stem gall of Mompha divisella on Epilobium ciliatum {I can't rotate the pic despite trying}

Monday, 26 June 2017

Mid June stopoff

After doing some business in the town of Monmouth I decided to take a quiet stop off at Dixton for a sandwich and drink, a bit of peace and quiet.
I decided to have a stretch of the legs and looked down along this hedgerow and chanced upon a strange looking anomaly upon a leaf.
Upon closer inspection it looked like some construction of sorts. It triggered off  a thought in my head that it could be an insect at work possibly a fly, beetle or maybe a moth. I was sure I'd seen something somewhere in a book or on-line, so I quickly took some photographs.
Getting back and looking through my micro moth book an image of this remarkable construction came up.
It was assigned to the work of a Bagworm moth, the group of  Psychidae micro moths.
This particular one which Sam Bosanquet has confirmed for me, is under the name Psyche casta (Common Sweep). It is indeed common as it's name suggests but I can't say I've seen it before. It is a group of moths that I've always looked at but thought I would never find so I'm very pleased to have encountered one.
Amazingly it attaches blades of grass or rush longitudinally in a cluster (health and safety would have no issues with this I believe) and can be found in a range of habitats.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

An exciting find in my trap in Blackwood this morning

Whilst trawling through the contents of my two traps this morning (over 300 moths!) I came across a micro which I couldn't pin down an ID on. I initially thought that it might be a worn Acrobasis advenella, and sought confirmation on the UK Micro Moth Identification page on Facebook where upon an experienced moth-er suggested that it could be Pempelia palumbella a new moth for me, and on looking up in the Glamorgan Atlas it appears that it is not very common so I sent a photograph attached to an email to our recorder Sam.

He came back confirming the identification as Pampelia palumbella and that it is a 1st record of this species in Gwent!!!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Redhouse Barns, 21st June 2017

I ran the MV overnight and recorded 38 species, including: 1 Double-line, 1 Eyed Hawk, 1 Poplar Hawk, 10 Elephant Hawk, 1 Miller, 1 Sycamore and a Blair's Mocha (a 1st for Vice-county 35).

Beware Ghost's about.

The last few weeks throughout June I've been turning up Ghost Moth under the group of Hepialidae, Swift Moths.
I'm sure many or you 'moth trappers' out there have seen one at one time or another.

Ghost moth (female) night time photograph 

I had a male the other day which did throw me a little when I first saw it, because it is not exactly a common encounter for me.
Plenty of the larger more decorative females around there seems, adorned in yellow and orange.
It then threw up a question in my mind.

Ghost Moth (male) 

Why was I seeing very little of the male of this species?
Is it less common than we are led to believe within the population, or is it trap shy, only attracted to certain types of light?
Or maybe I've been just unlucky.
Would be interested to know if many out there see the male often??


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Argyresthias etc


A quick stop at Trellech Hill Quarry on my way back from fieldwork produced a few each of Argyresthia brockeella and A. retinella on Birch, as well as A. conjugella on Rowan.  Tapping these trees in June/July is a great way of seeing this genus.  Sweeping a Willow trunk revealed Batrachedra praeangusta: another regular at this time of year.  The tiny Ectoedemia subbimaculella came from sweeping Oak leaves.  Among the Bilberries were Northern Spinach and Bilberry Pug.