Friday, 13 January 2017

December 2016 sightings

7th December
St. Pierre's Great Woods

A late night trapping session after work produced 26 moths of 4 species here at this site.
19 December Moth's turned up at the light show plus Feathered Thorn, November moth agg. and this 'little micro gem' pictured below.

Acleris schalleriana or Viburnum Button by its common name, has been rarely recorded so far in Vice County 35.
Sam Bosanquet reports it as a "great record" and informs me that this was just the 5th record he has in the data bank.
It is localised throughout the British Isles and feeds on Guedler-rose and Wayfaring-tree which incidentally Sam tells me are found in scattered locations in the Lower Wye Valley.

Acleris schalleriana (Viburnum Button)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

December 2016 sightings

A bit belated post but thought I would continue the recent theme of micro's and keep the interest alive over the quieter coming weeks- further posts will follow.

Newhouse, Chepstow
3rd December 2016

With my interest in micro's taking on a new direction in the form of leaf mining, at the latter part of the year, I thought I would have a wonder around my local patch, choosing Newhouse Industrial Estate on the outskirts of the town.
You would not think it would offer much but some areas have a few trees and shrubs dotted mainly around the outer periphery of the buildings and units.
To my surprise I found several leaf-mines amongst the greenery. Many micro's of the 'common type' were discovered, however two Sam Bosanquet found quite important.
Thanks to Sam's help on identification, I managed turned up Stigmella alnetella (Silver-barred Alder Pigmy) and a rare county record for Ectoedemia intimella (Black-spot Sallow Pigmy.
This was only the 3rd Vice county record for this latter mentioned micro species upon which I've decided to feature below with a couple of photographs.

Individual Sallow leaf above with a now 'blackened' area developing where mining has taken place.

A close up of the blotch mine along with a resident larvae in the photograph below.


Thursday, 5 January 2017

A record-breaking year for Micro records in VC35

Last night I converted the 2016 micro datasets from Nick Felstead, Kevin Hewitt and Bob Roome and added them to the VC35 Micro database, which now stands at over 23000 records.  Last year was a record breaker, as there were 4055 records of Microlepidoptera made in Monmouthshire whereas no previous year has topped 2000.  The big total was helped by the three aforementioned moth'ers, as well as Keith Jones, Mel Jones, Simon Phipps, Ian Rabjohns, Steph Tyler (who all contributed >100 records) and a few others.  I wonder whether there are other Gwent moth'ers who haven't raised their heads above the parapet and sent in their Micro data yet.

A plot of the number of records per recorder per year shows the rise in the number of significant Micro observers, with the lines getting much more crowded in the last few years.  It also reveals Dr Neil Horton's hard work in the 1970s and 1980s, blazing the trail for VC35 moths, and my own keen period in the late 19990s before I moved to west Wales.

Let's see if we can top 5000 in 2017!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Shirenewton and Chepstow

More examples of leaf mines were found at both Shirenewton and Chepstow on the 24th and 27th of November respectively.
These leaf mines were found on Elm leaves at both locations and involve the work of micro moth Stigmella ulmivora or Barred Elm Pigmy.

Quite a few leaves were collected and photographed.
As you can see one leaf contained two larvae to help identify the species.
However in this case things were more difficult to determine and not straight forward.
I had to check and in some cases re-photograph all the other leaves and find out as to where the larval emergence holes were- a difficult process!
Thankfully they all were the same being the upper side of the leaf.
As for records apparently there are very few at just 5 or 6 only prior to these finds.

Late November at Howick and Shirenewton.

As it has gone quiet on the blog I thought I would 'put up' some things of interest that happened several weeks ago but considered fairly important by Sam Bosanquet.

They involve leaf-mines.
I touched on leaf-mining last year but this year I have made a big effort to try and understand the process and identify some 'Leaf miner's' with help from Sam. It is difficult but rewarding when you get a few correct!
The two Leaf mines shown here are on Lime and Oak.

The first example on Lime leaves was found both at Howick on the 19th November and near Shirenewton just five days later on the 24th.
The micro Stigmella tiliae or Lime Pigmy larvae was at work here. (picture below).
It has been found in the vice county to the NE and SE, but Sam informs me it is scarce in Wales overall.

Stigmella tilliae mines

The second micro in larval form, called Stigmella samiatella or Chestnut Pigmy, was found by pure chance in an isolated copse at Howick again on the 24th November in a 'green' Oak leaf that had been blown down by the winds a day or so before.
In fact several examples were found in Oak leaves on that visit, although I believe it can also be found 'mining' Sweet Chestnut leaves.

 One example of Stigmella samiatella 

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.