Monday, 24 April 2017

Please look for Eriocrania mines

Now is the prime time to look for the mines of Eriocrania micros - a desperately under-recorded genus in Monmouthshire because they fly so early in the year.  As I said a couple of weeks ago, adult Eriocrania are on the wing in April/May and we have had three records of E. salopiella so far (by Nick Felstead and Richard Clarke as well as my ones from Trellech).  The early season means that some species' larvae are already well-grown, and the distinctive grey E. sangii will only be visible for a couple more weeks: please look for this species on your local birches ASAP!  Some other larvae aren't old enough to identify yet, although the E. salopiella have clearly been laying eggs aplenty. 

The following photos were taken at Redding's Inclosure at lunchtime today (24/4).

Eriocrania sangii has uniquely grey larvae.
 
Eriocrania salopiella starts its mine in the middle of the leaf, whereas most others start on the edge.

 
Eriocrania cf semipurpurella starts its mine on the edge, but so do a couple of other species;
I need to return when the larvae are older.

I intend to check birches in NE Monmouthshire several times in the next few weeks to bump up the paltry county records for the genus: chrysolepidella 1 record, unimaculella 2, salopiella 1, cicatricella 2, sangii 1 & semipurpurella 3 prior to this season!

Ian Rabjohns has just sent me this characteristically multi-larva mine of E. cicatricella from Penallt.
 

Whilst looking for Eriocrania on Birch, it's also worth looking for Coleophora cases, although all I ever seem to manage is the common C. serratella.

 
A quick stop at the Yew Tree Wood, Penyclawdd on my way home produced more E. sangii and E. cf semipurpurella.  The abundant Greater Stitchwort on the verge held an adult Metriotes lutarea, and some larval spinnings of Caryocolum tricolorella.  
 

 


1 comment:

  1. Timely reminder and really handy hints there Sam. I`ll be looking, albeit in vc44!

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