Thursday, 21 December 2017

Rare Acleris micro in Town

Chepstow Town 
November 23rd and December 3rd

One of my wanders around the town on the 23rd November produced this intriguing micro moth, upon which I left on my camera for several days before having a serious close up look.
I had thought it was a Light Brown Apple Moth from a distance for it had settled high up on a whitewashed wall on a building and was nearly out of reach of my cameras focal distance.
After looking closer at the better of two pictures I took, I sent it off to Sam assigning the name of Acleris Umbrana totally oblivious of its county and national status.
Although not pin sharp, the distinctive black longitudinal streaks were clearly visible along with the odd scale tufts and there really was not any doubt that this is was what it was.
Sam Bosanquet agreed and commented that it was a recent new addition to the county list only as of this year, 2017.
 Dark-streaked Button- Acleris umbrana

The photographs here are from another encounter dated 3rd December where thankfully another or maybe the same moth had perched lower down the same wall conveniently providing a better opportunity for me to take a closer view. You can see the 'streaks' and 'tufts' better in these pictures. 

Most if not all records from the latter part of last winter had emanated from around the Newport area I believe, so this meant it was a new site for it.
Although I could not manage to produce photographic at the time, I strongly believe that this moth was at this site last year. Again it was positioned high up on the wall like the encounter this year albeit much higher up and out of reach of the camera.

I did some further reading up on the Dark-streaked Button, Acleris umbrana, and its National status is in the 'Scarce A' category at present, 'a rare and localised species'.

I also found a few other findings and comments that may ring true for the county where no records existed then a sudden mini-explosion of encounters occurred.
I particularly like the comment made by Sheldon in 1930 where he describes the moth as a 'rather mysterious species' always very local, never common and entirely disappearing from its known haunts for years at a time'.
Forty-three years later his observations/comments were echoed by Bradley, Tremewen and Smith as they also found it elusive for years at a time at known sites, so very little had changed in 1973.
Could it be that in future that the moth will frequent known habitats here in Gwent and then inexplicably disappears for long periods only to return....could be an interesting experimental exercise for the people who have found it so far possibly.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

20th November

Chepstow Town, North-east 
Very Uncommon find on Hornbeam

With leaves disappearing at a rapid rate at this point looking for leaf-mines was becoming more difficult, however I did spot a few in the Castle Car Park.

I had not really taken a lot of notice of these small trees which had densely packed branches.
The leaves were a warm yellow with a slight tint of orange and 90% intact on the tree itself. It was a Hornbeam, a tree I have only started to get comfortable in identifying.

Closer inspection revealed some winding mines which had me looking at Stigmella microtherella on several leaves. I collected a few quite readily. I felt I needed a few more to make a nice collection display and it was upon this further looking an elongated blotch mine came into view opposite a S. microtherella mine.

That's odd I thought, never seen that happening in Hornbeam!
After some photographs were taken, and a look at a leaf mine site on-line, Phyllonorycter tenerella appeared to have a close resemblance to what I had found on the leaf.

A quick reply from Sam Bosanquet after sending the photographs off, revealed a positive ID, it indeed was P. tenerella.
As often the case I'm all too often unaware of several of the moths status in the county-I just like finding them- so this came as a very nice addition to my collection and to the V35 county, for it was just the 3rd record of this micro ever found so far.