Monday, 30 July 2018

What were the Coppers doing?

There were 16 Svensson's Copper Underwings on one parkland Oak trunk at Dingestow Court at 10:30pm last week; checking several other trees revealed just one other single SCU.  There were no obvious sap weeps to attract the moths, so I have no idea what they were doing.  The only unusual thing about the tree was a large nest of the ant Lasius bruneus in a hole on one side, and I wonder whether the ants scurrying up the tree left sweet trails on the bark which the moths were then feeding on.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Blorenge NW slopes

Hopes that the warm weather might encourage heathland and limestone moths to fly in the late afternoon of 26/7 weren't realised, but a birch in the shady part of Cwm Ifor produced 2 Phyllonorycter cavella (3rd Gwent record) and 2 different forms of Epinotia ramella, as well as Argyresthia brockeella and A. goedartellaAgriphila inquinatella were plentiful on the dry grassland, and I disturbed several Silver Y and 3 Diamond-back Moths from the heather.  Sweeping produced a Teleiopsis diffinis and a young larva of Beautiful Yellow Underwing Just 3 additions to the tetrad, but not a complete waste of time!


Thursday, 26 July 2018

Catching up

Moth numbers seem to be down a little since early July, but there are still plenty of species around.  Highlights from three recent MV sessions at Dingestow were:
22/7 1 Mocha, 1 Haworth's Pug, 1 Acleris aspersana (5th Dingestow record).

23/7 1 Slender Brindle (5th Dingestow record), 2 Dark Swordgrass, 1 Maiden's Blush, 1 Maple Pug, 1 Calamotropha paludella (4th Dingestow record), 6+ Agriphila selasella, 1 Eulamprotes atrella.

25/7 1 Poplar Kitten (2nd Dingestow record), 1 Turnip Moth, 2 Vine's Rustic, 1 Lime-speck Pug, 1 Eulamprotes atrella.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Antispila petryi refound

Our two species of Antispila (small dark micros with silvery patches) feed on Dogwood. There are complications with taxonomy*, but even so it seemed strange that the species which Neil Horton found in 1980 and 1990 had not been seen since, whereas the other species had turned up three times (2002, 2003 & 2015).  Dr Horton's species, A. petryi, was on my list of 'lost' Monmouthshire Micros, which will sooner or later appear on the Blog, although the goalposts keep moving as 6 'lost' species have been refound already this year!

I don't usually bother to look at the ornamental Cornus alba, but I noticed a couple of mines on some 10-year-old bushes of this species at Dingestow, and they had the tell-tale holes that are made by Antispila larvae cutting out a portable case.  Checking with a hand-lens revealed no 'practice slits' at the start of the mine, which suggested A. petryi rather than A. metalella, and further searching produced a tenanted mine with the larva sporting sclerotized dark dots on its back that confirm the ID.  Antispila petryi is no longer 'lost' from VC35.


*Antispila metalella seems clear-cut, but A. petryi was synonymous with A. treitschkiella until early 2018 when the species were (re-)split, with A. petryi being a univoltine species that feeds on Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) and occasionally Cornus alba, and A. treitschkiella being a bivoltine species that feeds on Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas).  There may well be small trees of Cornus mas in the parks/gardens of Newport, so it would be worth somebody looking for A. treitschkiella there, but for the moment we have two species of Antispila in the county.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Night of the Ermines

Once a year, Ermine moths appear in abundance at my MV - last night was that night, with 60+ Yponomeuta evonymella and 40+ Y. rorella, along with a few Y. cagnagella and Y. padella. Moth numbers in general were still high, and there were a few nice species. Highlights were 1 Vine's Rustic - with narrower wings than associated Rustic & Uncertain combined with whiter hindwings - 3 Haworth's Pug, 1 Sallow Kitten, 1 Lesser Yellow-underwing, 1 Small Blood-vein, 1 Dingy Shears and 1 Anania crocealis.

Dingy Footman numbers have been gradually rising over the last 10 days, and are now in the mid 20s (with a couple of the yellow form), although Common Footman (>60) was again the most numerous macro.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sycamore and Yellow-legged Clearwing exuviae


A brief attempt with a Yellow-legged Clearwing lure at Dingestow again failed to produce any adults, although there were four relatively fresh exuviae in one oak trunk.  It's good to know that the colony in our parkland oaks is still producing adults, but I do wish I could actually see one!  Whilst searching I encountered a beautifully camouflaged Sycamore - my 3rd here and 1st since 2007.  Tapping a few oak branches produced several common Micros, plus a gorgeously fresh Acleris literana.



Dingy Shears and Eulamprotes atrella


A Dingy Shears to MV on 10th July 2018 was my first at Dingestow since 2003, whilst a Eulamprotes atrella was my first here since 1999.  Other nice species included the pyralids Pempelia (Rhodophaea) formosa, Euzophera pinguis and Dioryctria abietella, and the pretty tortricids Acleris forsskaleana and Eucosma campoliliana.  Broad-bordered Yellow-underwing and Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow-underwing made their 2018 debuts, with the latter appearing to have rather dark hindwings initially; prodding and poking eventually confirmed it was just a LBBYU rather than a wandering Langmaid's.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Hornet Clearwing at Dingestow

There have been several sightings of Hornet Clearwing reported on Twitter recently, so I thought I'd give it a try at Dingestow. I headed down to a line of mature Poplars before work and checked several trunks without success. Then a 'hornet' flew past me, and I netted it just in case. It was audibly buzzing in the net, which I didn't realise Hornet Clearwings did, but sure enough it was my first ever sighting of this species (and I've never seen Lunar Hornet either). This appears from NBN and the VC35 Macro list to be the first record for Monmouthshire and one of very few from Wales: two from the Neath/Swansea area at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, and one or two from Flintshire. I was, like the moth, absolutely buzzing!

As well as the clearwing, I beat a few Micros from Alders, with Caloptilia falconipennella being the highlight.


Sunday, 8 July 2018


While checking under the work security lights for moths while out on my teabreaks on the nightshift last night, I recorded 31 species and the star of the night was this Toadflax Brocade.


Ran the 4x30w actinic trap out on the patio for 3hours each night Thu, Fri  & Sat. Potted 600+ moths of 100+ species highlights were Dark Umber, Kent Black Arches & Double Line. Species wise I am just 15 short of this time last year but number wise the counts are a lot lower for a lot of the species.
                                Dark Umber
                            Kent Black Arches

Double Line

More wetland wanderers

I had a feeling of deja vu on the morning of 7th July, when the Dingestow Court MV held single Obscure Wainscot and Blackneck, 9 days after both had appeared new to Dingestow!  Another wetland species - the Pyralid Calamotropha paludella - was the third Dingestow record, following two here in 2006 (another good summer for wanderers/migrants).  The wetland theme was enhanced by 100+ Water Veneer fluttering pathetically on the sheet - I scooped up as many as I could and dumped them in our pond's emergent vegetation, just in case.  Other minor highlights were Tinea trinotella, Phtheochroa inopiana, a well-marked Eudonia delunella, Dark Swordgrass, Cloaked Minor and Scarce Footman.