Description


A diary of my mothing activity covering highlights and photos from my moth trapping activities. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I may mention other wildlife sightings here, especially insects, but for birds see my birding diary.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Garden-first Cochylis hybridella

Just 12 days earlier I had seen my first ever White-bodied Conch Cochylis hyrbidella at Surlingham; now on Thursday 7th September I had one in my garden trap.  It sounds like this species has become much commoner in Norfolk in recent years.

White-bodied Conch Cochylis hybridella, North Elmham, 7th September


A Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana was new for the year.

Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana, North Elmham, 7th September


Other than those it was pretty quiet: Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 3 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 4 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 2 Blood-veins, Small Blood-vein, Common Marbled Carpet, Green Carpet, 3 Brimstone Moths, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 2 Common Wainscots, 2 Flounced Rustics and 4 Snouts.  Also 2 Small Silver Sedges Lepidostoma hirtum, Limnephilus auricula, Limnephilus lunatus, Limnephilus marmoratus (all caddisflies), Lamprotettix nitidulus (leafhopper) and 2 Aphodius rufipes (beetles).

15 moths of 7 species was pretty dire the following night: 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 4 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Single-dotted Wave, Light Emerald, Square-spot Rustic and 5 Flounced Rustics.

Even fewer moths the following night but they did include my first Frosted Orange of the year.  The others were Case-bearing Clothes Moth Tinea pellionella, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Green Carpet, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Square-spot Rustic, 6 Flounced Rustics and Burnished Brass.

Frosted Orange, North Elmham, 9th September


There wasn't much excitement the following night: Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 4 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Common Marbled Carpet, Currant Pug, Brimstone Moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spot Rustic, Common Wainscot, Centre-barred Sallow, Flounced Rustic, Frosted Orange, Burnished Brass, 4 Snouts and the beetle Aphodius rufipes.

The highlight on 11th was 2 Purple Bars, the first time I've recorded this species in September and the first time I've had more than one in a night at home.  Other moths were 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 6 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Garden Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Light Emerald, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Common Wainscot, 6 Flounced Rustics, Vine's Rustic and 8 Snouts.

This Feathered Thorn was new for the year on Tuesday 12th:

Feathered Thorn, North Elmham, 12th September


Other moths were Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 9 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Brimstone Moths, Dusky Thorn, Light Emerald, Flame Shoulder, 5 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Common Wainscot, 2 Flounced Rustics, Vine's Rustic and 3 Snouts.  Also the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea, the beetle Aphodius rufipes and caddisflies 5 Limnephilus auricula and 5 Limnephilus lunatus.

A Sallow and 3 Lunar Underwings were new species for the year on the otherwise unremarkable night of Wednesday 13th.  The rest were Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 7 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Single-dotted Wave, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Light Emerald, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Flounced Rustic and the caddisfly Limnephilus lunatus.


Sallow, North Elmham, 13th September



Lunar Underwing, North Elmham, 13th September


A slight improvement in numbers the following night, though nothing very remarkable: Fulvous Clothes Moth Tinea semifulvella, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 5 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Single-dotted Wave, Common Marbled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, 4 Large Yellow Underwings, 7 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Square-spot Rustics, Lunar Underwing, Flounced Rustic, Burnished Brass and 5 Snouts.  Four species of caddisfly were all from the same genus: Limnephilus flavicornis, 4 Limnephilus lunatus, Limnephilus marmoratus and Limnephilus vittatus. There was also the mayfly Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum and a Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae.

Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae, North Elmham, 14th September


The following night was back to normal with Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Single-dotted Wave, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Light Emerald, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lunar Underwing, 3 Flounced Rustics, Snout and the caddisfly Limnephilus lunatus.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Dark Sword-grass and a new leafhopper

It's always nice to find migrant moths in the garden trap - and this year it's been a particularly unusual to do so even when including the "common" migrant species like Diamond-back Moth, Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y.  But even knowing how poor my garden is for migrants I was a little surprised when I realised that this Dark Sword-grass on Sunday 3rd September was a new species for the garden.

Dark Sword-grass, North Elmham, 3rd September


Other moths that night were Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Hazel Slender Parornix devoniella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria, Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, 3 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana, 5 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Small Dusty Wave, Single-dotted Wave, 4 Common Marbled Carpets, 3 Green Carpets, Currant Pug, Double-striped Pug, 3 Brimstone Moths, Early Thorn, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, 6 Large Yellow Underwings, 6 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 3 Square-spot Rustics, 5 Common Wainscots, 8 Flounced Rustics, 2 Burnished Brasses, Straw Dot and 6 Snouts.

Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana, North Elmham, 3rd September


The caddisflies were Oxyethira flavicornis, Tinodes waeneri, Hydropsyche siltalai, 4 Hydropsyche pellucidula, 2 Small Silver Sedges Lepidostoma hirtum, Limnephilus flavicornis and 3 Limnephilus sparsus.  Beetles included another Amara bifrons and 4 Aphodius rufipes.  Unless I'm mistaken, this leafhopper is Alebra coryli, a hazel-feeding species I've never identified before.  The NBN Atlas doesn't show any records for Norfolk, but although the atlas is an excellent tool some of the datasets are quite incomplete so this probably doesn't mean much.  I await to hear from the county recorder as to its real status in Norfolk.

apparent Alebra coryli, North Elmham, 3rd September


Next day I was birding at Burnham Overy and came across a few moths too: 3 Spindle Ermines Yponomeuta cagnagella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, 22 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Straw-barred Pearl Pyrausta despicata, Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, Dowdy Plume Stenoptilia zophodactylus and Yellow Shell.

Dowdy Plume Stenoptilia zophodactylus (male, gen det), Burnham Overy, 4th September


This snail proved to be a Wrinkled Snail Candidula intersecta, a species I've identified from here before.

Wrinkled Snail Candidula intersecta, Burnham Overy, 4th September


That night there weren't all that many moths at home but there were some interesting ones.  This Mugwort Plume Hellinsia lienigianus was my third this year (second here) but a species I'd only seen once previously.

Mugwort Plume Hellinsia lienigianus (female, gen det), North Elmham, 4th September


Nearly as good was this Large Clothes Moth Morophaga choragella.

Large Clothes Moth Morophaga choragella, North Elmham, 4th September


This Cherry Midget Phyllonorycter cerasicolella was only my second fully-identified example following my first in July.

Cherry Midget Phyllonorycter cerasicolella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 4th September


The caddisfly Polycentropus irroratus was new for the year (only one last year).  Other caddisflies were Hydropsyche pellucidula, Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum and Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus.  There was also the brown lacewing Hemerobius lutescens.

Polycentropus irroratus (male), North Elmham, 4th September


The mirid bug Phytocoris longipennis was a lifer, my fourth species in the genus.  Other bugs were 4 Birch Shieldbugs and 3 Forest Bugs.  There were also 4 dung beetles Aphodius rufipes.


Phytocoris longipennis, North Elmham, 4th September


The following night's moths were Red Birch Midget Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 7 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, 2 Blood-veins, 3 Green Carpets, Brimstone Moth, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, 2 Flounced Rustics, Vine's Rustic, Burnished Brass, Straw Dot and 9 Snouts.

The best caddisfly was Hydropsyche angustipennis, only my second here.  Others were Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum, 2 Mottled Sedges Glyphotaelius pellucidus, Limnephilus auricula, 2 Limnephilus lunatus and Limnephilus marmoratus.   Beetles included a copulating pair of Pterostichus niger on the lawn and 2 Aphodius rufipes.  There were also 2 Forest Bugs.


Pterostichus niger, North Elmham, 5th September


Next day's moths were Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 11 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, 3 Brimstone Moths, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, 11 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 5 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, 4 Flounced Rustics, Straw Dot and 6 Snouts.  Also an Aphodius rufipes (beetle).

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tricky truncicollela

The highlight on Monday 28th August a Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, a migrant species and new for the year.

Rush Venner Nomophila noctuella, North Elmham, 28th August


Also new for the year was this Svensson's Copper Underwing.

Svensson's Copper Underwing (male, gen det), North Elmham, 28th August


Otherwise it was a marginal improvement on the previous couple of nights but fairly mediocre: Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Apple/Orchard/Spindle Ermine agg. Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella agg., Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 6 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 3 Chinese Characters, 2 Single-dotted Waves, 3 Brimstone Moths, Dusky Thorn, Willow Beauty, 5 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 6 Square-spot Rustics, 6 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, 6 Flounced Rustics, Straw Dot, Snout and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Three mayflies were all different species, though the commonest species here: Lake Olive Cloeon simile, Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum and Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita.  A variety of caddisflies consisted of Oxyethira flavicornis, 2 Hydropsyche siltalai, 4 Hydropsyche pellucidula and another Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum.   There were also 3 Birch Shieldbugs, 5 Forest Bugs and 2 Aphodius rufipes.

Next day I found Case-bearing Clothes Moth Tinea pellionella and the leafhopper Kleidocerys resedae inside the house.  There were 2 more new moths for the year that night, Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria and Dark Ash Bud Moth Prays ruficeps.

Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria, North Elmham, 29th August


Dark Ash Bud Moth Prays ruficeps, North Elmham, 29th August


The male genitalia of Eudonia truncicolella and Eudonia mercurella are rather similar to one another but the two moths' outward appearance is so different this does not usually present a problem.  I am usually dissecting mercurella to separate from lacustrata and truncicolella to separate from one of the other larger species, not to separate them from one another.  I often dissect mercurella from home but so far have not had any candidates for truncicolella at home (they seem to be common on heathlands but not so much in garden habitat).  A Eudonia sp. trapped this night was retained as it was too worn to identify with confidence and when I went to dissect it I noticed it seemed to have that scratchy coarsely-marked appearance I associate more with truncicolla (shared with Scoparia basistrigalis to some degree but that's easy to eliminate on dissection if not before) - might this be my first garden truncicollela?  Well the genitalia confirmed we were dealing with Eudonia and taking other factors into account mercurella and truncicolella are the only feasible options.  What's left of the wing pattern seems to me to be a better fit for truncicolella than mercurella, but given how worn it is I am not confident.  Size would often be a help here but though this is comfortably in range for truncicolella it's also within range for a large mercurella.  You can separate murana from truncicolella by the presence or absence of a hamus, a little structure near the base of the forewing.  This lacked a hamus like truncicollela but I can't find any references that say whether mercurella should have a hamus or not.  I could check this myself when I trap some more but that probably won't be until next year now.  It's a bit on the late side for mercurella but there are still truncicollela flying - however it's not too late for mercurella.  All things considered I regard this as a possible Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, but I am not certain enough to add it to my garden list yet.  Maybe in due course I will be able to find suffiicient differences in the genitalia to enable a confident ID and then, or if I ever find mercurella does have a hamus, I might be able to retrospectively record it, but for now I shall await a fresher specimen or a female.

 possible Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, North Elmham, 29th August


Although I didn't get a positive ID out of this the experience has taught me one thing that's useful.  I was under the impression that murana was a north-western species that would be highly unlikely to occur in Norfolk.  I also thought that they were a bit more obviously different than they really are (judging by some photos I have now seen) and so haven't ever bothered critically checking specimens of truncicolella to eliminate murana.  In researching this moth I find that there is a record of murana from Suffolk and a suggestion on the Suffolk Moths website that the species is "probably not very rare".  If that's really the case in Suffolk then it's probably true in Norfolk too (though no records to date), so I should probably be looking at truncicolella more carefully in future.

Other moths were 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 4 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 7 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, Smoky-barred Marble Lobesia abscisana, 3 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 4 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Chinese Characters, 4 Blood-veins, 2 Small Dusty Waves, Single-dotted Wave, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Garden Carpet, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, 3 Green Carpets, Currant Pug, Treble-bar, 7 Brimstone Moths, Willow Beauty, 7 Light Emeralds, Coxcomb Prominent, Flame Shoulder, 7 Large Yellow Underwings, 15 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 3 Square-spot Rustics, Feathered Gothic, 9 Common Wainscots, Copper Underwing, Straw Underwing, 9 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 2 Vine's Rustics, 2 Burnished Brasses, Straw Dot, 7 Snouts and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, North Elmham, 29th August


Mayflies consisted of 2 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum and a Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum.  A good selection of caddisflies too: 2 Polycentropus flavomaculatus, Hydropsyche siltalai, 9 Hydropsyche pellucidula, Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum, Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus, Grammotaulius nigropunctatus, Limnephilus auricula, 9 Limnephilus lunatus and Limnephilus marmoratus.  Also 3 Aphodius rufipes (dung-beetles).

The following night was quite poor: Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Blood-vein, 2 Light Emeralds, Coxcomb Prominent, 4 Large Yellow Underwings, 11 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 2 Common Wainscots, 9 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, Straw Dot and Snout; also the caddisflies  Limnephilus lunatus and 2 Limnephilus marmoratus.

The next night wasn't much better: Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brimstone Moth, Common White Wave, 5 Light Emeralds, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Six-striped Rustic, 3 Square-spot Rustics, 3 Common Wainscots, 9 Flounced Rustics, 2 Vine's Rustics and Snout; also 3 Limnephilus lunatus (caddis) and Aphodius rufipes (beetle).

September kicked off with my first Centre-barred Sallow of the year.

Centre-barred Sallow, North Elmham, 1st September


Again not a huge catch that night: 5 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 5 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chinese Character, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, Sharp-angled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Engrailed, 4 Light Emeralds, Poplar Hawk-moth, Large Yellow Underwing, 8 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 7 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, Mouse Moth, 9 Flounced Rustics, 2 Burnished Brasses, 3 Snouts, Hydropsyche pellucidula, Limnephilus lunatus and Aphodius rufipes.

Next day I was at Minsmere where in addition to Small Copper and Common Blue butterflies we found a Frosted Orange feeding on Fleabane and a Copper Underwing in the Bittern hide.  Moths in the garden that night consisted of 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Double-striped Pug, Light Emerald, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Square-spot Rustics and 12 Flounced Rustics.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A rare new moth for Norfolk at Surlingham

On Saturday 26th August the Norfolk Moth Survey went to Brickyard Fen at Surlingham, close to the Ted Ellis reserve.  The weather was ok-ish and the habitat looked interesting so we were keen to see what we might catch.  It proved to be an excellent night with lots of interesting moths including three that were new to me.

The best of these was a fantastic find, picked out of Garry's trap it was passed round the group of us to look at.  I was last in line this time and had to listed to person after person deliberating over it, and struggling to put a name to it.  I was keen to see it - it sounded interesting!  Finally it reached me and I agreed with others that it looked like a Gynnidomorpha sp. or something similar, but not a species I recognised either.  A quick look at the British Moths app on my phone came up with a good match for Coast Conch Gynnidomoprha permixtana but the range map suggested that this species did not occur in East Anglia.  I had no internet connectivity here so couldn't investigate any further and took the moth home to have a more careful look.

Back at home a closer look and further investigation confirmed that it did indeed look like permixtana, but this would be a very significant record.  I found a picture of Gynnidomorpha vectisana that looked pretty close and deduced that this could not be positively ruled out without dissection.  Vectisana is fairly unlikely here, being a coastal species, but perhaps more likely than a species that hadn't been recorded in East Anglia before!  I couldn't find any other serious contenders though I couldn't be 100% sure that certain other species couldn't ever look like this.  Now it needed the chop to determine, but it wasn't entirely clear to me whether I would be able to resolve it even then - the differences in genitalia aren't huge.  One little bit of the genitalia has stout hairs on its tip in one species and fine bristles on the other species.  Would I be able to tell the difference between a stout hair and a fine bristle?  I wasn't sure, but by comparing what I could see with images on the internet I was now almost completely sure that we were indeed dealing with permixtana.  However, I thought I'd best get it checked out so sent photos to Jon Clifton for his advice.  He was pretty sure too, but in view of the significance of the record he forwarded my photos to Bob Heckford who is an expert on the species.  In the meantime Stuart reminded me of what I had forgotten he had said on the night, that there was a large amount of Red Bartsia growing at the site, one of permixtana's favourite foodplants. Finally we heard back from Bob... it was indeed Gynnidomorpha permixtana!


Coast Conch Gynnidomorpha permixtana (male, gen det, confirmed by J Clifton/B Heckford), Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Far less unusual but still new moths for me were White-bodied Conch Cochylis hybridella and Spindle Knot-horn Nephopterix angustella.

White-bodied Conch Cochylis hybridella, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Spindle Know-horn Nephopterix angustella, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Other good records included 2 Large Lance-wings Epermenia falciformis, Oblique Carpet, Balsam Carpet, Bordered Beauty, Vapourer, 2 Crescents and 6 Webb's Wainscots.

Balsam Carpet, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


There was quite a bit of discussion about the ID of this Gold Spot with at least one person seemingly convinced it was Lempke's Gold Spot.  I wasn't convinced, but hoped he was right as it is a species I can't seem to find, so took it home to dissect and confirm.  Sadly it was just a Gold Spot (one of 5, not that I retained any more but we were all agreed about the others).

Gold Spot (male, gen det), Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


The other moths I saw were these (as usual for events like this the counts are the mimimum number I could remember seeing - there were probably lots more): Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella, Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, 4 Triple-spot Dwarfs Elachista maculicerusella, 2 Hook-marked Straw Moths Agapeta hamana, 4 Cyclamen Tortrixes Clepsis spectrana, 8 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 20 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Smoky-barred Marbles Lobesia abscisana, 2 Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana, Grey Poplar Bell Epinotia nisella, Wainscot Veneer Chilo phragmitella, Bulrush Veneer Calamotropha paludella, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, 5 Brown China-marks Elophila nymphaeata, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Orange Swifts, 4 Chinese Characters, 2 Lesser Cream Waves, Common Carpet, Yellow Shell, 2 Common Marbled Carpets, 4 Green Carpets, Currant Pug, Clouded Border, 5 Brimstone Moths, 3 Dusky Thorns, 2 Willow Beauties, Engrailed, Common White Wave, 2 Common Waves, 5 Light Emeralds, Round-winged Muslin, Dingy Footman, 2 Ruby Tigers, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame, 10 Flame Shoulders, 25 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 10 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 25 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 6 Six-striped Rustics, 10 Square-spot Rustics, Cabbage Moth, Bright-line Brown-eye, 2 White-points, 2 Common Wainscots, Grey Dagger, 4 Copper Underwings, 3 Angle Shades, 2 Small Wainscots, Rosy Rustic, Vine's Rustic, 3 Burnished Brasses, 8 Spectacles, Red Underwing, 3 Straw Dots, 4 Snouts and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Small Wainscot, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Two leafhoppers both proved to be new species for me: Macrosteles viridigriseus and Eupteryx aurata.  Other insects included 3 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum, Slender Groundhopper, Birch Shieldbug and Forest Bug.

Macrosteles viridigriseus, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Eupteryx aurata, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


After all that I might have expected a reasonable night at home, but it was rubbish! Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 5 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Single-dotted Wave, Brimstone Moth, 3 Willow Beauties, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, 2 Small Square-spots, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 4 Common Wainscots, 5 Flounced Rustics and Rosy Rustic.  Also the mayflies Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum and Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita, the caddisflies Hydropsyche pellucidula and Grouse Wing Mystacides longicornis and the beetles Black Clock Beetle Pterostichus madidus and 2 Aphodius rufipes.

Perhaps one reason there weren't many moths at home was this frog... They've been becoming more adventurous, starting off sitting on the sheet round the outside of the trap, then hopping up on top of the trap and it was only a matter of time before I found one inside the trap.

Common Frog, North Elmham, 26th August


Potentially the best moth the following night escaped before I could confirm it.  I wondered if it was a Pearly Underwing as it appeared to show a bit of a thoracic crest, but this wasn't particularly clear and in hindsight I feel it was more likely just a Turnip Moth (either way it would have been new for the year).  Other moths were Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, 3 Single-dotted Waves, Dusky Thorn, Willow Beauty, 2 Light Emeralds, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 3 Common Wainscots, 5 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic and 2 Burnished Brasses. Also Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita, Limnephilus lunatus and Aphodius rufipes.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

A good new moth overshadowed by a first for Norfolk

If Frost's Common didn't quite live up to expectations on Tuesday 22nd August, the garden moth trap certainly did.  A haul of 165 moths of 61 species wasn't at all bad for the second half of August and there were a couple of noteworthy species among them.  By far the best was this Dark Smudge Ypsolopha horridella, a new moth for me and also just the 7th record for Norfolk.


Dark Smudge Ypsolopha horridella, North Elmham, 22nd August


This Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana was new for the year.


Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana, North Elmham, 22nd August


The other moths were White Oak Midget Phyllonorycter harrisella, Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, 6 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, 4 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 6 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 25 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 3 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Pebble Hook-tip, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Garden Carpet, 2 Common Carpets, Yellow Shell, Common Marbled Carpet, 6 Green Carpets, Sharp-angled Carpet, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 11 Brimstone Moths, Common White Wave, 2 Common Waves, 5 Light Emeralds, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 6 Flame Shoulders, 9 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, 2 Six-striped Rustics, Square-spot Rustic, 6 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, 6 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 3 Vine's Rustics, 3 Straw Dots and 5 Snouts.

So the moths were good, but the real highlight wasn't a moth but a waxfly, tiny relatives of lacewings covered in powdery white scales.  Several species of waxfly can't be identified if they are females and when I keyed this one out the other day I looked at its abdomen and sexed it as a female.  At this point I nearly threw it away thinking it would not be possible to determine it, but at the last minute I decided to macerate its abdomen to get a better look just in case I was mistaken.  What a good job I did, as it was in fact a male, and thus identifiable by examining its genitalia... and they proved that it was Semidalis pseudouncinata.  Not only a new species for me, but a new species for Norfolk!  This is a relatively new species in Britain, until recently only known from the south-east, but was considered likely to expand its range into other parts and I gather it has now been found just over the border at Santon Downham.


Semidalis pseudouncinata, North Elmham, 22nd August


I have caught just 5 waxflies at home this year.  Three were Conwentzia sp. that could not be identified to species as they were females and the two males that could be fully identified were both new species for Norfolk (here is a link to my account of the other, Coniopteryx esbenpeterseni).

Other lacewings that night were Chrysoperla carnea, Cunctochrysa albolineata, Nineta vittata and Hemerobius lutescens, the last being new for the year.

Hemerobius lutescens, North Elmham, 22nd August


A Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum was the only mayfly and the best caddisfly was another Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum - recorded now on three consecutive nights.  Other caddisflies were Hydropsyche siltalai, 5 Hydropsyche pellucidula and Limnephilus lunatus and there were 2 Forest Bugs and the leafhopper Empoasca vitis.

The best of the beetles was my first ever Amara bifrons.  Others were Bradycellus verbasci, 3 Aphodius rufipes, Stenagostus rhombeus and Harlequin Ladybird.

Amara bifrons, North Elmham, 22nd August

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Dark Spectacle and Feathered Gothic

A few moths on the patch at Bittering on Wednesday 23rd August were Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella and Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis.

That night New Oak Slender Caloptilia robustella and Dark Spectacle were new for the year.

New Oak Slender Caloptilia robustella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd August


Dark Spectacle, North Elmham, 23rd August


The other moths were Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 4 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 24 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 8 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 4 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, Chinese Character, 3 Blood-veins, Single-dotted Wave, 3 Common Carpets, 2 Yellow Shells, 3 Green Carpets, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 5 Brimstone Moths, 2 Canary-shouldered Thorns, Dusky Thorn, Engrailed, Common Wave, 4 Light Emeralds, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 2 Flame Shoulders, 6 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 4 Common Wainscots, 10 Flounced Rustics, Vine's Rustic, 6 Straw Dots and Snout.

Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, North Elmham, 23rd August


Other insects included the mayflies Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum and Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum and the caddisflies Hydropsyche pellucidula and Limnephilus sparsus. There were 2 Birch Shieldbugs and a Forest Bug and but it was the beetles that got me a lifer, the water beetle Rhantus frontalis (along with another Trechus quadristriatus, following my first two nights previous, and Aphodius rufipes).

Rhantus frontalis, North Elmham, 23rd August


Trechus quadristriatus, North Elmham, 23rd August


The following night was quieter with nothing of real note: Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 10 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 5 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Orange Swift, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Green Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Common Wave, Light Emerald, Swallow Prominent, 3 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 2 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, Straw Underwing, 6 Flounced Rustics, 2 Vine's Rustics, Burnished Brass and Straw Dot. Also the caddisfly Lype phaeopa.

There were fewer species the next night but a couple of more interesting ones.  A Pointed Slender Parornix finitimella was only my second ever following one here in 2015 and a Feathered Gothic was a nice addition to the year list.

Pointed Slender Parornix finitimella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 25th August



Feathered Gothic, North Elmham, 25th August


Other moths were Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 5 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 6 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 6 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Shaded Broad-bar, 4 Brimstone Moths, 3 Light Emeralds, 4 Flame Shoulders, 8 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 4 Square-spot Rustics, 4 Common Wainscots, 8 Flounced Rustics, 3 Vine's Rustics and Straw Dot. Other insects included the caddisflies Hydropsyche siltalai, 4 Hydropsyche pellucidula, Limnephilus lunatus, the leafhopper Empoasca vitis and 3 of the dung beetles Aphodius rufipes.