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.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Springtail and spring moths

A few nights with no moths came to an end with a Chestnut on 8th February.  The following day I identified a spider in the house as Amaurobius similis (I'm still working on the assumption that the similar fenestralis wouldn't be indoors but I'm not quite sure I've interpreted that correctly).

Amaurobius similis, North Elmham, 9th February

That night a Winter Moth was my latest ever and first February record.

Winter Moth, North Elmham, 9th February

Also in the trap was a Springtail.  I don't have a key for Springtail species identification but as far as I can tell from googling this one was Orchesella cincta (a very common species).  I think I've seen one before but I can't find any reference to it in my notes so I'm counting it as a first.  Springtails are supposed to be the most abundant creatures just about everywhere, but being tiny and living in the soil most of us are completely unaware of their existence.  They don't normally come to light - on the contrary - but I've seen at least 3 of the larger species when moth trapping now.  I don't recall seeing any actually inside the trap before though and it makes you wonder how it got there - did it jump in, or did it somehow get dropped in?

Orchesella cincta, North Elmham, 9th February

There were 2 Chestnuts the following night, the last moths for a couple of nights.  A 2-spot Ladybird woke up from hibernation in my study on 12th which reminded me I'd not put down any of the Harlequins that were doing likewise yet this year.

There were 2 moths on each of 13th, 14th and 15th: Early Moth and Chestnut, Dotted Border and Chestnut and Early Moth and Chestnut.

Nothing on 16th but the night of 17th February was the best night of the year so far in terms of numbers and variety with 8 moths of 4 species: March Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty, Hebrew Character and 5 Chestnuts. The March Moth was new for the year and the 5 Chestnuts was a record count for here.  Not bad for a frosty night!

March Moth, North Elmham, 17th February

I'm beginning to work through a few beetles I retained earlier last year but couldn't key them out successfully at the time.  Having practised a bit more over the course of last year I think I'm hoping I'll be able to name some of them now.  Certainly it's starting off that way.  The first I've re-examined was a Cabbage Flea Beetle Phyllotreta cruciferae, one of at least 6 similar beetles at Hills and Holes on 7th May and a new species for me.

Cabbage Leaf Beetle Phyllotreta cruciferae, Hills and Holes, 7th May 2017

The second and third were both species I'd identified before without resorting to keys, but for some reaons I'd hit a barrier when I looked at them in the spring.  Both were from 11th May, one a Tabacco-coloured Longhorn Beetle Alosterna tabacicolor from Thursford Wood and the other a Common Grammoptera Grammoptera ruficornis, one of 30 seen at Brancaster.

Tobacco-coloured LonghornBeetle Alosterna tabacicolor, Thursford Wood, 11th May 2017

Common Grammoptera Grammoptera ruficornis, Broad Lane, Brancaster, 11th May 2017

The next one eventually proved to be Luperus longicornis, another new species for me this time from Holt Lowes on 13th June.

Luperus longicornis, Holt Lowes, 13th June 2017

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