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.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Little Dwarfs

It sounds like some sort of small planetary body, Little Dwarf.  A tautology of a name and one that I'm sure must have the anti-English-names-for-micros brigade spitting feathers.  Elachista canapennella is its real name, for those who don't appreciate the attempt to make micros more accessible to the (English-speaking) masses by giving them common names.

This isn't a micro that's going to excite anyone except an already converted die-hard micro enthusiast - it's a tiny grey speck, possibly the most insignificant-looking moth you're ever likely to see.

Anyway, for such an easily overlooked micro there are quite a good number of records in Norfolk.  It had elluded me until I moved to North Elmham last year when I had six in my trap during September.  The past week has brounght three more.  Judging from other people's photos they can often be a bit more distinctive with a more contrasting black-and-white pattern, but all mine have been grey like these.  Not the easiest ID to be sure of but I did check these under the microscope (not easy then either!).  All were males - if the two individuals illustrated in MOGBI are anything to go by that might explain why so dull - the female pictured in MOGBI is far better marked than the male.
Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, North Elmham, 15th April

Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, North Elmham, 16th April

Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, North Elmham, 18th April

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