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, 5 September 2015

A troublesome little plume

Among the catch on 10th August was a small pale plume moth.  It keyed out fairly straightforwardly as far as either Citron Plume Euleioptilus carphodactyla or Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla and given its pale lemon-yellow colouration I anticipated it would prove to be carphodactyla. Adaina microdactyla colour is variable - "usually pale ochreous, sometimes pale brown, rarely yellow or light grey" compared to "pale lemon-yellow" for Euleioptilus carphodactyla (from Colin Hart's British Plume Moths).  Pale lemon-yellow described this well (especially when looking under the microscope), but as microdactyla can rarely be yellow it warranted further work on the keys.  The underside of the forewing was dark brown at the base, becoming paler towards the cleft - that matched carphodactyla and was wrong for microdactyla which should be more uniformly dark.  However there was no sign of the contrast between the costal fringe of the first lobe and the inner fringe, which should be present on carphodactyla (but not microdactyla) - but then again the fringe was pretty much worn away at the tip, so that could be why.

I dissected it fully expecting to confirm it as Citron Plume Euleioptilus carphodactyla but had some trouble.  Apparently I hadn't left it in the acid long enough as it as difficult to see all I needed to and I damaged it in the process.  Nevertheless the large coiled ductus seminalis was plain to see and there was no sign of any forked tips to the apophyses anteriores, which won't mean a thing to you if you don't do dissections, but clearly identifies it as Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla rather than Euleioptilus carphodactyla if you do!  I suppose in hindsight it was pretty small for carphodactyla, but an interesting learning experience.

Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla (female, gen det), North Elmham, 10th August

Next best was a White-speckled Clothes Moth Nemapogon wolffiella.  In 2011-13 I recorded the second, third, fourth and fifth county records of this nationally scarce species, though only one of five records between then and now.  This is a new location, so nice to connect with another one here.

White-speckled Clothes Moth Nemapogon wolffiella, North Elmham, 10th August

A Grey-streaked Smudge Plutella porrectella was only my second ever, but unfortunately made its escape before I could get a photo.  New macros for the year were Oak Hook-tip and White-spotted Pug.

Oak Hook-tip, North Elmham, 10th August

White-spotted Pug, North Elmham, 10th August

Other macros were 2 Pebble Hook-tips, Maiden's Blush, Small Fan-footed Wave, 6 Single-dotted Waves, 7 Riband Waves, 2 Shaded Broad-bars, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Lime-speck Pug, Wormwood Pug, 2 Early Thorns, Purple Thorn, Scalloped Oak, 4 Willow Beauties, Elephant Hawkmoth, Pebble Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, 2 Coxcomb Prominents, 3 Yellow-tails, Black Arches, 4 Dingy Footmen, 6 Scarce Footmen, 3 Common Footmen, 2 Ruby Tigers, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 2 Flame Shoulders, 4 Large Yellow Underwings, 8 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, Smoky Wainscot, 2 Straw Underwings, 2 Dun-bars, 3 Dark Arches, 3 Common Rustics, 2 Flounced Rustics, Ear Moth, 2 Uncertains, 2 Nut-tree Tussocks and Straw Dot.

The rest of the micros were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, 2 Horse Chestnut Leaf-miners Cameraria ohridella, 3 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, 3 Woundwort Case-bearers Coleophora lineolea, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Brown House-moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Common Groundling Teleiodes vulgella, 2 Dark Groundlings Bryotropha affinis, Gorse Crest Brachmia blandella, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, Timothy Tortrix Aphelia paleana, Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana, 2 Maple Buttons Acleris forsskaleana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrices Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 2 Codling Moths Cydia pomonella, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 22 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 27 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Pearl Grass-veneers Catoptria pinella, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, 3 Chequered Straws Evergestis pallidata, 5 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis and Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis.

Common Groundling Teleiodes vulgella, North Elmham, 10th August

Other goodies in the moth trap included this fine Campyloneura virgula, a new species of bug for me.

Campyloneura virgula, North Elmham, 10th August

I'm pretty sure I've seen this species of Mayfly before though I can't find any I've identified as such, so perhaps not.  I think it's Ephemera vulgata*.  *Edit 2017: no it wasn't - it was Green Drake Ephemera danica.

Ephemera danica, North Elmham, 10th August

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