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, 8 November 2015

Another Prays ruficeps as the moths make way for non-Lepidopteran interest

I recently posted about my first ever Dark Ash Bud Moth Prays ruficeps, but when I caught that one I didn't have time to work out what it was and potted it up to look at later.  I hadn't done so when I caught another unfamiliar moth on 24th September, and I hadn't a clue what it was.  This one was a bit worn, and the pale reddish collar from which it gets its name ruficeps wasn't clear.  It was not only a species I wasn't familiar with, but a member of a whole family I wasn't familiar with, and it wasn't really on my radar.  At first I thought it was a Tineid, but although some of the rarer clothes moths could look superficially similar it didn't really look right for a Tineid and none of the likely species matched at all.  Perhaps a worn Scythrid I pondered, but it would have to be not only a very rare species that normally flies in daytime (it was caught overnight) but also flying much later than normal.  Not likely.  Eventually I followed Rob's advice and used the Kleine Vinders key to families in order to at least resolve what family it was in.  These keys aren't always easy to use, but it pointed to Yponomeutidae.  Well, there aren't any Yponomeutids that look anything like this, so that can't be right.  But the size and shape of the moth was somewhat reminiscent of some Yponomeutids.  Then I remembered that some species formerly considered part of Yponomeutidae are now treated as a separate family - specifically Prayidae.  Some of my references don't cover Prays ruficeps as it used to be considered to be a dark form of Ash Bud Moth Prays fraxinella, so perhaps that's my excuse for overlooking it, but anyway once I checked the Prayidae thumbnails on Norfolk Moths, all became clear.

Dark Ash Bud Moth Prays ruficeps, North Elmham, 24th September

Otherwise it was a pretty poor night with just Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brimstone Moth, Light Emerald, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, 18 Lunar Underwings and Sallow.

I think this Harvestman may be Odiellus spinosus, but if anyone who knows their Arachnids can confirm that would be great...

possible Odiellus spinosus, North Elmham, 24th September

On 25th September another attempt to find avian migrants in my lunch break failed, but I did find Stoat, Migrant Hawker and Hairy Shieldbug.

Hairy Shieldbug, Thornham, 25th September

The next couple of nights' mothing was extremely poor: 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, 5 Lunar Underwings and Sallow on 25th (along with a Speckled Bush-Cricket), Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana and 2 Lunar Underwings on 26th.

 Speckled Bush-Cricket, North Elmham, 25th September

On 27th I enjoyed some interesting non-avian activity while out birding, which I've already posted about on my birding diary.  Specifically this Stoat 12' up a tree (with a Yellow-browed Warbler) was interesting...

Stoat, Brancaster Staithe, 27th September

...and I enjoyed watching Bats (were they Noctules?) in the evening:

Bats (Noctules?), Burnham Norton, 27th September

With cold clear nights continuing the mothing remained poor: 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Square-spot Rustic and 5 Lunar Underwings on 27th and Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Dusky Thorn, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing and 5 Lunar Underwings on 28th.

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