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, 9 January 2016

First lifer of the year - a surprise Viburnum Button

When I came in from checking the moth trap this morning a small moth flew on to the patio window and was duly potted for closer examination.  Presumably it had been attracted to the light overnight but rested outside of the trap and I'd disturbed it as I came away.  My first impression was that it was a broad-winged greyish Acleris species, presumably Ashy Button Acleris sparsana.  But that's not supposed to hibernate so shouldn't be flying at this time of year, and on second look it didn't look quite as broad-shouldered as I'd thought at first.  I went through a number of other options with nothing coming out as entirely convincing so, still expecting nothing out of the ordinary, I checked its genitalia.  They didn't match any of the suspects at all, nor any other Acleris species that has been recorded in Norfolk in winter.  A bit more searching and I found it, the genitalia were a match but the external appearance was unlike most examples of this species.  I turned to Lepiforum for a broader image search and sure enough there was one much like mine.  It was a Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana, a new species for me.

I certainly didn't expect to get a new moth this early in the year, so very happy with that! Acleris schalleriana has two generations, one in summer which seems to be responsible for all of the dated Norfolk records, and one in autumn to spring that presumably hibernates through most winters.  It seems to be fairly scarce (said to be rare but undoubtedly under-recorded) with no records in the Norfolk database yet for the whole of last year.

Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 8th January

There was one moth in the trap itself, my first Chestnut of the year.  And I didn't expect there to be any moths last night!  Always worth putting the trap out just in case...

Chestnut, North Elmham, 8th January

This Harlequin ladybird has been hibernating in my study but woke up this morning.

Harlequin, North Elmham, 9th January

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