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.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Lolly Longhorn

Meadow Long-horn is one of those moths that has been on my radar for a while but which I'd not managed to find.  Photos on Twitter by Mark Clements of one on Cuckoo Flowers near Sheringham made me think.  Lolly Moor has Cuckoo Flower - I bet they're there.  So on Sunday afternoon a brief spell of brightness was enough to get me down to Lolly Moor with Dave.  First observation, apart from the mass of Grass Rivulets (50+) was that there wasn't so much Cuckoo Flower there as I'd thought.  There was a bit, and I checked it but to no avail.

A few other moths were flying.  It wasn't long before we'd seen the first of at least 14 Cinereous Pearls Anania fuscalis.  One in the Attleborough square in 1996 was the first post-Victorian record in Norfolk and there were no more until Dave found some here at Lolly Moor last year.  Great to see they're still thriving this year and shows the importance of what is quite a poorly-known and very small NWT reserve.

Cinereous Pearl Anania fuscalis, Lolly Moor, 22nd May

A couple of weeks ago we'd found Knapweed Conches Epiblema cirsiana here and today at least 6 were seen again.  I took one home to check it and that proved quite interesting.  The best feature for males is the colour of the hindwing - very dark in cirsiana and paler in scutulana (it's dark on both species for females).  This wasn't very dark so by rights should have been scutulana, but I don't think it was.  It was a small moth - way smaller than the bottom end of the quoted size range of scutulana, and it lacked the extensive white at the rear dorsal corner of the wings that is apparent in most (not all) photos of scutulana and apparently not in cirsiana.  The male genitalia are extremely similar (I can't see any difference in photos) so that doesn't help but in view of the size, overall appearance and the fact that there are definitely cirsiana there makes me think it was cirsiana, and the reason for its not-too-dark hindwing being wear - it was quite a worn individual.

presumed Knapweed Bell Epiblema cirsiana, Lolly Moor, 22nd May

Many of the Buttercups scattered around the fen supported a few Plain Golds Micropterix calthella - I rough-counted 180 of them altogether.  Interestingly the dense stand of buttercups near the entrance didn't have a single moth on them.  Different species of Buttercup perhaps - I didn't check.  Quite a few (at least 8) Common Marbles Celypha lacunana were seen - my first this year.

Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Lolly Moor, 22nd May

Other moths included Swan-feather Dwarf Elachista argentella, Green Carpet and Scorched Carpet, and then we found a tiny Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla.

Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla (male, gen det), Lolly Moor, 22nd May

We were nearly done when I checked one last Cuckoo Flower and there on it was the moth I went there looking for, my first ever Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella.

Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, Lolly Moor, 22nd May

Around the same time I netted a small moth that turned out to be another new moth for me, Triple-striped Piercer Grapholita compositella.

Triple-striped Piercer Grapholita compositella, Lolly Moor, 22nd May

This Drinker caterpillar was by the path on the way out.

Drinker, Lolly Moor, 22nd May

Not bad for an hour or so's work at a small reserve 10 minutes from home.

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