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, 25 August 2016

Monster night: 838 moths, 152 species, 5 lifers, all in one night in one tiny garden

23rd July was a monster.  I mentioned in my account of a couple of nights previous that there was a ring of Water Veneers round the trap in the evening, mostly vanished by first light.  It was the same on 23rd, except there were even more: a writhing mass of 250 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella in a circle round the trap when I went to bed and almost none evident come the morning.  Well that was interesting enough, but it was also a good indication of what a good night it would prove to be.

It was the micros that generated most of the excitement.  Indeed there were more micros - and more species of micro - than macros.  So sorry if you're only interested in macros - they weren't bad either, but you'll have to scroll down to read about them.

My first lifer was a unique yellow-spotted species that I've long wanted to see.  It's pretty local and most records in Norfolk are from the east, so it wasn't one I was particularly expecting at home.  In the end it wasn't quite as peculiar-looking and remarkable as it looks in some of the photos elsewhere, and it never held its forelegs out perpendicularly as they do in their most characteristic pose.  But even so, an exciting find.  It was, of course, Alder Signal Stathmopoda pedella.

Alder Signal Stathmopoda pedella, North Elmham, 23rd July

Second was another relatively straightforward moth to identify (i.e. it didn't need dissecting), though unlike the last this one wasn't on my radar at all.  It was a Juniper Argent Argyresthia dilectella.  There are only 8 previous records of this species in Norfolk and only one in the last 8 years, so quite a scarce moth it would seem.

Juniper Argent Argyresthia dilectella, North Elmham, 23rd July

The third one was the last one that was obvious before getting the microscope out, a Lichen Sober Dichomeris alacella.  This one wasn't recorded in Norfolk between 1889 and 2011 but there have been multiple records every year since then.

Lichen Sober Dichomeris alacella, North Elmham, 23rd July

The last two lifers didn't materialise until I dissected the Coleophora I'd retained and were Spikenard Case-bearer Coleophora conyzae and Grey Alder Case-bearer Coleophora binderella.  The former is known only from the Brecks and Foxley Wood in Norfolk, with just 6 previous records, mostly larvae.  Binderella is a little more frequently recorded, though not much with only 4 previous records listed as relating to adults.

Spikenard Case-bearer Coleophora conyzae (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Grey Alder Case-bearer Coleophora binderella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Two other species were new for the house: Marbled Conch Eupoecilia angustana and Bright Bell Eucosma hohenwartiana.

Bright Bell Eucosma hohenwartiana, North Elmham, 23rd July

Marbled Conch Eupoecilia angustana, North Elmham, 23rd July

No shortage of other micros that were new for the year here: Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, White-headed Ermel Paraswammerdamia albicapitella, Dark Thistle Case-bearer Coleophora paripennella, New Tawny Tubic Batia lunaris, Dotted Grey Groundling Athrips mouffetella, Four-spotted Obscure Oegoconia quadripuncta, 2 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Pine Cosmet Batrachedra pinicolella, Common Cosmet Mompha epilobiella, White-triangle Button Acleris holmiana, Brown Elm Bell Epinotia abbreviana, Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata and Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis.

White-triangle Button Acleris holmiana, North Elmham, 23rd July

Dotted Grey Groundling Athrips mouffetella, North Elmham, 23rd July

New Tawny Tubic Batia lunaris, North Elmham, 23rd July

Dark Thistle Case-bearer Coleophora paripennella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, North Elmham, 23rd July

Pine Cosmet Batrachedra pinicolella, North Elmham, 23rd July

Four-spotted Obscure Oegoconia quadripuncta (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Other highlights among the micros were 2 Dull Red Groundlings Bryotropha senectella, Ash-coloured Sober Acompsia cinerella, Scarce Obscure Oegoconia deauratella, Rose Tortrix Archips rosana, 2 Cereal Tortrixes Cnephasia pumicana, Summer Rose Bell Notocelia roborana and Base-lined Grey Scoparia basistrigalis.

Obscure Slender Oegoconia deauratella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Dull Red Groundling Bryotropha senectella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Ash-coloured Sober Acompsia cinerella, North Elmham, 23rd July

Cereal Tortrixes Cnephasia pumicana (males, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

A long list of other micros not so far mentioned: Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella, Fulvous Clothes Moth Tinea semifulvella, Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella (plus 2 unidentified Phyllonorycter probably the same), 20 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, 2 Hawthorn Ermels Paraswammerdamia nebulella, 7 Diamond-back Moths Plutella xylostella, 4 Common Oak Case-bearers Coleophora lutipennella, Speckled Case-bearer Coleophora sternipennella, 2 Grey Rush Case-bearers Coleophora glaucicolella, 2 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, 3 Golden-brown Tubics Crassa unitella, Small Dingy Tubic Borkhausenia fuscescens, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 4 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, 4 Cinereous Groundlings Bryotropha terrella, Gorse Crest Brachmia blandella, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, 3 Bulrush Cosmets Limnaecia phragmitella, Hawthorn Cosmet Blastodacna hellerella, Burdock Conch Aethes rubigana, 6 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrixes Pandemis heparana, Timothy Tortrix Aphelia paleana, 3 Privet Tortrixes Clepsis consimilana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 9 Grey Tortrixes Cnephasia stephensiana, 3 Flax Tortrixes Cnephasia asseclana, 6 Dover Shades Cnephasia genitalana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 5 Barred Marbles Celypha striana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Plum Tortrix Hedya pruniana, 4 Marbled Orchard Tortrixes Hedya nubiferana, Triangle-marked Roller Ancylis achatana, Grey Poplar Bell Epinotia nisella, 3 Holly Tortrixes Rhopobota naevana, Common Cloaked Shoot Gypsonoma dealbana, 2 Bud Moths Spilonota ocellana, 3 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 11 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, 7 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, 2 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Pale Water-veneer Donacaula forficella, 9 Little Greys Eudonia lacustrata, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, 2 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, 4 Beautiful China-marks Nymphula nitidulata, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, Elder Pearl Anania coronata, 16 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Double-striped Tabbies Hypsopygia glaucinalis, 3 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis, Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella and False Cacao Moth Ephestia unicolorella.

Burdock Conch Aethes rubigana, North Elmham, 23rd July

Dover Shades Cnephasia genitalana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Among the macros just five were new for the year here: Slender Pug, Black Arches, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Fen Wainscot and Small Rufous.

Black Arches, North Elmham, 23rd July

Fen Wainscot, North Elmham, 23rd July

Lesser Yellow Underwing, North Elmham, 23rd July

Slender Pug (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Small Rufous, North Elmham, 23rd July

There was a particularly good show of Footmen with 31 Rosy Footmen, 43 Dingy Footmen, 14 Scarce Footmen and 49 Common Footmen.

Phoenix and Bordered Pug were probably the best of the rest, the others being Pebble Hook-tip, 3 Chinese Characters, 2 Small Blood-veins, 12 Small Fan-footed Waves, 15 Single-dotted Waves, 23 Riband Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Large Twin-spot Carpets, 6 Shaded Broad-bars, 4 Common Carpets, 2 Yellow Shells, July Highflyer, 5 Small Rivulets, Grey Pug, 2 Green Pugs, Double-striped Pug, 2 Small Yellow Waves, 6 Clouded Borders, 4 Brimstone Moths, 5 Early Thorns, 4 Scalloped Oaks, Swallow-tailed Moth, Clouded Silver, Poplar Hawkmoth, 3 Elephant Hawkmoths, Coxcomb Prominent, 6 Yellow-tails, 3 Buff Ermines, 2 Ruby Tigers, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 12 Double Square-spots, Dot Moth, Brown-line Bright-eye, 9 Clays, 5 Smoky Wainscots, 4 Dun-bars, 2 Dark Arches, Slender Brindle, Rufous Minor, 3 Cloaked Minors, Common Rustic (plus a Common Rustic agg.), 2 Dusky Sallows, Ear Moth, 35 Uncertains, 5 Rustics, Mottled Rustic, Nut-tree Tussock, Burnished Brass, 2 Spectacles, 3 Straw Dots, 2 Snouts and 7 Fan-foots.

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Ear Moth (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Slender Brindle, North Elmham, 23rd July

There were some good things among the other insects too, including some more lifers.  This Dark Bush-cricket was new for the house.

Dark Bush-cricket, North Elmham, 23rd July

The Green Lacewings turned out to consist of 4 species, two of which were new to me: Chrysopa commata, Cunctochrysa albolineata, 2 Dichochrysa flavifrons and Dichochrysa prasina - the albolineata and prasina being the lifers.

Cunctochrysa albolineata, North Elmham, 23rd July

Dichochrysa prasina, North Elmham, 23rd July

One caddisfly was a lifer: Agraylea multipunctata.  It was quite worn and not the prettiest creature I saw that night.  Others were Orthotrichia costalis, Crunoecia irrorata (this was the species which looked like it might be new for the vice county when I had one before, but I've still not checked if that is the case or not), Limnephilus lunatus, 2 Athripsodes aterrimus, Leptocerus tineiformis and 5 Mystacides longicornis.

Agraylea multipunctata, North Elmham, 23rd July

Crunoecia irrorata, North Elmham, 23rd July

Orthotrichia costalis, North Elmham, 23rd July

What a cracking night!  The only downside was that it took me 6 hours to go through the trap, several more hours to photograph what I retained for closer examination and process the photos and countless more hours to dissect all those that needed gen detting.  An awful lot of time invested in one night's mothing, but fantastic results and well worth the effort.  And the next day still to come... expect an even bigger species count!

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