Description


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.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tricky truncicollela

The highlight on Monday 28th August a Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, a migrant species and new for the year.

Rush Venner Nomophila noctuella, North Elmham, 28th August


Also new for the year was this Svensson's Copper Underwing.

Svensson's Copper Underwing (male, gen det), North Elmham, 28th August


Otherwise it was a marginal improvement on the previous couple of nights but fairly mediocre: Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Apple/Orchard/Spindle Ermine agg. Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella agg., Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 6 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 3 Chinese Characters, 2 Single-dotted Waves, 3 Brimstone Moths, Dusky Thorn, Willow Beauty, 5 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 6 Square-spot Rustics, 6 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, 6 Flounced Rustics, Straw Dot, Snout and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Three mayflies were all different species, though the commonest species here: Lake Olive Cloeon simile, Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum and Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita.  A variety of caddisflies consisted of Oxyethira flavicornis, 2 Hydropsyche siltalai, 4 Hydropsyche pellucidula and another Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum.   There were also 3 Birch Shieldbugs, 5 Forest Bugs and 2 Aphodius rufipes.

Next day I found Case-bearing Clothes Moth Tinea pellionella and the leafhopper Kleidocerys resedae inside the house.  There were 2 more new moths for the year that night, Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria and Dark Ash Bud Moth Prays ruficeps.

Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria, North Elmham, 29th August


Dark Ash Bud Moth Prays ruficeps, North Elmham, 29th August


The male genitalia of Eudonia truncicolella and Eudonia mercurella are rather similar to one another but the two moths' outward appearance is so different this does not usually present a problem.  I am usually dissecting mercurella to separate from lacustrata and truncicolella to separate from one of the other larger species, not to separate them from one another.  I often dissect mercurella from home but so far have not had any candidates for truncicolella at home (they seem to be common on heathlands but not so much in garden habitat).  A Eudonia sp. trapped this night was retained as it was too worn to identify with confidence and when I went to dissect it I noticed it seemed to have that scratchy coarsely-marked appearance I associate more with truncicolla (shared with Scoparia basistrigalis to some degree but that's easy to eliminate on dissection if not before) - might this be my first garden truncicollela?  Well the genitalia confirmed we were dealing with Eudonia and taking other factors into account mercurella and truncicolella are the only feasible options.  What's left of the wing pattern seems to me to be a better fit for truncicolella than mercurella, but given how worn it is I am not confident.  Size would often be a help here but though this is comfortably in range for truncicolella it's also within range for a large mercurella.  You can separate murana from truncicolella by the presence or absence of a hamus, a little structure near the base of the forewing.  This lacked a hamus like truncicollela but I can't find any references that say whether mercurella should have a hamus or not.  I could check this myself when I trap some more but that probably won't be until next year now.  It's a bit on the late side for mercurella but there are still truncicollela flying - however it's not too late for mercurella.  All things considered I regard this as a possible Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, but I am not certain enough to add it to my garden list yet.  Maybe in due course I will be able to find suffiicient differences in the genitalia to enable a confident ID and then, or if I ever find mercurella does have a hamus, I might be able to retrospectively record it, but for now I shall await a fresher specimen or a female.

 possible Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, North Elmham, 29th August


Although I didn't get a positive ID out of this the experience has taught me one thing that's useful.  I was under the impression that murana was a north-western species that would be highly unlikely to occur in Norfolk.  I also thought that they were a bit more obviously different than they really are (judging by some photos I have now seen) and so haven't ever bothered critically checking specimens of truncicolella to eliminate murana.  In researching this moth I find that there is a record of murana from Suffolk and a suggestion on the Suffolk Moths website that the species is "probably not very rare".  If that's really the case in Suffolk then it's probably true in Norfolk too (though no records to date), so I should probably be looking at truncicolella more carefully in future.

Other moths were 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 4 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 7 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, Smoky-barred Marble Lobesia abscisana, 3 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 4 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Chinese Characters, 4 Blood-veins, 2 Small Dusty Waves, Single-dotted Wave, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Garden Carpet, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, 3 Green Carpets, Currant Pug, Treble-bar, 7 Brimstone Moths, Willow Beauty, 7 Light Emeralds, Coxcomb Prominent, Flame Shoulder, 7 Large Yellow Underwings, 15 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 3 Square-spot Rustics, Feathered Gothic, 9 Common Wainscots, Copper Underwing, Straw Underwing, 9 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 2 Vine's Rustics, 2 Burnished Brasses, Straw Dot, 7 Snouts and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, North Elmham, 29th August


Mayflies consisted of 2 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum and a Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum.  A good selection of caddisflies too: 2 Polycentropus flavomaculatus, Hydropsyche siltalai, 9 Hydropsyche pellucidula, Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum, Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus, Grammotaulius nigropunctatus, Limnephilus auricula, 9 Limnephilus lunatus and Limnephilus marmoratus.  Also 3 Aphodius rufipes (dung-beetles).

The following night was quite poor: Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Blood-vein, 2 Light Emeralds, Coxcomb Prominent, 4 Large Yellow Underwings, 11 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 2 Common Wainscots, 9 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, Straw Dot and Snout; also the caddisflies  Limnephilus lunatus and 2 Limnephilus marmoratus.

The next night wasn't much better: Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brimstone Moth, Common White Wave, 5 Light Emeralds, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Six-striped Rustic, 3 Square-spot Rustics, 3 Common Wainscots, 9 Flounced Rustics, 2 Vine's Rustics and Snout; also 3 Limnephilus lunatus (caddis) and Aphodius rufipes (beetle).

September kicked off with my first Centre-barred Sallow of the year.

Centre-barred Sallow, North Elmham, 1st September


Again not a huge catch that night: 5 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 5 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chinese Character, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, Sharp-angled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Engrailed, 4 Light Emeralds, Poplar Hawk-moth, Large Yellow Underwing, 8 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 7 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, Mouse Moth, 9 Flounced Rustics, 2 Burnished Brasses, 3 Snouts, Hydropsyche pellucidula, Limnephilus lunatus and Aphodius rufipes.

Next day I was at Minsmere where in addition to Small Copper and Common Blue butterflies we found a Frosted Orange feeding on Fleabane and a Copper Underwing in the Bittern hide.  Moths in the garden that night consisted of 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Double-striped Pug, Light Emerald, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Square-spot Rustics and 12 Flounced Rustics.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A rare new moth for Norfolk at Surlingham

On Saturday 26th August the Norfolk Moth Survey went to Brickyard Fen at Surlingham, close to the Ted Ellis reserve.  The weather was ok-ish and the habitat looked interesting so we were keen to see what we might catch.  It proved to be an excellent night with lots of interesting moths including three that were new to me.

The best of these was a fantastic find, picked out of Garry's trap it was passed round the group of us to look at.  I was last in line this time and had to listed to person after person deliberating over it, and struggling to put a name to it.  I was keen to see it - it sounded interesting!  Finally it reached me and I agreed with others that it looked like a Gynnidomorpha sp. or something similar, but not a species I recognised either.  A quick look at the British Moths app on my phone came up with a good match for Coast Conch Gynnidomoprha permixtana but the range map suggested that this species did not occur in East Anglia.  I had no internet connectivity here so couldn't investigate any further and took the moth home to have a more careful look.

Back at home a closer look and further investigation confirmed that it did indeed look like permixtana, but this would be a very significant record.  I found a picture of Gynnidomorpha vectisana that looked pretty close and deduced that this could not be positively ruled out without dissection.  Vectisana is fairly unlikely here, being a coastal species, but perhaps more likely than a species that hadn't been recorded in East Anglia before!  I couldn't find any other serious contenders though I couldn't be 100% sure that certain other species couldn't ever look like this.  Now it needed the chop to determine, but it wasn't entirely clear to me whether I would be able to resolve it even then - the differences in genitalia aren't huge.  One little bit of the genitalia has stout hairs on its tip in one species and fine bristles on the other species.  Would I be able to tell the difference between a stout hair and a fine bristle?  I wasn't sure, but by comparing what I could see with images on the internet I was now almost completely sure that we were indeed dealing with permixtana.  However, I thought I'd best get it checked out so sent photos to Jon Clifton for his advice.  He was pretty sure too, but in view of the significance of the record he forwarded my photos to Bob Heckford who is an expert on the species.  In the meantime Stuart reminded me of what I had forgotten he had said on the night, that there was a large amount of Red Bartsia growing at the site, one of permixtana's favourite foodplants. Finally we heard back from Bob... it was indeed Gynnidomorpha permixtana!


Coast Conch Gynnidomorpha permixtana (male, gen det, confirmed by J Clifton/B Heckford), Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Far less unusual but still new moths for me were White-bodied Conch Cochylis hybridella and Spindle Knot-horn Nephopterix angustella.

White-bodied Conch Cochylis hybridella, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Spindle Know-horn Nephopterix angustella, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Other good records included 2 Large Lance-wings Epermenia falciformis, Oblique Carpet, Balsam Carpet, Bordered Beauty, Vapourer, 2 Crescents and 6 Webb's Wainscots.

Balsam Carpet, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


There was quite a bit of discussion about the ID of this Gold Spot with at least one person seemingly convinced it was Lempke's Gold Spot.  I wasn't convinced, but hoped he was right as it is a species I can't seem to find, so took it home to dissect and confirm.  Sadly it was just a Gold Spot (one of 5, not that I retained any more but we were all agreed about the others).

Gold Spot (male, gen det), Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


The other moths I saw were these (as usual for events like this the counts are the mimimum number I could remember seeing - there were probably lots more): Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella, Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, 4 Triple-spot Dwarfs Elachista maculicerusella, 2 Hook-marked Straw Moths Agapeta hamana, 4 Cyclamen Tortrixes Clepsis spectrana, 8 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 20 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Smoky-barred Marbles Lobesia abscisana, 2 Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana, Grey Poplar Bell Epinotia nisella, Wainscot Veneer Chilo phragmitella, Bulrush Veneer Calamotropha paludella, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, 5 Brown China-marks Elophila nymphaeata, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Orange Swifts, 4 Chinese Characters, 2 Lesser Cream Waves, Common Carpet, Yellow Shell, 2 Common Marbled Carpets, 4 Green Carpets, Currant Pug, Clouded Border, 5 Brimstone Moths, 3 Dusky Thorns, 2 Willow Beauties, Engrailed, Common White Wave, 2 Common Waves, 5 Light Emeralds, Round-winged Muslin, Dingy Footman, 2 Ruby Tigers, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame, 10 Flame Shoulders, 25 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 10 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 25 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 6 Six-striped Rustics, 10 Square-spot Rustics, Cabbage Moth, Bright-line Brown-eye, 2 White-points, 2 Common Wainscots, Grey Dagger, 4 Copper Underwings, 3 Angle Shades, 2 Small Wainscots, Rosy Rustic, Vine's Rustic, 3 Burnished Brasses, 8 Spectacles, Red Underwing, 3 Straw Dots, 4 Snouts and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Small Wainscot, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Two leafhoppers both proved to be new species for me: Macrosteles viridigriseus and Eupteryx aurata.  Other insects included 3 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum, Slender Groundhopper, Birch Shieldbug and Forest Bug.

Macrosteles viridigriseus, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


Eupteryx aurata, Surlingham Brickyard Fen, 26th August


After all that I might have expected a reasonable night at home, but it was rubbish! Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 5 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Single-dotted Wave, Brimstone Moth, 3 Willow Beauties, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, 2 Small Square-spots, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 4 Common Wainscots, 5 Flounced Rustics and Rosy Rustic.  Also the mayflies Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum and Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita, the caddisflies Hydropsyche pellucidula and Grouse Wing Mystacides longicornis and the beetles Black Clock Beetle Pterostichus madidus and 2 Aphodius rufipes.

Perhaps one reason there weren't many moths at home was this frog... They've been becoming more adventurous, starting off sitting on the sheet round the outside of the trap, then hopping up on top of the trap and it was only a matter of time before I found one inside the trap.

Common Frog, North Elmham, 26th August


Potentially the best moth the following night escaped before I could confirm it.  I wondered if it was a Pearly Underwing as it appeared to show a bit of a thoracic crest, but this wasn't particularly clear and in hindsight I feel it was more likely just a Turnip Moth (either way it would have been new for the year).  Other moths were Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, 3 Single-dotted Waves, Dusky Thorn, Willow Beauty, 2 Light Emeralds, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 3 Common Wainscots, 5 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic and 2 Burnished Brasses. Also Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita, Limnephilus lunatus and Aphodius rufipes.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

A good new moth overshadowed by a first for Norfolk

If Frost's Common didn't quite live up to expectations on Tuesday 22nd August, the garden moth trap certainly did.  A haul of 165 moths of 61 species wasn't at all bad for the second half of August and there were a couple of noteworthy species among them.  By far the best was this Dark Smudge Ypsolopha horridella, a new moth for me and also just the 7th record for Norfolk.


Dark Smudge Ypsolopha horridella, North Elmham, 22nd August


This Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana was new for the year.


Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana, North Elmham, 22nd August


The other moths were White Oak Midget Phyllonorycter harrisella, Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, 6 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, 4 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 6 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 25 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 3 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Pebble Hook-tip, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Garden Carpet, 2 Common Carpets, Yellow Shell, Common Marbled Carpet, 6 Green Carpets, Sharp-angled Carpet, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 11 Brimstone Moths, Common White Wave, 2 Common Waves, 5 Light Emeralds, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 6 Flame Shoulders, 9 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, 2 Six-striped Rustics, Square-spot Rustic, 6 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, 6 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 3 Vine's Rustics, 3 Straw Dots and 5 Snouts.

So the moths were good, but the real highlight wasn't a moth but a waxfly, tiny relatives of lacewings covered in powdery white scales.  Several species of waxfly can't be identified if they are females and when I keyed this one out the other day I looked at its abdomen and sexed it as a female.  At this point I nearly threw it away thinking it would not be possible to determine it, but at the last minute I decided to macerate its abdomen to get a better look just in case I was mistaken.  What a good job I did, as it was in fact a male, and thus identifiable by examining its genitalia... and they proved that it was Semidalis pseudouncinata.  Not only a new species for me, but a new species for Norfolk!  This is a relatively new species in Britain, until recently only known from the south-east, but was considered likely to expand its range into other parts and I gather it has now been found just over the border at Santon Downham.


Semidalis pseudouncinata, North Elmham, 22nd August


I have caught just 5 waxflies at home this year.  Three were Conwentzia sp. that could not be identified to species as they were females and the two males that could be fully identified were both new species for Norfolk (here is a link to my account of the other, Coniopteryx esbenpeterseni).

Other lacewings that night were Chrysoperla carnea, Cunctochrysa albolineata, Nineta vittata and Hemerobius lutescens, the last being new for the year.

Hemerobius lutescens, North Elmham, 22nd August


A Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum was the only mayfly and the best caddisfly was another Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum - recorded now on three consecutive nights.  Other caddisflies were Hydropsyche siltalai, 5 Hydropsyche pellucidula and Limnephilus lunatus and there were 2 Forest Bugs and the leafhopper Empoasca vitis.

The best of the beetles was my first ever Amara bifrons.  Others were Bradycellus verbasci, 3 Aphodius rufipes, Stenagostus rhombeus and Harlequin Ladybird.

Amara bifrons, North Elmham, 22nd August

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Dark Spectacle and Feathered Gothic

A few moths on the patch at Bittering on Wednesday 23rd August were Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella and Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis.

That night New Oak Slender Caloptilia robustella and Dark Spectacle were new for the year.

New Oak Slender Caloptilia robustella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd August


Dark Spectacle, North Elmham, 23rd August


The other moths were Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 4 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 24 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 8 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 4 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, Chinese Character, 3 Blood-veins, Single-dotted Wave, 3 Common Carpets, 2 Yellow Shells, 3 Green Carpets, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 5 Brimstone Moths, 2 Canary-shouldered Thorns, Dusky Thorn, Engrailed, Common Wave, 4 Light Emeralds, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 2 Flame Shoulders, 6 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 4 Common Wainscots, 10 Flounced Rustics, Vine's Rustic, 6 Straw Dots and Snout.

Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, North Elmham, 23rd August


Other insects included the mayflies Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum and Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum and the caddisflies Hydropsyche pellucidula and Limnephilus sparsus. There were 2 Birch Shieldbugs and a Forest Bug and but it was the beetles that got me a lifer, the water beetle Rhantus frontalis (along with another Trechus quadristriatus, following my first two nights previous, and Aphodius rufipes).

Rhantus frontalis, North Elmham, 23rd August


Trechus quadristriatus, North Elmham, 23rd August


The following night was quieter with nothing of real note: Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 10 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 5 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Orange Swift, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Green Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Common Wave, Light Emerald, Swallow Prominent, 3 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 2 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, Straw Underwing, 6 Flounced Rustics, 2 Vine's Rustics, Burnished Brass and Straw Dot. Also the caddisfly Lype phaeopa.

There were fewer species the next night but a couple of more interesting ones.  A Pointed Slender Parornix finitimella was only my second ever following one here in 2015 and a Feathered Gothic was a nice addition to the year list.

Pointed Slender Parornix finitimella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 25th August



Feathered Gothic, North Elmham, 25th August


Other moths were Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 5 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 6 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 6 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Shaded Broad-bar, 4 Brimstone Moths, 3 Light Emeralds, 4 Flame Shoulders, 8 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, 4 Square-spot Rustics, 4 Common Wainscots, 8 Flounced Rustics, 3 Vine's Rustics and Straw Dot. Other insects included the caddisflies Hydropsyche siltalai, 4 Hydropsyche pellucidula, Limnephilus lunatus, the leafhopper Empoasca vitis and 3 of the dung beetles Aphodius rufipes.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Frost's Common Take 2

A Mouse Moth was the only new moth for the year on Monday 21st August but there was a reasonable variety of moths: possible Skin Moth Monopis laevigella (lost before confirmed), Blackthorn Slender Parornix torquillella, 2 Garden Midgets Phyllonorycter messaniella, Nut Leaf Blister Moth Phyllonorycter coryli, probable Red Hazel midget Phyllonorycter nicellii (lost before confirmed), 2 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, an exceptionally small Golden-brown Tubic Crassa unitella, 2 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 5 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 18 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 4 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, 2 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Pebble Hook-tip, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, 2 Riband Waves, Garden Carpet, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, 3 Green Carpets, Sharp-angled Carpet, 3 Currant Pugs, 3 Double-striped Pugs, 11 Brimstone Moths, Dusky Thorn, Common Wave, 4 Light Emeralds, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 4 Flame Shoulders, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 3 Six-striped Rustics, Square-spot Rustic, 8 Common Wainscots, Common Rustic, 5 Flounced Rustics, 2 Vine's Rustics, 2 Straw Dots and 3 Snouts.

Mouse Moth, North Elmham, 21st August


Blackthorn Slender Parornix torquillella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 21st August


My second ever Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum followed one night after my first.  Other caddisflies were Oxyethira flavicornis, 2 Hydropsyche siltalai, 2 Hydropsyche pellucidula and Medium Sedge Goera pilosa.

Beetles included 2 Trechus quadristriatus, a new species for me.


Trechus quadristriatus, North Elmham, 21st August


Other beetles were 5 Bradycellus verbasci and 2 Aphodius rufipes.  Other insects included the mayfly Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, the green lacewing Nineta vittata, a female Conwentzia sp. Waxfly, the brown lacewing Micromus variegatus and 9 Forest Bugs (aka Red-legged Shieldbugs).

Nest day a quick look round Wells Wood produced a few insects including my first Plagiognathus arbustorum (a mirid bug) feeeding on Fleabane.

Plagiognathus arbustorum, Wells, 22nd August


Moths included Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella and Small Fan-footed Wave.

That night Dave and I headed back to Frost's Common, a site we'd been planning to trap at for a long while.  The Norfolk Moth Survey event there was a wash-out so we thought we'd try again on a better night.  Conditions weren't ideal but we managed 47 species including a few mildly interesting ones: Oak Carl Tischeria ekebladella, 3 Brown Birch Slenders Parornix betulae, 2 Golden Argents Argyresthia goedartella, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Birch Ermel Swammerdamia caesiella, Chamomile Conch Cochylidia implicitana, Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 3 Birch Marbles Apotomis betuletana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Small Birch Bell Epinotia ramella, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, Barred Grass-veneer Agriphila inquinatella, 6 Ground-moss Greys Eudonia truncicolella, 3 Brown China-marks Elophila nymphaeata, 7 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, 3 Small China-marks Cataclysta lemnata, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis (only my second ever), Double-striped Knot-horn Cryptoblabes bistriga, Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella, 2 Maiden's Blushes, 3 Common Carpets, Yellow Shell, 2 Purple Bars, 5 Green Carpets, 5 Double-striped Pugs, Yellow-barred Brindle, 5 Brimstone Moths, 2 Common Waves, 3 Light Emeralds, Poplar Hawk-moth, Dingy Footman, 2 Buff Footmen, 3 Common Footmen, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 4 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 2 Common Wainscots, Svensson's Copper Underwing, Burnished Brass, Spectacle, 10 Straw Dots and 2 Snouts.

Chamomile Conch Cochylidia implicitana, Frost's Common, 22nd August


Meal Moth Pyralis farinalis, Frost's Common, 22nd August


Double-striped Knot-horn Cryptoblabes bistriga, Frost's Common, 22nd August


The leafhopper Eupteryx urticae was a new species for me.  Other bugs included Birch Shieldbug, 8 Forest Bugs, Lygus pratensis and the leafhopper Allygus mixtus.

Eupteryx urticae, Frost's Common, 22nd August


Allygus mixtus, Frost's Common, 22nd August


Caddisflies included a Molanna angustata and there were 2 Orange Ladybirds.  Other wildlife included 3 Red Deer.

Molanna angustata (male), Frost's Common, 22nd August


We found a newt at each of the lights which I am having some trouble identifying.  They are most likely Smooth Newts - I don't think there are all that many confirmed records of Palmate Newt in Norfolk from what I can glean.  The references I've got and those I've found on the internet seem to focus on adults for identification, some mentioning that immatures require more caution but not elaborating any further. Several references refer to the unspotted throat as a key feature for Palmate Newt but even some of those include photos of Smooth Newts with unspotted throats, so clearly this is not diagnostic!  The upperpart markings appear to be very variable and overlapping between the tweo species as are the spots below and the pattern of orange underneath.  I get the impression, but if someone can confirm that would be great, that the presence or absence of pale tubercles on the bottom of the feet (present on Palmate) is the most reliable feature.  Having had this problem before I recalled that spots on the soles of the feet were relevant and so took photos as I couldn't remember the detail of what to look for.  Sadly my photos aren't perfectly clear (it's quite hard to get a newt to stay still upside down without manhandling it) and there are some pale spots in some images that aren't in others, suggesting that they may be grit or dirt.  At least one of them does seem to have one or two pale spots on the sole in the same place in every photo suggesting it may be a real feature and suggesting that they might be Palmate Newts.  However, I'm not convinced and suspect they are in fact female and/or immature Smooth Newts.  If you are any clearer on these things please do get in touch!




Newts (top two are the same individual, lower two are the other individual), Frost's Common, 22nd August

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Second Agonopterix lifer in 3 days

Saturday 19th August I set the trap as usual before heading out to Winterton and returned to find what turned out to be the best moth of the evening.  It looked superficially similar to the Dark-fringed Flat-body Agonopterix nervosa that I'd had for the first time two nights earlier but apart from anything else it lacked a dark fringe.  I did consider Dusted Flat-body Agonopterix assimilella quite early on but ruled that out as its supposed to fly from April to June and in the absence of any other contenders I spent a while wondering if it might turn out to be another nervosa despite the lack of a dark fringe.  The genitalia of many of the Agonopterix aren't enormously different from one another so looking at it under the microscope didn't yield an immediate answer.  Eventually I felt I'd eliminated everything apart from assimilella and it was only then that I discovered that the hindwing pattern was helpful in determining this species.  Sure enough the hindwing ticked the final box and confirmed that it was indeed a Dusted Flat-body Agonopterix assimiliella, another new moth for me and my 780th species for North Elmham since August 2014.

Dusted Flat-body Agonopterix assimilella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 19th August


Two other moths were new for the year that night: Straw Conch Cochylimorpha straminea (my second here) and Rosy Rustic.

Straw Conch Cochylimorpha straminea (male, gen det), North Elmham, 19th August


Rosy Rustic, North Elmham, 19th August


Other moths that night were Brown Birch Slender Parornix betulae, Orchard/Apple/Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella agg., Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 7 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 7 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 2 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Single-dotted Wave, 2 Canary-shouldered Thorns, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, Poplar Hawk-moth, 3 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 2 Small Square-spots, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Common Wainscots, Flounced Rustic, Vine's Rustic and Straw Dot.  There were 4 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum and caddisflies were Hydropsyche siltalai, Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus and Limnephilus lunatus.

The next day an afternoon wander round the local gravel pits produced Borderd Carl Coptotriche marginea, Marbled Cosmet Mompha propinquella (feeding on Fleabane), 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella and Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella.

Marbled Cosmet Mompha propinquella, Bittering, 20th August


There was also this bug which I'm pretty sure is a nymph of Notostira elongata and as such a new species for me.

Notostira elongata nymph, Bittering, 20th August


A Dusky Thorn was the only new moth for the year that night; other moths being Bordered Carl Coptotriche marginea, Blackthorn Slender Parornix torquillella, Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, 2 House Groundlings Bryotropha domestica, 3 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Smoky-barred Marble Lobesia abscisana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 16 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, 2 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Maiden's Blush, Blood-vein, Riband Wave, Garden Carpet, Yellow Shell, 2 Common Marbled Carpets, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 6 Brimstone Moths, Canary-shouldered Thorn, 2 Willow Beauties, Light Emerald, Pebble Prominent, Swallow Prominent, 2 Flame Shoulders, 6 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Small Square-spots, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Six-striped Rustic, Square-spot Rustic, 3 Common Wainscots, 3 Flounced Rustics, 2 Vine's Rustics, Burnished Brass, Spectacle and 4 Straw Dots. There was also a presumed Case-bearing Clothes Moth Tinea pellionella indoors but its identity couldn't be confirmed as it had been eaten by its own larvae before I dissected it - a frequent problem with this species when I'm behind with my dissections!

Blackthorn Slender Parornix torquillella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 20th August


That wasn't a bad selection but the caddisflies were better as they contained my 50th species identified at home, an entirely new one for me, Small Siver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum.

Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum (female), North Elmham, 20th August



Other caddisflies were Polycentropus flavomaculatus, 3 Hydropsyche pellucidula, Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus and Limnephilus sparsus.  Other insects recorded were the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea and the beetle Aphodius rufipes.