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, 26 July 2017

Saltmarsh mothing

Dave and I headed up to Warham Greens on Friday 16th June for some mothing.  Conditions were good and the results were excellent.  Among the haul were three new moths for me and a number of scarcely recorded species.

There were lots of Coleophora on the wing in the saltmarsh, the majority being Silver-streaked Case-bearers Coleophora limoniella and Saltmarsh Case-bearers Coleophora atriplicis.  The former are one of the few Coleophora that can be easily identified in the field.

Silver-streaked Case-bearer Coleophora limoniella, Warham Greens, 16th June

Saltmarsh Case-bearer Coleophora atriplicis (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Hedge Case-bearer Coleophora striatipennella and Grey Rush Case-bearer Coleophora glaucicolella weren't so unusual but an Eastern Case-bearer Coleophora vestianella was a bit more interesting.  There are now quite a few records from west Norfolk but the first VC27 record is still to come - surely it won't be long now?

Hedge Case-bearer Coleophora striatipennella (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Grey Rush Case-bearer Coleophora glaucipennella (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Eastern Case-bearer Coleophora vestianella (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

But the star of the show was this Scarce Thorn Case-bearer Coleophora trigeminella, only the second record in the county (though the first of a series of records this year, about which I will write more in future posts).  Not only is it rarely recorded in the county but it seems to be pretty hard to find anywhere - indeed I have struggled to find any images of adults on the internet at all.

Scarce Thorn Case-bearer Coleophora trigeminella (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Another group of micros that were numerous in the saltmarsh were the Scrobipalpa.  As usual most that were retained proved to be Saltern Groundling Scrobipalpa instabilella - here are three examples showing some of the variation in this species.

Saltern Groundlings Scrobipalpa instabilella (female, top, and two males, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

The next one looked interesting and so it proved.  Not a rare saltmarsh species if its vernacular name is to be believed but a new one for me, and only recorded in a few squares in Norfolk - Common Sea Groundling Scrobipalpa nitentella.

Common Sea Groundling Scrobipalpa nitentella (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

A more rarely recorded saltmarsh Gelechiid was Saltern Neb Monochroa tetragonella.

Saltern Neb Monochroa tetragonella (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Just two days earlier I had found a Bilberry Tortrix Aphelia viburnana at Burnham Overy, so I immediately recognised them when I found two more Aphelia viburnana here at Warham Greens.  An excellent record for a species that wasn't recorded in Norfolk between 2003 and 2016.

Bilberry Tortrix Aphelia viburnana (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

I was quite interested in the variation shown by a number of Cyclamen Tortrixes Clepsis spectrana.  Most, if not all, of the ones I've seen before have been moderately similar to each other - mainly pale with darker brown or reddish-brown markings.  There were one or two like that here but most were quite different being much darker overall (rusty-grey, some rustier and others greyer) and at first I wasn't convinced they were spectrana.  I checked them to be sure, and they were, so I wonder if this is a variant that only occurs in coastal areas?  Note how they all showed a small pale patch along the costa on the shoulder.

Cyclamen Tortrixes Clepsis spectrana (males, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Other tortrix moths included two saltmarsh species: 2 Large Saltmarsh Conches Phalonidia affinitana (which I'd seen here before) and the less frequently recorded Small Saltern Conch Gynnidomorpha vectisana (only my second).

Large Saltmarsh Conches Phalonidia affinitana (males, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Small Saltern Conch Gynnidimorpha vectisana (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Another conch was first recorded in Norfolk as recently as 2012 but there have been quite a good number of records in the last couple of years.  This one was my first - Ox-tongue Conch Cochylis molliculana.

Ox-tongue Conch Cochylis molliculana (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

While on the subject of Conches, we recorded two more species that I don't see all that often: Hemlock Yellow Conch Aethes beatricella and Little Conch Cochylis dubitana.

Little Conch Cochylis dubitana, Warham Greens, 16th June

The smallest micro that was in abundance was a species I'd only seen one of previously (also at Warham Greens) - Saltern Bent-wing Bucculatrix maritima.  Interesting to see some of the variation in this species - we saw at least 10 but probably many more.  I was pretty sure of the ID but took a couple home to confirm.

Saltern Bent-wings Bucculatrix maritima (males, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Elachistids were represented by Black-headed Dwarf Elachista atricomella and Meadow Dwarf Elachista triatomea.

Black-headed Dwarf Elachista atricomella (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Meadow Dwarf Elachista triatomea, Warham Greens, 16th June

Another micro I don't see very often was Speckled Fanner Glyphipterix thrasonella.

Speckled Fanner Glyphipterix thrasonella, Warham Greens, 16th June

The best of the Plumes was Mugwort Plume Hellinsia lienigianus but there were also 8 Saltmarsh Plumes Agdistis bennetii, 2 Yarrow Plumes Gillmeria pallidactyla and White Plume Pterophorus pentadactyla.

Mugwort Plume Hellinsia lienigianus (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Yarrow Plume Gillmeria pallidactyla (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Other micros were Bordered Carl Coptotriche marginea, 2 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana, 3 Cinereous Groundlings Bryotropha terrella, London Dowd Blastobasis lacticolella, Buff Cosmet Mompha ochraceella, Hawthorn Cosmet Blastodacna hellerella, 3 Hook-marked Straw Moths Agapeta hamana, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, Privet Tortrix Clepsis consimilana, Flax Tortrix Cnephasia asseclana, 5 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Marbled Orchard Tortrix Hedya nubiferana, Buff-tipped Marble Hedya ochroleucana, Mottled Marble Bactra furfurana, 3 Triple-blotched Bells Notocelia trimaculana, Bright Bell Eucosma hohenwartiana, Hoary Bell Eucosma cana, Pale-bordered Piercer Grapholita janthinana, Codling Moth Cydia pomonella, 40 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, 3 Hook-streaked Grass-Veneers Crambus lathoniellus, 4 Meadow Greys Scoparia pyralella, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, Olive Pearl Udea olivalis and 2 Twin-barred Knot-horns Homoeosoma sinuella.

Mottled Marble Bactra furfurana (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Bright Bell Eucosma hohenwartiana (male, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

By comparison the macros didn't offer so much excitement but there were some good ones.  Most notable were 6 Rosy Waves, Bordered Pug, 10 Shaded Pugs, Kent Black Arches, 15 Dog's Tooths (or should that be Dog's Teeth?) and Dotted Fan-foot.

Rosy Wave, Warham Greens, 16th June

Shaded Pug, Warham Greens, 16th June

Dog's Tooths, Warham Greens, 16th June

This noctuid caused some confusion, its identity not being immediately apparent to us.  In the end Turnip Moth seemed to be the only feasible solution and so it proved on dissection.

Turnip Moth (female, gen det), Warham Greens, 16th June

Other macros were 3 Ghost Moths, Orange Swift, 8 Common Swifts, 3 Drinkers, Large Emerald, Common Emerald, Single-dotted Wave, Riband Wave, 3 Common Carpets, Barred Straw, Barred Yellow, Foxglove Pug, Latticed Heath, Brimstone Moth, Swallow-tailed Moth, Willow Beauty, Mottled Beauty, Elephant Hawk-moth, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Yellow-tail, Cinnabar, Turnip Moth, 2 Heart and Darts, 3 Flames, 3 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Double Square-spot, Poplar Grey, Marbled Minor, 3 Tawny Marbled Minors, 12 Middle-barred Minors, 2 Plain Golden Ys, Spectacle, Straw Dot and 10 Snouts.

As usual there were a few other non-Lepidopteran records of note.  I think this is a nymph of a Short-winged Conehead.  I didn't manage to get any sharp shots with the whole of its ultra-long antennae in the frame.

Short-winged Conehead nymph, Warham Greens, 16th June

Green lacewings included 2 Chrysopa commata and a Dichochrysa flavifrons.

Chrysopa commata, Warham Greens, 16th June

With large numbers of moths to retain for further examination I was reluctant to take home large numbers of caddisflies as well, but I did retain and identify 2 Agraylea sexmaculatas, Hydropsyche pellucidula and Athripsodes aterrimus.

Agraylea sexmaculatus (female), Warham Greens, 16th June

Bugs consisted of 2 Stenotus binotatus and flies included Ceroxys urticae, the first time I've identified this distinctive species.

Ceroxys urticae, Warham Greens, 16th June

There were a couple of beetles which I have not managed to identify after a couple of hours keying.  I have put them to one side and will come back to them at a later date.

Last time we were trapping at a coastal location (Brancaster) we found what I eventually identified, slightly tentatively, as the sandhopper Talitrus saltator.  We had 2-3 more presumed Talitrus saltator on the sheet at Warham Greens.

presumed Talitrus saltator, Warham Greens, 16th June

A good night, and it continued good as I had an excellent catch at home too - more about that on my next post.

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