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, 6 September 2017

New Knot-horn

The night of Wednesday 19th July produced another century - 100 species of moth.  The highlight was a Thicket Knot-horn Acrobasis suavella.  This was the first I'd ever trapped, so a very welcome find.  Actually it was already on my list, but shouldn't have been - I'd seen one in a pot once in circumstance where I wouldn't normally 'tick' it.  I often worry that I might be overlooking this species among the very common and somewhat similar Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, and dissect a few of those each year to double-check.  The most often-cited difference given in various online references is size but there is a lot of overlap (suavella is given as 22-24mm while advenella is given as 18-24mm, so you presumably couldn't positively identify suavella on size alone).  There are other differences in the wing pattern given in some references (e.g. the micros field guide) but these can be hard to assess on worn specimens.  This one wasn't too worn and I found it very distinctive - much more so than I expected.  I dissected it just to dot the i's and cross the t's but it was pretty obvious it was going to be suavella as soon as I clapped eyes on it.

Thicket Knot-horn Acrobasis suavella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 19th July

This White-border Neb Isophrictis striatella was also new for the house and only my second ever (I added it to my previous house list shortly before moving out in 2014).  A smart and distinctive gelechiid.

White-border Neb Isophrictis striatella, North Elmham, 19th July

A Juniper Argent Argyresthia dilectella was a good record - I'd seen my first here last year but there has only been one other Norfolk record in the last 9 years.

Juniper Argent Argyresthia dilectella, North Elmham, 19th July

Although I'd seen them previously at both this house and the last there have only ever been 13 county records of Mouse-ear Groundling Caryocolum fraternella, so nice to get another one.

Mouse-ear Groundling Caryocolum fraternella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 19th July

I didn't immediately recognise this distinctive-looking Phyllonorycter but eventually worked out that it was Common Alder Midget Phyllonorycter rajella.  The brown (not orange) ground colour is apparently quite frequent with this species, though not shared by all examples.  It was another new species for the year.

Common Alder Midget Phyllonorycter rajella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 19th July

House Groundling Bryotropha domestica and Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana were also new for the year.  Other micros included Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, 3 Horse Chestnut Leaf-miners Cameraria ohridella, Willow Bent-wing Phyllocnistis saligna, 26 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, 3 Little Ermels Swammerdamia pyrella, Common Oak Case-bearer Coleophora lutipennella, 2 Golden-brown Tubics Crassa unitella, 6 Small Dingy Tubics Borkhausenia fuscescens, 2 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Common Groundling Teleiodes vulgella, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, 3 Cinereous Groundlings Bryotropha terrella, Gorse Crest Brachmia blandella, 3 Orange Crests Helcystogramma rufescens, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Common Cosmet Mompha epilobiella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Burdock Conch Aethes rubigana, 5 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrixes Pandemis heparana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Grey Tortrix Cnephasia stephensiana, 2 Dover Shades Cnephasia genitalana, 2 Maple Buttons Acleris forsskaleana, 2 White-triangle Buttons Acleris holmiana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 3 Holly Tortrixes Rhopobota naevana, Common Cloaked Shoot Gypsonoma dealbana, Hoary Bell Eucosma cana, Acorn Piercer Pammene fasciana, 5 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, Grass-veneer Crambus pascuella, 31 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 3 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Pearl Grass-veneers Catoptria pinella, 5 Little Greys Eudonia lacustrata, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Elder Pearl Anania coronata, 25 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 3 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis, Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella and White Plume Pterophorus pentadactyla.

Common Groundling Teleiodes vulgella, North Elmham, 19th July

There was nothing new for the year among the macros but a good variety nevertheless including Small Scallop, Purple Thorn and Cream-bordered Green Pea.  The others, including 3 species of Hawk-moth and 4 species of Prominent, were 2 Chinese Characters, Large Emerald, 2 Blood-veins, 10 Small Fan-footed Waves, 14 Single-dotted Waves, 7 Riband Waves, 3 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Large Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Canary-shouldered Thorn, 3 Early Thorns, 2 Scalloped Oaks, 3 Willow Beauties, Privet Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, 3 Elephant Hawk-moths, Pebble Prominent, Swallow Prominent, 2 Coxcomb Prominents, 2 Pale Prominents, 3 Yellow-tails, Black Arches, 7 Rosy Footmen, 18 Dingy Footmen, 4 Scarce Footmen, 12 Common Footmen, 2 Buff Ermines, 2 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Double Square-spot, Nutmeg, Clay, 3 Smoky Wainscots, 2 Dun-bars, 3 Dark Arches, 2 Common Rustics, Lesser Common Rustic, 2 Dusky Sallows, Ear Moth, 7 Uncertains, 4 Nut-tree Tussocks, Straw Dot and Snout.

Lesser Common Rustic (male, gen det), North Elmham, 19th July

There was a good haul of other insects too.  A Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum was the only Mayfly but lacewings consisted of 6 Cunctochrysa albolineata, 4 Dichochrysa flavifrons and a Micromus variegatus.  Caddisflies included 2 Hydropsyche siltalai, 2 Hydropsyche pellucidula and a Leptocerus tineiformis.

Bugs were better - as well as 3 Birch Shieldbugs, Forest Bug and the leafhopper Iassus lanio there were 3 new species for the year: the splendid Campyloneura virgula, a Tarnished Plant Bug Lygus rugulipennis and the leafhopper with a sad face pattern on its scutellum, Lamprotettix nitidulus.

Campyloneura virgula, North Elmham, 19th July

Tarnished Plant Bug Lygus rugulipennis, North Elmham, 19th July

Lamprotettix nitidulus, North Elmham, 19th July

There were as many beetles with Ilybius fuliginosus, 6 Bradycellus verbascis, Aphodius rufipes, Rhagonycha fulva, Lagria hirta and another which I've spent too long attempting to key out and have put to one side to look at again after I've caught up with everything else.

Bradycellus verbascis, North Elmham, 19th July

The following night was dead by comparison - just 43 moths of 27 species!  They were 2 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Plain Conch Phtheochroa inopiana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Large Emerald, 2 Single-dotted Waves, 3 Early Thorns, 2 Scalloped Oaks, Poplar Hawk-moth, Pebble Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, Brown-tail, Yellow-tail, 4 Common Footmen, 5 Buff Ermines, Ruby Tiger, Nutmeg, Cloaked Minor, 2 Uncertains, Mottled Rustic and 3 Nut-tree Tussocks.

It was equally poor for other insects with just one caddisfly (Limnephilus marmoratus) and one beetle (Brown Chafer) recorded.   Fortunately this was just a temporary blip and things warmed up again the next day - more on that later...

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