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.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Bacton Wood

The last field meeting of the year for the Norfolk Moth Survey was at Bacton Wood on Saturday 14th October.  We arrived a little late and when setting up I realised I'd forgotten my sheets.  The technique of suspending a light over a tripod on a white sheet is a little less effective when the white sheet is missing.  We did ok though - I had another trap and others brought theirs too.

Stuart found this occupied pupal case of a Common Bagworm Psyche casta on a tree trunk, a common species that's meant to be easy to find as a pupa, but the adult I'm still to find.

occupied pupal case of Common Bagworm Psyche casta, Bacton Wood, 14th October

Other moths were Small Red Slender Caloptilia rufipennella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, 2 White-shouldered Smudges Ypsolopha parenthesella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, Winter Groundling Scrobipalpa costella, 4 London Dowds Blastobasis lacticolella, White-faced Tortrix Pandemis cinnamomeana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 8 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, 2 Ashy Buttons Acleris sparsana, 4 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana, Bud Moth Spilonota ocellana, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 2 Double-striped Tabbies Hypsopygia glaucinalis, Mallow, 3 Red-green Carpets, 3 Common Marbled Carpets, 4 Pine Carpets, 15 Grey Pine Carpets, 50 Spruce Carpets, 2 Pale November Moths, Brimstone Moth, Feathered Thorn, Buff Footman, 2 Green-brindled Crescents, 3 Chestnuts, Brick, 2 Barred Sallows and 3 Snouts.

Winter Groundling Scrobipalpa costella, Bacton Wood, 14th October

The only lacewing I retained was Chrysoperla carnea but a caddisfly was more interesting - my first Limnephilus decipiens (there were also 3 Limnephilus lunatus).

Limnephilus decipiens, Bacton Wood, 14th October

A Water Boatman proved to be Callicorixa praeusta, the first time I'd identified this species.

Callicorixa praeusta, Bacton Wood, 14th October

This psyllid was another lifer, Cacopsylla melanoneura.

Cacopsylla melanoneura, Bacton Wood, 14th October

Two leafhoppers were challenging.  I narrowed them down to one of the two Acericerus species but couldn't decide between Acericerus vittifrons and Acericerus ribauti.  The latter doesn't feature in the RES Handbook as its a recent arrival in the UK but the British Bugs website gives a couple of tips to identify the males (one of the two was a male).  Mine quite unambiguously had a long dark midline on the face rather like vittifrons (and quite unlike ribauti) and equally unambiguously had the short antennal palettes of ribauti (and clearly wrong for vittifrons).  These were the only similar species showing in the British Bugs gallery and the RES Handbook seeemed to confirm I was in the right area but didn't offer any further options.  So unable to proceed any further I retained the specimens for later study.  And that would be the end of the story so far but that I had another idea when typing this up... the British Bugs website has a checklist of all the leafhoppers and sure enough there is a third species of Acericerus listed on there which doesn't yet feature in the gallery.  A quick google found lots of good images of this species from Europe and well, they're basically identical to the two I'd taken.  I will keep them in case they prove to be significant (it's another new arrival to the UK amd I'm not sure if there are any Norfolk records yet or not (probably - several in Suffolk)) but I'm reasonably happy now that they are this third species, Acericerus heydenii.

Acericerus heydenii (male), Bacton Wood, 14th October

Acericerus heydenii (female), Bacton Wood, 14th October

Other less interesting bugs were Birch Shieldbug and 3 Empoasca vitis.  We saw one Hornet, an Orange Ladybird and lots of large Dor Beetles on the ground near my light which had particularly strong bluish-purple shine on the underside.  I retained one to identify and it proved to be another new species for me, Woodland Dor Beetle Anoplotrupes stercorosus.

Woodland Dor Beetle Anoplotrupes stercorosus, Bacton Wood, 14th October

So even if the moths were a bit so-so the other insects made the event very worthwhile from my perspective.

There were hardly any moths at home that night although Merveille du Jour was new for the year.

Merveille du Jour, North Elmham, 14th October

The few others were 3 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, 2 November Moths, Beaded Chestnut and Lunar Underwing.   One of the November Moths was very interesting as the genitalia hadn't formed properly.  The 8th sternite was effected too making identification difficult but there were two smudges which I suspect would have been the projections had they formed properly, in which case their distance from one another eliminated Pale November Moth.  The valvae had not developed properly, joined together to form a broadly-spherical but bi-lobed sac.  The edges of the lobes had darkened ridges with teeth like the valvae edges of November and Pale November Moths (thus eliminating Autumnal Moth).  I am not entirely sure if this was simply a male that had developed aberrantly or if it was an intersex.  The structure of the 8th sternite was rather female-like but although the genitalia themselves were very unusual I couldn't really identify anything female-like (but most male parts were there, if not formed how they should have been).  For that reason I suspect it wasn't intersex but had simply been malformed.  The moth seemed healthy enough until I opened its abdomen, but I'm quite sure it would never have been able to breed with its genitalia in that state!

presumed November Moth with abnormally developed genitalia, North Elmham, 14th October

In case anyone's interested I've done a PDF with photos and a fuller description of the genitalia.

2 Limnephilus lunatus were the only caddisflies but there was also a beetle, a small weevil.  There are good keys to a lot of the beetle families freely available online but although Mark Gurney has some excellent guides to weevils I can't yet find an online source that allows a complete identification of some groups of weevils.  Mark Gurney's guides got me into the right ballpark (I think) for this weevil and by comparing various images from a number of online sources I eventually reached an ID that I am fairly sure is correct.  Perhaps I should leave it as tentative at this stage but I think it's Notaris acridulus.

probable Notarus acridulus, North Elmham, 14th October

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