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.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Flounced Chestnut

A good night on 19th October with 51 moths of 22 species.  I didn't immediately recognise the best one but when Dave suggested the ID it was obvious (well, fairly).  Indeed I'd been keeping an eye out for one as I'd never seen one before but they're usually a bit more strongly marked and I'd not appreciated how plain they could be.  It was a Flounced Chestnut, a very welcome macro lifer for so late in the season.  They're a little on the scarce side so it's not entirely surprising that I'd not seen one before but there are a few records in Norfolk every year.

Flounced Chestnut, North Elmham, 19th October

The other moths were Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, 6 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Ashy Buttons Acleris sparsana, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Pale November Moth, Feathered Thorn, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, Large Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 7 Black Rustics, 4 Green-brindled Crescents, Merveille du Jour, Brick, Red-line Quaker, 10 Yellow-line Quakers, 2 Beaded Chestnuts, Angle Shades, Large Wainscot, Burnished Brass and 2 Straw Dots.

Other insects included 5 Chrysoperla carnea (green lacewing), Limnephilus auricula, Limnephilus flavicornis, 15 Limnephilus lunatus, Limnephilus marmoratus, Halesus radiatus (caddisflies), Pinalitus cervinus (bug) and a leafhopper that was probably Empoasca decipiens (would be new for the house but I wasn't entirely convinced by the externals and couldn't make the genitalia quite fit either, though I couldn't find anything else that fitted better).

I think this ugly little beast in my study the next day was Amaurobius similis.  I still dislike spiders but I'll try to identify them so long as I don't have to touch them or get too close.  Maybe one day I'll grow to like them, but for now, ugh.

Amaurobius similis, North Elmham, 20th October

Slightly fewer moths that night: 2 Garden Midgets Phyllonorycter messaniella, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Ashy Button Acleris sparsana, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Double-striped Tabby Hypsopygia glaucinalis, 2 Common Marbled Carpets, 2 November Moths, Pale November Moth, 2 Feathered Thorns, 3 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 2 Black Rustics, 3 Green-brindled Crescents, 2 Merveille du Jours, 2 Bricks, 5 Yellow-line Quakers, Beaded Chestnut, Straw Dot and Snout.

Ashy Button Acleris sparsana, North Elmham, 20th October

The only lacewings and caddisflies were Chrysoperla carnea, Limnephilus affinis and 7 Limnephilus lunatus but hot on the heals of my first identified ones a few days earlier there were 5 Fagocyba cruenta (yellow leafhoppers).

There was a big drop in moth numbers the following night: Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, November Moth, Pale November Moth, Black Rustic, Yellow-line Quaker and Beaded Chestnut.  But it was worth putting the trap on for the leafhoppers - two more yellow leafhoppers, one another Fagocyba cruenta but the other a new one for me, Alnetoidea alneti.  The joy of being fairly new to identifyting a group like this is that you can still pick up new species from among the common ones - and this one is supposed to be "extremely common".

Alnetoidea aneti, North Elmham, 21st October

Fagocyba cruenta, North Elmham, 21st October

A Froghopper hopped away before I could ID it and the only other insects I noted were caddisflies: 3 Limnephilus lunatus and Halesus radiatus.

Things quietened down the following night with just Pale November Moth, Feathered Thorn, Green-brindled Crescent, Merveille du Jour, 5 Yellow-line Quakers and 2 Beaded Chestnuts making up the moths and Chrysoperla carnea agg., Limnephilus flavicornis and Limnephilus lunatus the lacewings and caddisflies.

If 22nd was quiet 23rd made up for it.  The highlights among 58 moths of 28 species were my first Sprawler of the year and my first Mottled Umber of the autumn but a much bigger surprise was an Orange Pine Tortrix Lozotaeniodes formosana.  Not because it's rare (though it is unusual here - I've only seen one here before, this July) or because it's stunning (though it certainly is) but because of the late date.  They normally finish flying in August and I think this might be the latest ever in Norfolk.

Orange Pine Tortrix Lozotaeniodes formosana, North Elmham, 23rd October

Blair's Shoulder-knot (left) and Sprawler (right), North Elmham, 23rd October

Mottled Umber, North Elmham, 23rd October

Other moths were 2 Garden Midgets Phyllonorycter messaniella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, 4 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Ashy Button Acleris sparsana, Red-green Carpet, 2 Pine Carpets, 9 November Moths, Feathered Thorn, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, White-point, 2 Common Wainscots, 2 Black Rustics, Blair's Shoulder-knot, 2 Green-brindled Crescents, Merveille du Jour, Satellite, Red-line Quaker, 2 Yellow-line Quakers, 5 Beaded Chestnuts, Rosy Rustic, 2 Large Wainscots, 2 Burnished Brasses, 3 Straw Dots and Snout.

November Moth (male), North Elmham, 23rd October - not every pale November Moth is a Pale November Moth...

It wasn't just moths in the trap - there were lots of leafhoppers.  Having had several in recent days I imagined all the bright yellow leafhoppers would be Fagocyba cruenta so didn't retain them all for checking.  Of those I did keep 2 were indeed cruenta but one turned out to be Edwardsiana flavescens, a new one for here.  Other leafhoppers included Alebra albostriella, 5 Empoasca vitis and probably 2 Kybos betulicola (the male confirmed, the female either this or smaragdula).

Edwardsiana flavescens, North Elmham, 23rd October

Alebra albostriella, North Elmham, 23rd October

There were also 2 mirid bugs (Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae and Pinalitus cervinus), 2 barkflies Valenzuela flavidus, the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea and the caddisflies Limnephilus affinis, Limnephilus auricula, Limnephilus flavicornis and 9 Limnephilus lunatus.

Someone once pointed out a spider to me which they identified as Nuctenea umbratica on the basis of two white marks on the underside of its abdomen.  This spider in my shed had similar markings, but whether that's diagnostic or not I'm not sure.  I didn't get a good look at the top side of it.

Spider (possibly Nuctenea umbratica?), North Elmham, 24th October

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