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.

Monday, 30 April 2018

A trio of new moths including 9x Pammene giganteana to lure

The night of Tuesday 17th April was an excellent one with two moths in the trap that were completely new to me, Large Birch Purple Eriocrania sangii and Scarce Cosmet Mompha jurassicella.   I think I've seen sangii before but never been 100% certain about its identity previously.  There's been some debate about whether female sangii can be safely identified by reference to its genitalia but I think the consensus seems to be that the combination of the form of the scales on the hindwing and the relative sizes of the sensoria on its abodomenal sclerites is sufficient.

Large Birch Purple Eriocrania sangii (female), North Elmham, 17th April

Scrace Cosmet Monpha jurassicella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 17th April

There was a reasonable selection of other moths too: 3 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Frosted Green, 2 Brindled Pugs, 3 Double-striped Pugs, 2 Early Thorns, Brindled Beauty, 4 Common Quakers, Clouded Drab, 3 Hebrew Characters, Early Grey and Chestnut.

There were 3 Chrysoperla carnea (green Lacewings) (at least 2 confirmed males and a presumed female).  Interestingly the female was fully green while all the males I've seen so far this year have still had some of their winter brown colour retained.  There were also 2 different brown Lacewings, and surprisingly both proved to be new species for the garden, Hemerobius micans and Wesmaelius nervosus.

Hemerobius micans, North Elmham, 17th April

Wesmaelius nervosus, North Elmham, 17th April

The following day I headed out to the east coast where there were plenty of butterflies on the wing including Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone.

Brimstone, Horsey, 18th April

I think this spider was Pardosa nigriceps, a new one for me.

Pardosa nigriceps, Horsey, 18th April

On the way home I stopped at St Faith's Common where insect-life included a new beetle for me, Hylurgops palliatus.

Hylurgops palliatus, St Faith's Common, 18th April

At Bittering while retrieving some algae covered oak bark to feed my Luffia ferchaultella on (see last post) I unwittingly also retained this tiny creature - but it took mne a while to work out what it is, and I'm still not sure.  I considered it could be an aphid, but I don't think so, or perhaps one of the globular springtails though I haven't seen it spring (and do any of the collembola live on trees anyway?).  A nymph of some kind of bug perhaps?  In the end I think it's most likely to be the larva of a Lacewing, but I'm not entirely sure.  I've seen green lacewing larvae covered in muck before and that was significantly larger (this was only about 1-2 mm long at most).  I guess it could be one of the smaller brown lacewings, although some photos of these show much more elongated creatures, or perhaps even one of the Waxflies?  I'm not entirely clear if all of these cover themselves in material to camouflage themselves or if it's just the larger species?  On the other hand I thought all lacewing larvae were carnivorous yet this is surviving in a pot with only some algae-covered bark for company for 12 days so far and it still seems very healthy, so perhaps it is something else entirely...?  Please let me know if you have any ideas!

unidentified insect, Bittering, 18th April

That night a good selection of moths included 4 that were new for the year: Maple Slender Caloptilia semifascia, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Pine Beauty and Nut-tree Tussock. The Pine Beauty was particularly welcome being my first here since 2015.

Maple Slender Caloptilia semifacscia, North Elmham, 18th April

Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, North Elmham, 18th April

Pine Beauty, North Elmham, 18th April

Nut-tree Tussock, North Elmham, 18th April

Other moths caught that night were Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Frosted Green, 4 Brindled Pugs, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 3 Early Thorns, 2 Brindled Beauties, 3 Small Quakers, 5 Common Quakers, 5 Clouded Drabs, 7 Hebrew Characters, Early Grey and 2 Chestnuts.  There were also 2 Chrysoperla carnea and a Black Sexton Beetle.  A good crop of leafhoppers consisted of 5 Empoasca vitis and, new for the year, Zygina angusta.

Zygina angusta, North Elmham, 18th April

I recently acquired a pheromone lure for the tortrix moth Grapholita lobarzewskii.  Jon had been trialling this in his garden last year and caught Norfolk's first example of this moth previously only known from the south east.  It's too early in the year for a lobarzewskii but I put it out on Thursday 19th April knowing that these lures sometimes attract other species too.  I checked the trap that evening and was delighted to find a tortrix moth inside - not a lobarzewskii of course, but whatever it was looked interesting.  Sure enough it proved to be a new species for me and one that's only been recorded a handful of times in the county, Early Oak Piercer Pammene giganteana.

Early Oak Piercer Pammene giganteana, North Elmham, 19th April

My third new moth in as many days - what had until this week been a dire year for moths has suddently started turning more interesting!

That night Streamer and Lunar Marbled Brown were new for the year.

Streamer, North Elmham, 19th April

Lunar Marbled Brown, North Elmham, 19th April

Other moths included 3 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Frosted Green, Water Carpet, 4 Brindled Pugs, Double-striped Pug, 2 Early Thorns, 5 Brindled Beauties, 2 Small Quakers, 2 Common Quakers, 5 Clouded Drabs, 8 Hebrew Characters and Chestnut.

Next day I put the lobarzewskii lure out again and this time I caught another 2 Early Oak Piercers Pammene giganteana - amazing!

Early Oak Piercer Pammene giganteana, North Elmham, 20th April

If 3 in 2 days was good, there was more in store... I tried one more time on 21st and when I checked the trap that evening there were another 6 Early Oak Piercers Pammene giganteana in there!  There were only 10 previous records of giganteana in Norfolk so catching 9 in 3 days seems quite remarkable - but such is the power of a pheremone lure for finding things that I'm sure are always around and just not tending to come to light very often and are therefore rarely recorded.  Interestingly Mick Kerr managed to attract a giganteana to the same lure at Sporle near Swaffham too.

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