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.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

dark barred but not Dark-barred

Thursday night was a good night with 10 new moths for the year: Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Hook-streak Grass-veneer Crambus lathoniellus, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, Common Swift, Small Rivulet, Pale Oak Beauty, Common White Wave, Bright-line Brown-eye and Silver Y.

Common Marble Celypha lacunana, North Elmham, 24th May

Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, North Elmham, 24th May

Hook-streak Grass-veneer Crambus lathoniellus, North Elmham, 24th May

Small Magpie Anania hortulata, North Elmham, 24th May

Common Swift, North Elmham, 24th May

Small Rivulet, North Elmham, 24th May

Pale Oak Beauty, North Elmham, 24th May

Common White Wave, North Elmham, 24th May

Bright-line Brown-eye, North Elmham, 24th May

Silver Y, North Elmham, 24th May

Also recorded were Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Chinese Character, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Garden Carpet, Green Carpet, 5 Mottled Pugs, Brimstone Moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, 2 Pale Prominents, 3 White Ermines, Least Black Arches, Flame Shoulder, 2 Common Wainscots, 6 Treble Lines and Spectacle. Non-moths included the springtail Orchesella cincta, the soldier beetle Cantharis cryptica and the caddisfly Grammotaulius nigropunctatus.

This Red Twin-spot Carpet is one of the darkest-barred examples I've seen, though still recognisable as Red (but I did gen det it just to make sure).  There are a few red scales in a wedge towards the outer half of the dark bar, and a very few on the inner part too, but at a glance it just looks black.  However there are other give-aways that it's Red, such as the lack of indents in this bar (not that that's an entirely reliable feature on its own).

Red Twin-spot Carpet (male, gen det), North Elmham, 24th May

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (male, gen det), North Elmham, 24th May

Orchesella cincta, North Elmham, 24th May

With some excellent help from Keith Kerr I (well, he) managed to identify another spider from the meadows - Anelosimus vittatus.  Thanks Keith!

Anelosimus vittatus, North Elmham, 19th May

Monday, 28 May 2018

Another new Stigmella

An Anthrenus fuscus in the house was new for the year on Monday 21st.  These mascarade as Varied Carpet Beetles Anthenus verbasci but there are quite a few differences when you look closely (such as the blacker scales and the very different structure of the antennae).

Anthrenus fuscus, North Elmham, 21st May

The highlight from the moth trap that night was a Common Oak Pigmy Stigmella roborella.  Although common, like most Stigmella speices they are mostly recorded as leafmines and adults are rarely reported.  This was my first, keyed out accurately using the excellent Kleine Vlinders key and confirmed with gen det.

Common Oak Pigmy Stigmella roborella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 21st May

Also new for the year were Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella, Scorched Carpet and 2 Treble Lines, plus the caddisfly Cyrnus trimaculatus.  Other moths were Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Grey Pine Carpet, 2 Green Carpets, Mottled Pug, Common Pug, 2 Brimstone Moths, Waved Umber, Coxcomb Prominent, Buff-tip, Orange Footman, 2 White Ermines, Heart and Dart and 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts.

Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 21st May

Scorched Carpet, North Elmham, 21st May

Treble Lines, North Elmham, 21st May

Cyrnus trimaculatus (female), North Elmham, 21st May

The following evening looked a bit better for moths so I headed down to the meadows and set up two lights.  No sooner had I got the second one on and the generator packed up as it had run out of oil. I didn't have any spare oil so that was the end of that.  In the short time the first light had been on it had caught a Common Swift, new for the site, and I also added Common Toad to the site's amphibian list. 

Common Swift, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 22nd May

It was a reasonably good night at home with 4 new moths for the garden year-list: Privet Hawk-moth, Lychnis, White-point and Common Wainscot. Also Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Common Pugs, Yellow-barred Brindle, Brimstone Moth, 2 Poplar Hawk-moths, Muslin Moth, Heart and Dart, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Early Grey, 2 Treble Lines and the caddisfly Limnephilus auricula.

Privet Hawk-moth, North Elmham, 22nd May

Lychnis, North Elmham, 22nd May

White-point, North Elmham, 22nd May

Common Wainscot, North Elmham, 22nd May

There wasn't a vast number of moths in the trap the following night but Turnip Moth and Shears were new for the year, and a Flame Carpet was a much finer specimen than the one last week.

Turnip Moth, North Elmham, 23rd May

Shears, North Elmham, 23rd May

Flame Carpet, North Elmham, 23rd May

Also that night were White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella (indoors), Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, Mottled Pug, Common Pug, 3 Brimstone Moths, 2 White Ermines, 2 Treble Lines and Spectacle.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Cydia servillana, 3rd for Norfolk

After the previous day's productive wander round the Cathedral Meadows I returned a little later in the evening on Saturday 19th May, and it was very worthwhile.  The clear highlight was a new moth for me, and a rare one at that, Sallow-shoot Piercer Cydia servillana.  This "Nationally Scarce" species has ony twice been recorded in Norfolk, at Dersingham in 2011 and Aldeby in 2017, so opposite ends of the county with mine now being right in the middle.  It was quite a distinctive-looking moth with beautiful pale blue reflections at the base and tips of the wings.

Sallow-shoot Piercer Cydia servillana, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

I netted 3 moths that at first I thought were Dichrorampha species, most likely Dichrorampha plumbana like the one I'd seen the day before, but they all proved to be Pea Moths Cydia nigricana.  I've only seen one of these before and had the same experience of thinking it was Dichrorampha at first.  Maybe I will learn for next time...

Pea Moth Cydia nigricana, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

There were quite a few Carrion Moths Monopis weaverella netted and among them a single Skin Moth Monopis laevigella.

Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

Skin Moth Monopis laevigella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

Other moths included Horse-Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella, 8 Cocksfoot Moths Glyphipterix simpliciella, Little Ermine Swammerdamia pyrella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, Dark-barred Tortrix Syndemis musculana, 3 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 5 Green Carpets and Small Yellow Underwing.

Little Ermine Swammerdamia pyrella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

What at first I thought were going to be hoverflies turned out to be Face Flies Musca autumnalis.  I'm sure I must have seen these before but these were the first ones I've photographed and confirmed.

 Face Fly Musca autumnalis, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

I eventually managed to name this beetle, a new one for me, Choleva agilis.

Choleva agilis, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

This soldier beetle Cantharis nigricans was with it.

Cantharis nigricans, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

A Shieldbug nymph turned out to be "just" a Forest Bug (Red-legged Shieldbug).  An early/mid instar I think.

Forest Bug (Red-legged Shieldbug) early-mid instar nymph, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

I have found keying out Andrena bees harder this year than I remember them being last year.  This one confused me at first but I eventually identified it as Buffish Mining Bee Andrena nigroaenea.  I couldn't see the ridges on the frons from above but on tilting the insect a bit they became visible.  A Buff-tailed Bumblebee was the only other bee I identified.

Buffish Mining Bee Andrena nigroaenea, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 19th May

At home I found a Common Clothes Moth Tinola bisselliella, new for the year.

Common Clothes Moth Tineola bisselliella, North Elmham, 19th May

The only moths new for the year in the trap that night were these 2 Buff-tips - high up on my list of favourite moths.

Buff-tips, North Elmham, 19th May

Otherwise it was a pretty poor showing with just Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Green Carpet, Common Pug, Scalloped Hazel, White Ermine, Muslin Moth, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 3 Flame Shoulders, 2 Nut-tree Tussocks and a Cockchafer.

Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, North Elmham, 19th May

A Mottled Pug was new for the year the following night but there wasn't much else: 3 Common Pugs, Poplar Hawk-moth, Lesser Swallow Prominent (so worn I had to gen det it to identify it), 3 White Ermines, 3 Muslin Moths, Heart and Dart, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Hebrew Character and Spectacle.

Mottled Pug, North Elmham, 20th May

Saturday, 26 May 2018

A new ladybird, more Small Yellow Underwings and a ex-larva correction

A sunny afternoon walk round the Meadows on Friday afternoon was very productive.  I found 3 Small Yellow Underwings (same fields but different places to last time) though I'm still not really happy with my photos - I just can't seem to get things like this fully sharp using my 7D - not sure why.

Small Yellow Underwings, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Other half-decent moths included Hawthorn Bent-wing Bucculatrix bechsteinella, Lead-coloured Drill Dichrorampha plumbana and my first migrant at the meadows, a Silver Y.

Hawthorn Bent-wing Bucculatrix bechsteinella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Lead-coloured Drill Dichrorampha plumbana (male, gen det), North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

I counted at least 32 Cocksfoot Moths Glyphipterix simpliciella but they were everywhere and I expect I'd have found hundreds if not thousands if I'd looked hard enough.  Other moths were Plain Gold Micropterix calthella, Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, 6 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and Red Twin-spot Carpet.

Plain Gold Micropterix calthella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Butterflies consisted of Small White, Green-veined White, 3 Orange-tips, Peacock and Speckled Wood, while my first Azure Damselfly of the year and 5 Large Red Damselflies made up the dragonflies.

Peacock, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

There were 2 Dock Bugs and my first 2 Red-and-black Froghoppers Cercopis vulnerata for the site.  Also a Leptopterna nymph, I suspect dolabrata but I don't think you can rule out ferrugata at this stage (let me know if I'm wrong about that).

Red-and-black Froghoppers Cercopis vulnerata, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Leptopterna sp. nymph, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Two beetles were both completely new species for me.  I've not been doing beetles that require microscopic examination for very long so new beetles are quite a regular feature for me, but one of these was a ladybird, the distinctive examples of which I have been identifying for quite a few years, so a new ladybird is a much more satisfying and exciting find.  It was a 24-spot Ladybird, a species with a scientific name that's way too long: Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata, though I see some sources transcribe it simply as Subcoccinella 24-punctata.

24-spot Ladybird, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

I don't think it's especially uncommon, but uncommon enough for me not to have noticed it before.  The other new beetle was one that required close examination, indeed I think I may have seen it before and misidentified it even after microscopic examination.  I eventually figured out that it was Polydrusus cervinus, a species that, unlike several other similar species, is not always a metallic green colour.  I was initially put off by its colour, thinking it must be one of the other Polydusus or Phyllobius species but in the end cervinus seemed to be the only species that ticked all the boxes, and it turns out they are quite often this green.  One or two of the other features were quite hard to see too, and I wonder if I may have got these wrong in the past as they're meant to be very common indeed.

Polydrusus cervinus, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Hoverflies included another Melanostoma mellinum and a new species for me, Sphaerophoria interrupta.

Sphaerophoria interrupta, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

I found a number of ants on a tree trunk and then swept some more off some nearby Common Vetch.  I was sure they were not one of the two species I'd identified up to now and sure enough they proved to be Negro Ants Formica fusca.  There was also a Common Red Ant Myrmica rubra among them.

Negro Ants Formuca fusca, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Bees included Flavous Nomad Bee Nomada flava, Red-tailed Bumblebee and Common Carder Bees.

Flavous Nomad Bee Nomada flava, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

This spider seems to be Tetragnatha montana I believe...

Tetragnatha montana, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Some nice flowers too, including these Hedgerow Cranesbill and Star-of-Bethlehem.

Hedgerow Cranesbill, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

Star-of-Bethlehem, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 18th May

A while ago I posted about an algae-covered larva I found at Bittering on 13th April.  I'd initially identified it as either Virgin Bagworm Luffia ferchaultella or White-speckled Bagworm Narycia duplicella, both of which have similar algae-covered larvae.  For reasons that I can no longer recall or fathom, I eventually plumped for the former and recorded it as Luffia ferchaultella.

It soon ate all the algae on the bit of bark I collected it on, so I returned to gather some more and put it in the pot with it.  After a few days it stopped munching and remained still - I wasn't sure if it had died or pupated, but kept it sitting on my desk and checked it daily.  On 19th May I looked again and noticed a change - protruding from the tip of the case were what looked like clear wings.  There was no sign of life though and I wondered if it had died on emergence - I hadn't at that point noticed any live insect in the pot.  I checked a bit harder and was pleased to see a moth sitting still on the bark.  Now Luffia ferchaultella is a parthenogenetic species and only wingless females are known.  This insect had wings, so it wasn't ferchaultella after all - it was Narcycia duplicella.  Anyway a first for me, not only a new species but the first time I've ever successfully reared a moth from a larva.

White-speckled Bagworm Narycia duplicella larva, Bittering, 13th April

White-speckled Bagworm Narycia duplicella reared from the above larva, 19th May