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.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Abundant rarely-recorded waxflies

I headed up to the Cathedral Meadows early on Saturday 12th May.  One striking feature was the abundance of Waxflies flying alongside the hedgerows.  There are several species of Waxfly and most are poorly recorded (which is presumably how I added two species to the Norfolk list from my garden last year).  Several can only be identified if they are male, so I retained enough to be reasonably confident that I would have males from each of the two tetrads I was covering.  In the end they were all males and they all proved to be Coniopteryx tineiformis, a very poorly-recorded species.  I had one at home in 2016 but prior to that there was just one record in Norfolk.  I have noticed early morning waxflies flying around hawthorns elsewhere at this time of year before - I bet this is actually a very common and widespread species that simply isn't recorded.  I don't suppose there are all that many people out at five in the morning with nets who are prepared to catch waxflies and examine their genitalia.  Quite odd really - I wonder why not?

Coniopteryx tineiformis (males, gen det), Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

There were also a few moths flying around including Common Thorn Midget Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, 5 Horse Chestnut Leaf-miners Cameraria ohridella, 2 Pearled Dwarfs Elachista apicipunctella and Little Mompha Mompha raschkiella.

Pearled Dwarf Elachista apicipunctella, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

Little Mompha Mompha raschkiella, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

This Scorpion Fly is another Panorpa germanica.

Parnorpa germanica, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

I think this springtail is Pogonognathellus longicornis, though it's quite a bit smaller than they can get, the antennae were only fractionally longer than the body and the filaments on the empodia (is that the pluaral of empodium?) weren't quite as long as they're supposed to be.  On the scarcer flavescens the antennae should be shorter than the body and the empodium shorter than the claw, neither of which were the case, quite.  I think the similar Tomocerus species have less tapered antennae and spines on the inside of the dens which I couldn't see, but I'm basing this primarily on the descriptions of the 4 Tomocerid species at Naturespot, and I'm not 100% sure there aren't any other contenders I should rule out (or in).

Pogonognathellus longicornis, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

I have struggled a bit using the key to land snails but decided to put a bit more effort in this year as I'm trying to record as many different taxa as possible at the meadows.  Today I identified White-lipped Snail, Strawberry Snail (both of which I had identified before) and Copse Snail (which was entirely new to me).

 Copse Snail, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

White-lipped Snail, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

Strawberry Snail, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

As I understand it these slugs can't be identified to either Great Red Slug or Great Black Slug without dissection and examination of their genitalia.  For some reason looking at a slug's naughty bits is somehow less appealing than looking at a moth or waxfly's naughty bits...

Great Red Slug or perhaps Great Black Slug, Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

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