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, 20 May 2018

Battered new moths for the year and a new beetle

Last Saturday night (12th May) produced a few moths with Flame Carpet, Spruce Carpet, 2 V-Pugs, Scalloped Hazel and White Ermine being new for the year.  It's always nice at this time of year when new species are appearing that you see them looking at their best, pristine fresh insects just emerged.  Well I don't know what's going on at the moment but they all seem to be coming out looking like they're on their last legs already.  Apart from the Spruce Carpet none of the above were especially smart, the V-Pugs and White Ermine were particularly well-worn already.

Flame Carpet, North Elmham, 12th May

Spruce Carpet, North Elmham, 12th May

V-Pug, North Elmham, 12th May

Other moths were Pointed Groundling Scrobipalpa acuminatella, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Common Pug, Brindled Pug, Double-striped Pug, Muslin Moth and Shuttle-shaped Dart.

Pointed Groundling Scrobipalpa acuminatella, North Elmham, 12th May

A Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum (a mayfly) was new for the year.

Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, North Elmham, 12th May

It was a good night for caddisflies too.  The majority (11) were Limnephilus auricula but there were also Grammotaulius nigropunctatus and 2 Limnephilus sparsus, both new for the year.

Grammotaulius nigropunctatus (female), North Elmham, 12th May

Limnephilus sparsus (female top, male bottom), North Elmham, 12th May

Although it was a clear evening on Sunday the forecast promised it would cloud over at dusk so I thought it might be a good night for moths.  I should have learnt from last time and gone to the meadows before dark to see what was flying in the evening sunshine but instead went for the light-trapping option.  On arrival at dusk it was still clear and the forecast had pushed back the arrival time of the cloud, but it wasn't going to be long so I set up.  As I did so the forecast moved the cloud's arrival time back another hour and I could already feel the temperatures dropping.  I gave it a little time but there was hardly anything flying and the estimated arrival time of the cloud was still pushing back even later.  Instead of cloud, mist was forming, and just after 11pm I gave up with just 5 species of moths (most of which were seen in torchlight rather than coming to light).  They were Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, 4 Green Carpets, White-pinion Spotted, 4 Flame Shoulders and Powdered Quaker.

Flame Shoulder, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 13th May

Slightly better from my perspective was a new species of hoverfly for me, though a common one that I have almost certainly overlooked: Melanostoma mellinum.

Melanostoma mellinum, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 13th May

A wander round with the headtorch resulted in the discovery of a few caterpillars which I believe are Common Footmen (at least on algae-covered fences) and a Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, on a rusty gate.

Common Footmen larvae, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 13th May

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing larva, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 13th May

Unsurprisingly, not many moths in the trap at home either: just Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Common Pug, Coxcomb Prominent, Pale Prominent, Chocolate-tip and White Ermine. But there was a beetle that I haven't identified before, Leistus rufomarginatus (but see edit below).

Edit 2nd June: hmm, maybe this beetle isn't Leistus after all.  I've just attempted to key out another beetle which also keyed to Leistus rufomarginatus, but I noticed it was a little on the large side for this species and looked again.  Seems what I thought were dilated mandibles and long palps may not have been quite enough to point to Leistus, as Nebria brevicollis was a better fit.  I haven't still got the specimen for this one to double-check but I think it's probably also Nebria brevicollis, not Leistus rufomarginatus and not a new species...

probable Nebria brevicollis (and probably not Leistus rufomarginatus as given before), North Elmham, 13th May

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