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, 11 June 2018

New beetle and bugs make up for unremarkable moths

After a decent afternoon at the meadows on 28th May I set the light at home as usual and drew in a selection of moths over the night.  There was nothing very unexpected but the following were new for the year: Crescent Bell Epinotia bilunana, 2 Buff Ermines, Large Yellow Underwing, Mottled Rustic and Marbled White Spot.

Crescnt Bell Epinotia bilunana, North Elmham, 28th May

Buff Ermine, North Elmham, 28th May

Large Yellow Underwing, North Elmham, 28th May

Mottled Rustic, North Elmham, 28th May

Marbled White Spot, North Elmham, 28th May

Other moths trapped that night were Common Mompha Mompha epilobiella, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, 3 Common Swifts, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Silver-ground Carpet, 3 Green Carpets, Currant Pug, 6 Common Pugs, Brown Silver-line, Brimstone Moth, Pale Oak Beauty, Engrailed, Privet Hawk-moth, 2 Eyed Hawk-moths, 2 White Ermines, 4 Heart and Darts, Flame Shoulder, Shears, 5 Common Wainscots, Rustic Shoulder-knot, 2 Brown Rustics, 5 Treble Lines and Spectacle.

Brown Rustic, North Elmham, 28th May

The following night this Clouded Silver was the only new moth for the garden year-list.

Clouded Silver, North Elmham, 29th May

The other moths were Diamond-back Plutella xylostella, Light Brown Apple-moth Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, Cream Wave, Silver-ground Carpet, 7 Green Carpets, Mottled Pug, Common Pug, Brimstone Moth, Scalloped Hazel, Poplar Hawk-moth, 2 Elephant Hawk-moths, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, 3 Pale Tussocks, 3 White Ermines, 2 Buff Ermines, 3 Heart and Darts, Flame Shoulder, 2 Common Wainscots, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Brown Rustic, 3 Treble Lines, Silver Y and 2 Spectacles.

Caddisflies conisted of 7 Limnephilus auricula and, new for the year, 2 Limnephilus lunatus.

Limnephilus lunatus, North Elmham, 29th May

This beetle on the ground near the trap proved to be Nebria brevicollis.  When keying it out on first attempt I misinterpreted the degree of swelling on the mandibles and the length of the palps so keying it to Leistus sp.  The Leistus key led me to Leistus rufomarginatus and the insect certainly looked a lot like the one I'd identified as that a while back (13th May).  But I noticed the size was slightly out and I decided to go back through the genus key and double check, at which point I realised it was Nebria not Leistus.  In hindsight I think I probably made the same mistake with the one on 13th May, and that that was probably Nebria brevicollis too, though I shan't record it as I no longer have the specimen to check.

Nebria brevicollis, North Elmham, 29th May

I found a Treble Brown Spot in the hall the following day, a new one for the year, and a Diamond-back Plutella xylostella in the garden.

Treble Brown Spot, North Elmham, 30th May

In the trap that night were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Black-headed Dwarf Elachista atricomella, Timothy Tortrix Aphelia paleana, Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, Clouded Border, Marbled Brown and 3 Straw Dots, all new species for the year.

Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, North Elmham, 30th May

Black-headed Dwarf Elachista atricomella, North Elmham, 30th May

Timothy Tortrix Aphelia paleana, North Elmham, 30th May

Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, North Elmham, 30th May

Marbled Brown, North Elmham, 30th May

Straw Dot, North Elmham, 30th May

There was a good selection of other moths too: 7 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, 3 Light Brown Apple-moths Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana, Triple-blotched Bell Notocelia trimaculana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 4 Hook-streak Grass-veneers Crambus lathoniellus, 5 Small Magpies Anania hortulata, 2 Bee Moths Aphomia sociella, Pebble Hook-tip, Chinese Character, 2 Silver-ground Carpets, 2 Mottled Pugs, Currant Pug, 2 Common Pugs, White-pinion Spotted, Poplar Hawk-moth, 2 Pale Tussocks, 2 White Ermines, 4 Buff Ermines, 3 Heart and Darts, Shears, Lychnis, 4 Common Wainscots, 4 Treble Lines and Spectacle.

There was a single beetle in the trap, a new species for me Dasytes aeratus.

Dasytes aeratus, North Elmham, 30th May

There was also a Hydropsyche pellucidula (caddisfly) and 2 Psallus sp. (mirid bugs) which at first I left unidentified.  Thanks to Tristan Bantock I have just accessed an excellent key that enables me to make more progress with these and I have been able to establish that they were different species, one Psallus varians and the other either Psallus perrisi or Psallus wagneri.  Both were females and the perrisi/wagneri pair need male genitalia to resolve to speices level (though I think perrisi is much more likely, and a male caught nearby a few days later was indeed this species).

Pasllus varians, North Elmham, 30th May

Pasllus perrisi or Psallus wagneri, North Elmham, 30th May

Friday, 8 June 2018

Another kuhlweiniella

I found 30 moths of 13 species in a wander round the meadows on Monday 28th May.  Among the better ones was another Corn Moth Nemapogon granella, the first time I've recorded one outside.  Also for comparison a Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella.

Corn Moth Nemapogon granella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Perhaps even better was a Scarce Oak Midget Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella.  I've only ever seen these on or around oak trees before so it was a great surprise to net this from the middle of one of the larger fields, at least 200m from the nearest Oak.

Scarce Oak Midget Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

The other moths were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella, 2 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana, 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Sharp-winged Drill Dichrorampha acuminatana, 8 Hook-streak Grass-veneers Crambus lathoniellus, Green Carpet and 7 Straw Dots.

Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Sharp-winged Drill Dichrorampha acuminatana, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Other insects included my first bush-cricket for the site, a nymph Dark Bush-cricket, two species of Scorpion Fly (Panorpa germanica and Panorpa communis), a Green Drake (mayfly) Ephemera danica, a Dock Bug and a copulating pair of Parent Bugs, the soldier beetles Cantharis livida and Cantharis rustica (the livida appears to be a new one for me, though I think I've tentatively identified them from photos before), a 7-spot Ladybird and a more straightforwardly-identified (compared to the last one) Tenthredo arcuata (sawfly).

Dark Bush-cricket nymph, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Parent Bugs, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Cantharis livida, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Cantharis rustica, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

7-spot Ladybird, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Tenthredo arcuata, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

I think this leaf-mine on Broad-leaved Dock may belong to the fly Pegomya bicolor, but I'm not sure if other species can be eliminated or not (let me know if you think it can be recorded confidently).

probable Pegomya bicolor leafmine, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

I kept seeing this apparent fungal growth on Cocksfoot grass and was reminded of a photo I'd seen someone post on Twitter just before I came out.  I looked at my Twitter feed to see if anyone had replied to identify it and top of my feed, having tweeted literally seconds before I looked, was a reply from James Emerson confirming that it was a fungus called Choke.  Apparently there may be several species according to the species it grows on, and this one would therefore be Epichloe typhina.  Not a very good example in this photo - others were thicker and more obvious (but evidently harder to photograph!).

Epichlioe typhina, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 28th May

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Two nice new moths for the garden and a rare but distinctive caddisfly

Saturday 26th May was a quieter night than the previous night but there was still plenty of interest.  Best of all was this Triple-barred Argent Argyresthia trifasciata, new for the garden and only my second ever - and a beautiful little moth.

Triple-barred Argent Argyresthia trifasciata, North Elmham, 26th May

Other moths that were new for the year were Fulvous Clothes Moth Tinea semifulvella, Hedge Case-bearer Coleophora striatipennella, Common Carpet, Flame and Marbled Minor agg., though the last of these doesn't count as it got away preventing a species-level ID.

Fulvous Clothes Moth Tinea sermifulvella, North Elmham, 26th May

Hedge Case-bearer Coleophora striatipennella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 26th May

Common Carpet, North Elmham, 26th May

Flame, North Elmham, 26th May

Other moths were Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 2 Silver-ground Carpets, Garden Carpet, Broken-barred Carpet, Green Carpet, 6 Mottled Pugs, Currant Pug, 4 Common Pugs, 2 Brimstone Moths, 2 Pale Tussocks, 2 Orange Footmen, 5 White Ermines, Cinnabar, Flame Shoulder, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Common Wainscot and 4 Treble Lines.

Setaceous Hebrew Character, North Elmham, 26th May

There was only one caddisfly in the trap but it was a highly distinctive creature that I didn't recognise at all.  It turned out to be Limnephilus elegans, a species of raised bogs and fens that according to the RES handbook is "Local in New Forest, north Midlands, N England, Wales and Scotland."  Well I don't know about you but in view of that I wouldn't expect to find this species in a central Norfolk garden!  But there seemed to be no mistaking it and a quick check with the county recorder confirmed that there is at least one county record (at Ranworth).  But it does seem to be pretty rare anywhere in East Anglia, so probably my best caddisfly yet.

Limnephilus elegans, North Elmham, 26th May

By catch also included a couple of new species for the garden, Common Red Ant Myrmica rubra (I'm sure that wasn't really new for the garden of course, but its the first red ant here that I've looked at critically) and the beetle Bembedion lampros.  Also the mayfly Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum and a Common Wasp.

Next day this Cream Wave was on my gate, a new species for the year.

Cream Wave, North Elmham, 27th May

In the trap that night the highlight was a Large Brindled Clothes Moth Triaxomera parasitella, my second new moth for the garden in consecutive nights.

Large Brindled Clothes Moth Triaxomera parasitella, North Elmham, 27th May

Also new for the year were Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, Blood-vein, 2 Sandy Carpets, Brown Rustic and a fully-identified Marbled Minor.

Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteucha culmella, North Elmham, 27th May

Blood-vein, North Elmham, 27th May

Sandy Carpet, North Elmham, 27th May

Brown Rustic, North Elmham, 27th May

Marbled Minor (male, gen det), North Elmham, 27th May

Other moths were Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, 2 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Yellow-faced Bell Notocelia cynosbatella, Hook-streak Grass-veneer Crambus lathoniellus, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, 2 Silver-ground Carpets, 2 Green Carpets, Mottled Pug, 2 Common Pugs, 2 White Ermines, 2 Heart and Darts, Shears, 2 Common Wainscots and 2 Treble Lines.

Hot on the heels of the previous day's indivual there was another Bembidion lampros.

Bembedion lampros, North Elmham, 27th May