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.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Bugs and beetles outdoing the moths again

A visit to the Cathedral Meadows on 6th August produced two lifers in the space of a few seconds - in fact if I remember rightly they were both feeding on the same Hogweed: Adonis Ladybird and the sawfly Athalia liberta.

Adonis Ladybird, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 6th August

Athalia liberta, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 6th August

The following moths were seen: 2 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana, 20 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella and Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis.  Other insects included Southern Hawker, Field Grasshopper and Early and Buff-tailed Bumblebees.

Southern Hawker, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 6th August

That night the garden moth trap produced the goods once again, but it wasn't moths taking the limelight.  There were a few interesting moths though including two new for the year: New Oak Slender Caloptilia robustella and Dark Spectacle.

New Oak Slender Caloptilia robustella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 6th August

Dark Spectacle, North Elmham, 6th August

The other moths were 2 Carrion Moths Monopis weaverella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, 3 Golden Argents Argyresthia goedartella, Ermine sp. Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella, Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella, 3 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, 3 Brindled Flat-bodies Agonopterix arenella, 2 Dark Nebs Bryotropha affinis, Cinerous Neb Bryotropha terrella, 4 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Straw Conch Cochylimorpha straminea, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, 2 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, 28 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 45 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, Beautiful China-mark Nymphula nitidulata, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, Chequered Pearl Evergestis pallidata, 2 Pale Straw Pearls Udea lutealis, 7 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, 2 Maiden's Blushes, 4 Single-dotted Waves, Riband Wave, 3 Flame Carpets, 4 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 3 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Common Carpets, 2 Maple Pugs, Wormwood Pug, 5 Currant Pugs, 3 Tawny Speckled Pugs, Double-striped Pug, Scorched Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Dusky Thorn, Willow Beauty, Poplar Hawk-moth, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Swallow Prominent, 2 Dingy Footmen, 5 Turnip Moths, 3 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 4 Flame Shoulders, 11 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 5 Six-striped Rustics, Common Wainscot, Marbled Beauty, Copper Underwing, Straw Underwing, 3 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 2 Vine's Rustics, Silver Y, Spectacle and 7 Straw Dots.

Tawny Speckled Pug, North Elmham, 6th August

The mayflies, lacewings and caddisflies didn't cause too much excitement: Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum, 2 Blue-winged Olives Serratella ignita, Dichochrysa flavifrons, Conwentzia psociformis, Micromus variegatus, 2 Hydropsyche pellucidula, 8 Hydropsyche siltalai and Limnephilus auricula.

Conwentzia psociformis (male, gen det), North Elmham, 6th August

The bugs were more interesting with 3 lifers.   Apart from 3 Birch Shieldbugs and 2 Forest Bugs there was only one heteropteran bug, but that was exquisite, easily identified and new for me: Malacocoris chlorizans.

Malacocoris chlorizans, North Elmham, 6th August

Out of 3 leafhoppers, one was the very common Empoasca vitis but the other two were both species I had not recorded before.  One was Grypotes puncticollis, a relatively nondescript species that I struggled at first to identify.

Grypotes puncticollis, North Elmham, 6th August

The other was either Kybos butleri or Kybos rufescens.  The thick dark line down the dorsum makes these two Kybos species very striking compared to the other Kybos species that I see more frequently, but you need a look at a male's genitalia to separate the two and this one was a female.  Neither species' foodplants (different species of willow) grow sufficiently close to the garden for this to be a significant clue.  I don't think proper competetive pan-listers would count it without a full species-level ID but a new species-pair is good enough for me until such time as I get a male of one or other species.

Kybos butleri or Kybos rufescens (female), North Elmham, 6th August

The water beetle Colymbetes fuscus is apparently very common but was a new species for me.  Other beetles included Amara apricaria, Bradycellus verbasci, Aphodius rufipes and two small black rove beetles which I was unable to identify.  There were also 2 Hornets.

Colymbetes fuscus, North Elmham, 6th August

Sunday, 27 January 2019

3 new moths for the garden and a new lacewing

It was a poor night by neighbouring night's standards on 4th August with just 40 species.  Only one was new for the year, though a moth I'd only seen here once before: Small Dotted Buff.

Small Dotted Buff, North Elmham, 4th August

Other moths were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, 2 Little Ermines Swammerdamia pyrella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Straw Conch Cochylimorpha straminea, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 2 Barred Marbles Celypha striana, Hoary Bell Eucosma cana, 9 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 30 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Beautiful China-mark Nymphula nitidulata, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis, 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Single-dotted Wave, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Common Carpet, Small Waved Umber, Maple Pug, Dusky Thorn, Early Thorn, Scalloped Oak, Pebble Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, 2 Dingy Footmen, Ruby Tiger, 5 Turnip Moths, 2 Flame Shoulders, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 6 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 3 Common Wainscots, 2 Straw Underwings, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Silver Y and 7 Straw Dots.

Twin-spotted Wainscot, North Elmham, 4th August

Other insects included Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita (a mayfly) and Bradycellus verbasci (a beetle). Also noticed a Common Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus indoors during the day.

The following night was considerably better. with no less than 3 new moths for the garden including one I'd never seen anywhere before.  The lifer was Clouded Slender Caloptilia populetorum, apparently an increasing species with as many records in Norfolk in the last couple of years as there had ever been up to 2015.

Clouded Slender Caloptilia populetorum, North Elmham, 5th August

I thought this very worn moth was going to be one of the Momphids but on dissection it clearly didn't fit.  Skimming through other genitalia diagrams came across similar ones for the two Blastodacna species.  I see hellerella quite often and this was much bigger (forewing length 6 mm, worn).  Mine was in fact an Apple-pith Moth Blastodacna atra, a much rarer species.  I'd seen one in 2012 when living at Bawdeswell wbich was only second site the species had been recorded at in Norfolk since the 1800s and 3 people have recorded them since then, but it remains a very scarce species in Norfolk.  Don't think I would have ever guessed this ID from the moth's external appearance, although the size would have been a pretty big clue if I'd ever managed to figure out that it was a Blastodacna.  Fortunately there are a few small differences in the genitalia and this confirmed it.  The one I saw in 2012 was much easier!

Apple-pith Moth Blastodacna atra (female, gen det), North Elmham, 5th August

The third new moth for the garden had come from at least 15 miles away and was a bit more straightforward to identify: a Saltmarsh Plume Agdistis bennetii.  My third saltmarsh species this summer, though unlike the Silver-streaked Case-bearer Coleophora limoniella and the Saltern Groundling Scrobipalpa instabililla this species is well-known for occasionally wandering inland.

Saltmarsh Plume Agdistis bennetii, North Elmham, 5th August

There were 3 more moths that were new for the year: Pine Leaf-mining Moth Clavigesta purdeyi, Miller and 5 Flounced Rustics.

Pine Leaf-mining Moth Clavigesta purdeyi, North Elmham, 5th August

Miller, North Elmham, 5th August

Flounced Rustics, North Elmham, 5th August

A Twin-spotted Wainscot was my fifth this year - remarkable for a not-particularly-common species that lives in reedbeds.  It was in fact the fourth consecutive night the species turned up here, but definitely different individuals involved.  Also noteworthy were 4 Maple Pugs - double the highest number I've trapped on one night before.  Another record count was 6 Golden Argents Argyresthia goedartella.

Maple Pug, North Elmham, 5th August

The other moths were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, a Parornix sp. (escaped before it could be identified), Ermine sp. Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella, 2 Little Ermines Swammerdamia pyrella, 3 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, Small Dingy Tubic Borkhausenia fuscescens, 3 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Dark Neb Bryotropha affinis, 4 Cinerous Nebs Bryotropha terrella, House Neb Bryotropha domestica, 5 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, 2 Light Brown Apple-moths Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 3 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, 23 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 33 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, 2 Beautiful China-marks Nymphula nitidulata, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 15 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 3 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, 3 Single-dotted Waves, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 5 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, Common Carpet, Small Phoenix, 2 Currant Pugs, 3 Double-striped Pugs, 3 Yellow-barred Brindles, 2 Magpie Moths, 2 Brimstone Moths, 2 Canary-shouldered Thorns, 2 Willow Beauties, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pale Prominent, 2 Dingy Footmen, Scarce Footman, 3 Turnip Moths, 3 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 12 Flame Shoulders, 4 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 9 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, White-point, 3 Common Wainscots, 3 Straw Underwings, Cloaked Minor, 2 Vine's Rustics, Spectacle and 5 Straw Dots.

Yellow-barred Brindle, North Elmham, 5th August

Cloaked Minor, North Elmham, 5th August

Among the other insects the clear highlight was another new pine-feeding brown lacewing, this time Hemerobius stigma.

Hemerobius stigma, North Elmham, 5th August

Other lacewings were 2 Chrysoperla carnea, Cunctochrysa albolineata, Dichochrysa flavifrons and 3 Micromus variegatus.  Mayflies consisted of Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum and 8 Blue-winged Olives Serratella ignita and the caddisflies were 2 Ithytrichia lamellaris, Hydropsyche pellucidula, 4 Hydropsyche siltalai, Limnephilus marmoratus, Molanna angustata and Leptocerus tineiformis.

Among the leafhoppers this Lamprotettix nitidulus was new for the year.

Lamptotettix nitidulus, North Elmham, 5th August

I think this leafhopper is Oncopsis flavicollis but I have never seen this form before - it looks completely different from others I've seen.

Oncopsis flavicollis, North Elmham, 5th August

Apart from those leafhoppers, the only bug was Stenodema calcarata.

Stenodema calcarata, North Elmham, 5th August

Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium was new for the year.  Other beetles were 3 Amara apricaria, Bradycellus verbasci, Nicrophorus investigator and Aphodius rufipes.

Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium, North Elmham, 5th August

Finally there were 5 Hornets.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Saltmarsh meets North Elmham, a scarce barkfly, a new bug and a new beetle

2018 seems to have been an exceptional year for saltmarsh species making their way inland.  I have already blogged about a surprise Silver-streaked Case-bearer Coleophora limoniella that turned up here on 23rd July, one of 3 inland records in July of a species that had never turned up inland in Norfolk before.  I've also already blogged about a Saltmarsh Plume Agdistis bennetii at Derby Fen in June, and very soon I'll be writing about another one at home - again in a year when other observers have also recorded unusual numbers of these inland.  Well there was one more saltmarsh surprise in my North Elmham trap on 3rd August - a Saltern Groundling Scrobipalpa instabilella.  This is another very unexpected record - until this year the furthest inland records in Norfolk were at Catfield Fen in the Broads and at Dersingham.  There was another at Derby Fen on 8th August but this one is by far the furthest inland record there has been in Norfolk...

Saltern Groundling Scrobipalpa instabilella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

Small Waved Umber was only my second here, indeed only my third anywhere, and Birch Ermine Swammerdamia caesiella was also only my second here.

Small Waved Umber, North Elmham, 3rd August

Other moths new for the year were Red Hazel Midget Phyllonorycter nicellii, Birch Ermine Swammerdamia caesiella, Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana and 2 Tawny Speckled Pugs.

Red Hazel Midget Phyllonorycter nicellii (female, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

Birch Ermine Swammerdamia caesiella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana, North Elmham, 3rd August

Tawny Speckled Pug, North Elmham, 3rd August

Other micros were 3 Bordered Carls Coptotriche marginea, Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, 2 Bird’s-nest Moths Tinea trinotella, Brown Birch Slender Parornix betulae, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, 2 Horse-Chestnut Leaf-miners Cameraria ohridella, 2 Golden Argents Argyresthia goedartella, Orchard/Apple/Spindle Ermine agg. Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella, Little Ermine Swammerdamia pyrella, 2 Wainscot Smudges Ypsolopha scabrella, 6 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, 2 Clover Case-bearers Coleophora alcyonipennella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Golden-brown Tubic Crassa unitella, Small Dingy Tubic Borkhausenia fuscescens, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 4 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, 2 Brindled Flat-bodies Agonopterix arenella, 4 House Nebs Bryotropha domestica, 7 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, London Dowd Blastobasis lacticolella, 2 Common Yellow Conches Agapeta hamana, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, 3 Light Brown Apple-moths Epiphyas postvittana, Dover Shade Cnephasia genitalana, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, 2 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, Mottled Marble Bactra furfurana, Small Birch Bell Epinotia ramella, Common Cloaked Shoot Gypsonoma dealbana, Bright Bell Eucosma hohenwartiana, Two-coloured Bell Eucosma obumbratana, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, 45 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 48 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 8 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, 3 Beautiful China-marks Nymphula nitidulata, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, Chequered Pearl Evergestis pallidata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 14 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 4 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, New Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria sylvestrella, 2 Beautiful Plumes Amblyptilia acanthadactyla and 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla.

Mottled Marble Bactra furfurana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

New Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria sylvestrella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

The rest of the macros were 2 Orange Swifts, Blood-vein, Small Blood-vein, 3 Single-dotted Waves, 4 Riband Waves, Flame Carpet, 3 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 3 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, Garden Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, 5 Common Carpets, Yellow Shell, 2 Maple Pugs, Lime-speck Pug, Bordered Beauty, Early Thorn, 2 Scalloped Oaks, 5 Willow Beauties, Poplar Hawk-moth, Iron Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, 4 Dingy Footmen, Ruby Tiger, 3 Turnip Moths, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 8 Flame Shoulders, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 8 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, Cabbage Moth, Common Wainscot, Marbled Beauty, 4 Straw Underwings, 2 Lesser Common Rustics, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Fen Wainscot, Rustic and 22 Straw Dots.

Mayflies included what I think is a Pale Watery Baetis fuscatus, but although I identified this at the time and let it go I omitted to add it to my notes or caption the photo, so I'm now having to identify it again from the photos which I never like doing with mayflies.  Also 2 Blue-winged Olives Serratella ignita.

Pale Watery Baetis fuscatus, North Elmham, 3rd August

There was a good selection of green and brown lacewings: 2 Chrysoperla carnea, 2 Cunctochrysa albolineata, Dichochrysa flavifrons, Hemerobius lutescens and Micromus variegatus.

Among the caddisflies Athripsodes albifrons was new for the year; there were also 2 Ithytrichia lamellaris, 2 Hydropsyche pellucidula, 3 Hydropsyche siltalai, Limnephilus auricula and 1-2 Athripsodes aterrimus.

Athripsodes albifrons, North Elmham, 3rd August

The best of the bugs was Atractotomus parvulus, a new species for me.

Atractotomus parvulus (male, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

Deraeocoris lutescens was also new for the year, and other bugs were  Birch Shieldbug, Blepharidopterus angulatus and the leafhopper Empoasca vitis.

Deraeocoris lutescens, North Elmham, 3rd August

This barkfly was eventually identified as Valenzuela piceus, a scarce species according to the National Barkfly Recording Scheme.  There are only 9 records on NBN for the whole country, the nearest being in the Cambridge area, but that doesn't always mean a great deal as barkflies are one of the taxa that aren't well represented in NBN.

Valenzuela piceus, North Elmham, 3rd August

Among the beetles there were a dozen or so Bradycellus sp.  Usually these turn out to be Bradycellus verbasci and one of the two I retained did just so.  As soon as I looked at the other one under the microscope I had a feeling it was a different species and so it proved - my first Bradycellus harpalinus.  Other beetles included an Ophonus sp. that I couldn't quite resolve and another Aphodius rufipes.

Bradycellus harpalinus (male, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

A quick visit to the meadows produced Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla and a 7-spot Ladybird.