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, 5 January 2019

New bugs including some interesting leaf/plant hoppers

Compared to the previous two nights 25th July was relatively quiet, with just 2 new moths for the year: Dark Ash-bud Moth Prays ruficeps and Little Mompha Mompha raschkiella.

Little Mompha Mompha raschkiella, North Elmham, 25th July

The other micros were Fulvous Clothes Moth Tinea semifulvella, Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Willow Bent-wing Phyllocnistis saligna, Little Ermine Swammerdamia pyrella, Wainscot Smudge Ypsolopha scabrella, 3 Clover Case-bearers Coleophora alcyonipennella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, 2 Cinerous Nebs Bryotropha terrella, 2 House Nebs Bryotropha domestica, Ash-coloured Crest Acompsia cinerella, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, probable Four-spotted Obscure Oegoconia quadripuncta (not confirmed), 4 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 4 Barred Marbles Celypha striana, 3 Bright Bells Eucosma hohenwartiana, 2 Hoary Bells Eucosma cana, 2 Bud Moths Spilonota ocellana, 3 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, Inlaid Grass-veneer Crambus pascuella, 236 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 8 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 4 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, 2 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, Beautiful China-mark Nymphula nitidulata, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, Lesser Pearl Sitochroa verticalis, Dusky Pearl Udea prunalis, 6 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis and Broad-barred Knot-horn Acrobasis consociella.

Macros consisted of 2 Least Carpets, 5 Small Fan-footed Waves, 7 Single-dotted Waves, 6 Riband Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Small Phoenixes, July Highflyer, 2 Lime-speck Pugs, Magpie Moth, Clouded Border, Brimstone Moth, Bordered Beauty, Early Thorn, Scalloped Oak, Poplar Hawk-moth, 3 Pale Prominents, 2 Yellow-tails, 12 Dingy Footmen, Buff Ermine, 2 Ruby Tigers, 2 Turnip Moths, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Bright-line Brown-eye, Brown-line Bright Eye, 3 Clays, Smoky Wainscot, Common Wainscot, Dun-bar, Dusky Sallow, Rosy Rustic, 19 Uncertains, 4 Rustics, Nut-tree Tussock and 3 Straw Dots.

There weren't any lacewings but these were the mayflies: Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, 3 Pale Evening Duns Procloeon bifidum and 10 Blue-winged Olives Serratella ignita. Caddisflies consisted of Hydroptila sparsa, Hydropsyche siltalai, Medium Sedge Goera pilosa, Limnephilus auricula and Molanna angustata.

One of two leafhoppers was a lifer, Populicerus confusus (the other was Empoasca vitis).  There were 2 Amara apicaria (ground beetles) and a Hornet.

Populicerus confusus, North Elmham, 25th July

The following night was better with 427 moths of 89 species, but it was the other insects, particularly the bugs, that provided most interest.  I'll start with the moths though...

A Rivulet was the only new moth for the year, but there were a few other species I don't record very often, like what I think was a Coarse Hazel Pigmy Stigmella floslactella (but although it keyed to this relatively distinctive species the genitalia weren't an exact match to images online and other species can perhaps come close in external appearance), and a Thicket Knot-horn Acrobasis suavella (my third here this year but my first was only last year).

Rrivulet, North Elmham, 26th July

Thicket Knot-horn Acrobasis suavella, North Elmham, 26th July

I can no longer count the Willow Bent-wing Phyllocnistis saligna or any past records as these are now categorised as Grade 4 requiring dissection.  The other two Norfolk Phyllocnistis species are relatively simply eliminated on external features so I've never retained these for dissection, but there is a fourth species that has not yet been found in Norfolk, Phyllocnistis ramulicola, that looks very similar.  There may be external differences but these haven't been clearly established yet, so in future I shall have to retain and dissect any I get (though at the moment I'm not clear what the differences are in genitalia either...).

A count of 6 Four-spotted Obscures Oegoconia quadripuncta was a record - in fact I wrote 7 down in my notes as I was clearing the trap but later on I could only find 6 specimens to confirm.

Other micros were Chestnut Pigmy Stigmella samiatella, 2 Cork Moths Nemapogon cloacella, Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Apple Leaf-miner Lyonetia clerkella, Ribwort Slender Aspilapteryx tringipennella, 2 Garden Midgets Phyllonorycter messaniella, Horse-Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella, Cherry-fruit Moth Argyresthia pruniella, 2 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, 2 Little Ermines Swammerdamia pyrella, Hawthorn Ermine Paraswammerdamia nebulella, Wainscot Smudge Ypsolopha scabrella, 5 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, 4 Golden-brown Tubics Crassa unitella, 3 Small Dingy Tubics Borkhausenia fuscescens, 5 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 4 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, 2 Cinerous Nebs Bryotropha terrella, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, 9 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Hawthorn Cosmet Blastodacna hellerella, Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana, Burdock Conch Aethes rubigana, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, Privet Tortrix Clepsis consimilana, Light Brown Apple-moth Epiphyas postvittana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 3 Barred Marbles Celypha striana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, 3 Hoary Bells Eucosma cana, 2 Bud Moths Spilonota ocellana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, 225 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 20 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, 3 Pale Water-veneers Donacaula forficella, 2 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis and 7 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis.

The rest of the macros were Blood-vein, Least Carpet, 2 Small Fan-footed Waves, 7 Single-dotted Waves, Small Scallop, 4 Riband Waves, 5 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, Yellow Shell, Small Phoenix, July Highflyer, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Early Thorn, Scalloped Oak, Willow Beauty, Pale Prominent, Yellow-tail, Black Arches, 6 Dingy Footmen, 2 Common Footmen, 3 Ruby Tigers, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, Flame Shoulder, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Double Square-spot, 3 Clays, 2 Smoky Wainscots, Straw Underwing, 4 Dun-bars, Common Rustic, 11 Uncertains, 4 Rustics, 2 Nut-tree Tussocks, Spectacle and 3 Straw Dots.

Mayflies consisted of Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum, 4 Green Drakes Ephemera danica and 11 Blue-winged Olives Serratella ignita.  Although Green Drakes are the largest Mayfly they don't seem to be very hardy and perhaps only survive one night as most of those I trap are found dead in the bottom of the trap.  All 4 of today's were dead.

A waxfly was a female Coniopteryx - females can't be identified to species level unfortunately.  The only other Neuroptera was the brown lacewing Micromus variegatus.

Caddisflies were 3 Ithytrichia lamellaris, Polycentropus flavomaculatus, Hydropsyche siltalai, Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus, Athripsodes aterrimus and 3 Grouse Wings Mystacides longicornis.

It's been a good summer for me finding new species of bug already, and on this one night I caught no less than 4 new species!  Starting with the heteropteran bugs, Orthotylus flavosparsus was a lifer, Pinalitus cervinus was new for the year and there were 2 more Trigonotylus caelestialium.

Orthotylus flavosparsus, North Elmham, 26th July

Pinalitus cervinus, North Elmham, 26th July

The homopteran bugs threw up some surprises.  Cicadula frontalis was the first lifer, followed by one I wouldn't necessarily expect here, Opsius stactogalus.  It sounds like this is a new colonists, initially to southern England, but it feeds on Tamarisk which I think of as mainly a coastal plant.  Maybe someone has some Tamarisk locally, but I don't recall seeing it.  Anyway, it seems to be quite a distinctive species so I presume my ID is correct (though of course I always welcome corrections if any reader notices a mistake).  An Empoasca vitis was the only other leafhopper.

Cicadula frontalis, North Elmham, 26th July

Opsius stactogalus, North Elmham, 26th July

The following planthopper proved to be another interesting find.  This one was quite an ID challenge having to be keyed out carefully but in the end I am left with no other options apart from Struebingianella lugubrina.  On the face of it this seems rather unlikely as this prefers marshy habitats and is normally brachypterous (i.e. has very reduced wings).  The texts say that macropterous (full-winged) individuals occur rarely (though I can't find any photos of any) so the odds of me trapping a full-winged individual in my garden seem rather low.  But I have checked it carefully and if the key is right then that's what it is.  Of course new leafhoppers are being found all the time and some of them become common in a short space of time, so perhaps there is another similar species that doesn't feature in the key?  I shall enquire about this when I submit my records but in the meantime I'm putting it down as a macropterous Struebingianella lugubrina.  I suppose you could argue that macropterous individuals, rare though they may be, might be the individuals that are most likely to wander far from their usual locations.

apparent macropterous Struebingianella lugubrina, North Elmham, 26th July - the lower photo shows the gonocoxa the shape of which is a significant clue to the identification

Beetles included 3 Amara apricaria, 5 Bradycellus verbasci, 2 Hydrobius fuscipes, Nicrophorus investigator, Aphodius rufipes, Common Red Soldier Beetle Rhagonycha fulva and what I think was either Ophonus puncticeps or Ophonus schaubergerianus.  There were also two rove beetles that I am currently unable to identify - a smallish black one and a large black one.  I thought the latter was going to be a Devil's Coach Horse or something similar but it seems not to be that genus even.  I've kept hold of them for now and will check again if I ever get any better references for rove beetles.

The only other thing I noted was a Common Wasp.

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