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.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

A good new moth overshadowed by a first for Norfolk

If Frost's Common didn't quite live up to expectations on Tuesday 22nd August, the garden moth trap certainly did.  A haul of 165 moths of 61 species wasn't at all bad for the second half of August and there were a couple of noteworthy species among them.  By far the best was this Dark Smudge Ypsolopha horridella, a new moth for me and also just the 7th record for Norfolk.

Dark Smudge Ypsolopha horridella, North Elmham, 22nd August

This Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana was new for the year.

Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana, North Elmham, 22nd August

The other moths were White Oak Midget Phyllonorycter harrisella, Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, 6 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, 4 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 6 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 25 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, 3 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, 2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Pebble Hook-tip, Chinese Character, Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Garden Carpet, 2 Common Carpets, Yellow Shell, Common Marbled Carpet, 6 Green Carpets, Sharp-angled Carpet, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 11 Brimstone Moths, Common White Wave, 2 Common Waves, 5 Light Emeralds, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 6 Flame Shoulders, 9 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, 2 Six-striped Rustics, Square-spot Rustic, 6 Common Wainscots, Mouse Moth, 6 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 3 Vine's Rustics, 3 Straw Dots and 5 Snouts.

So the moths were good, but the real highlight wasn't a moth but a waxfly, tiny relatives of lacewings covered in powdery white scales.  Several species of waxfly can't be identified if they are females and when I keyed this one out the other day I looked at its abdomen and sexed it as a female.  At this point I nearly threw it away thinking it would not be possible to determine it, but at the last minute I decided to macerate its abdomen to get a better look just in case I was mistaken.  What a good job I did, as it was in fact a male, and thus identifiable by examining its genitalia... and they proved that it was Semidalis pseudouncinata.  Not only a new species for me, but a new species for Norfolk!  This is a relatively new species in Britain, until recently only known from the south-east, but was considered likely to expand its range into other parts and I gather it has now been found just over the border at Santon Downham.

Semidalis pseudouncinata, North Elmham, 22nd August

I have caught just 5 waxflies at home this year.  Three were Conwentzia sp. that could not be identified to species as they were females and the two males that could be fully identified were both new species for Norfolk (here is a link to my account of the other, Coniopteryx esbenpeterseni).

Other lacewings that night were Chrysoperla carnea, Cunctochrysa albolineata, Nineta vittata and Hemerobius lutescens, the last being new for the year.

Hemerobius lutescens, North Elmham, 22nd August

A Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum was the only mayfly and the best caddisfly was another Small Silver Sedge Lepidostoma hirtum - recorded now on three consecutive nights.  Other caddisflies were Hydropsyche siltalai, 5 Hydropsyche pellucidula and Limnephilus lunatus and there were 2 Forest Bugs and the leafhopper Empoasca vitis.

The best of the beetles was my first ever Amara bifrons.  Others were Bradycellus verbasci, 3 Aphodius rufipes, Stenagostus rhombeus and Harlequin Ladybird.

Amara bifrons, North Elmham, 22nd August

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