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, 22 December 2018

An excellent haul of good moths and other insects

Numerically the night of 23rd July wasn't the best this year, though not far behind with 594 moths of 127 species.  For quality though it was fantastic, with potentially 4 totally new moths, a new moth for the garden that is very unexpected inland and a range of other interesting species.  With several additions to the year list it brought my garden year list to 500 (I still need to check I haven't missed any off so it might be more).

One of the commonest and most widespread macro moths that I'd not previously seen anywhere finally gave itself up.  With a corner of one of its wings missing it won't be the tidiest specimen I'll ever see I hope, but nevertheless great to finally record an Olive.

Olive, North Elmham, 23rd July

A moth that looked like a White-line Dart ended up being a real conundrum, and one that is not yet solved.  I don't see White-line Darts very often and have never had one here before so although I was pretty sure it was a White-line Dart I thought I better keep it back to double check.  If I'd just taken a photo of it and let it go that would be the end of the story, a nice new addition to the garden list and that would be that.  White-line Darts can look very similar to Garden Darts, but as far as I know Garden Dart never shows the broad pale edges to the wings, the clear white lines and the dark spear marks towards the tip of the wing.  A few examples may show one or other of these features perhaps, but I have not seen anything to suggest they could ever show the lot in combination.  To all intents and purposes my moth was a straightforward White-line Dart.

But I didn't have time to look at it straightaway, and as it was dead by the time I did I thought I might as well dissect it - it could be useful to have its genitalia for reference when I get a trickier individual another time, I thought.  There are two features that separate female White-line Dart genitalia from Garden Dart - and this one, very clearly, showed both features of Garden Dart!  White-line Dart would be good, new for the garden, but Garden Dart would be even better - I've never seen one anywhere!  But I could not, and still cannot, reconcile this moth's external appearance with Garden Dart - surely it has to be White-line Dart?  Well, I sent photos of moth and genitalia off for a second opinion and received a response that agreed the genitalia were Garden Dart.  But when I pressed the matter to make sure he thought the external appearance was possible on Garden Dart I was advised not to record it as such but to keep the moth until such time as I can get it DNA-tested.  So for now it remains a mystery and isn't going down as anything apart from an either-or.

Apparently some authorities now think there are several different species of White-line Dart, at least two of which probably occur in Norfolk.  Maybe when this situation is clarified the identification of my individual will become clearer... or maybe not!

White-line Dart or Garden Dart, North Elmham, 23rd July

I probably won't record another new moth I caught that night either, though I'm sufficiently happy with the ID to count it for my own purposes.  I believe it is a Small Birch Pigmy Stigmella sakhalinella. It keyed to this species but keying alone can lead to erros with this group due to the similarities between the species, so I always like to check the genitalia against similar species. In this case the genitalia look fine for sakhalinella, I think they're wrong for the similar betulicola (but I'm not 100% sure as the reference material isn't entirely clear) but I can't find any reference material to compare with the also-similar microtheriella.  It's just about concivable if microtheriella has similar genitalia that it could be that species.  I think I need a little bit more information before I can record this officially, but it's going down on my personal list.

apparent Small Birch Pigmy Stigmella sakhalinella (male), North Elmham, 23rd July

I thought I'd seen this species before but it seems that I hadn't (at least not the adult, and I don't count leafmines on my list at the moment), so it was another lifer: Dark Alder Midget Phyllonorycter klemannella.

Dark Alder Midget Phyllonorycter klemannella (female, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

One moth was more surprising than any of thes.  It feeds on Common Sea-lavendar and is found along the north Norfolk coast (and at Breydon Water in the east).  Until July 2018 there were no records of this species inland at all (in Norfolk that is - I don't know about elsewhere).  By Coleophora standards this is a highly distinctive and recognisable species - Silver-streaked Case-bearer Coleophora limoniella.  There wasn't really any doubt about its ID but given how unusual this record was I did check its genitalia just to remove any question.  An inland record of this species wasn't quite unprecedented though - there were two more during the previous few days, one at Fakenham at one apparently caught at Narborough.  It was a good year for inland records of Saltmarsh Plume Agdistis bennetii - I wonder if this is coincidence or if they are linked in some way?

Silver-streaked Case-bearer Coleophora limoniella, North Elmham, 23rd July

A Small Purple Flat-body Agonopterix purpurea was only my second ever and other new moths for the year were Apple Leaf-miner Lyonetia clerkella, Mouse-ear Groundling Caryocolum fraternella, Chamomile Conch Cochylidia implicitana, Cock’s-head Bell Zeiraphera isertana, Acorn Piercer Pammene fasciana and Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella.

Small Purple Flat-body Agonopterix purpurea, North Elmham, 23rd July

Apple Leaf-miner Lyonetia clerkella, North Elmham, 23rd July

Mouse-ear Groundling Caryocolum fraternella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

Chamomile Conch Cochylidia implicitana, North Elmham, 23rd July

Cock's-head Bell Zeiraphera isertana, North Elmham, 23rd July

Acorn Piercer Pammene fasciana, North Elmham, 23rd July

Although I've seen a few Maple Slenders Caloptilia semifascia before I'd not seen one looking like this, with its broad rectangular costal spot.  There are plenty of photos of individuals like this online so presumably it's not an especially unusual form but it had me confused for a while.

Maple Slender Caloptilia semifascia (male, gen det), North Elmham, 23rd July

The other micros were Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Ribwort Slender Aspilapteryx tringipennella, Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, 4 Horse-Chestnut Leaf-miners Cameraria ohridella, Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, 14 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, 2 probable Orchard Ermines Yponomeuta padella, 5 Little Ermines Swammerdamia pyrella, Wainscot Smudge Ypsolopha scabrella, 2 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, 4 Small Dingy Tubics Borkhausenia fuscescens, 2 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, 2 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, 3 Dark Nebs Bryotropha affinis, Dull Red Neb Bryotropha senectella, 3 Cinerous Nebs Bryotropha terrella, Ash-coloured Crest Acompsia cinerella, 2 Gorse Crests Brachmia blandella, 2 Orange Crests Helcystogramma rufescens, Four-spotted Obscure Oegoconia quadripuncta, 6 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana, 5 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrixes Pandemis heparana, Privet Tortrix Clepsis consimilana, Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana, Grey Tortrix Cnephasia stephensiana, 4 Maple Buttons Acleris forsskaleana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 3 Holly Tortrixes Rhopobota naevana, 3 Common Cloaked Shoots Gypsonoma dealbana, 2 Bright Bells Eucosma hohenwartiana, 3 Hoary Bells Eucosma cana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, Many-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Bulrush Veneer Calamotropha paludella, 3 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, 286 Straw Grass-veneers Agriphila straminella, 7 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Pearl Grass-veneers Catoptria pinella, 2 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Pale Water-veneer Donacaula forficella, Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella, Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Chequered Pearl Evergestis pallidata, 3 Pale Straw Pearls Udea lutealis, 11 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 4 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis, 3 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella and Brown Plume Stenoptilia pterodactyla.

The rest of the macros were 3 Leopard Moths, Pebble Hook-tip, Chinese Character, 2 Blood-veins, 4 Least Carpets, 8 Small Fan-footed Waves, 10 Single-dotted Waves, 9 Riband Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Large Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Shaded Broad-bars, July Highflyer, Small Rivulet, Lime-speck Pug, 2 Currant Pugs, 2 Double-striped Pugs, 2 Magpie Moths, Scorched Carpet, 2 Brimstone Moths, Early Thorn, 4 Willow Beauties, Common Wave, Coxcomb Prominent, 2 Pale Prominents, 2 Round-winged Muslins, 4 Rosy Footmen, 17 Dingy Footmen, 3 Scarce Footmen, 3 Common Footmen, Buff Ermine, 8 Ruby Tigers, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 3 Flame Shoulders, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 4 Double Square-spots, Nutmeg, 3 Clays, 2 Smoky Wainscots, Common Wainscot, Knot Grass, Coronet, 2 Dun-bars, Lunar-spotted Pinion, Dark Arches, 2 Cloaked Minors, 2 Common Rustics (and another Common Rustic agg.), 4 Dusky Sallows, Ear Moth, Small Rufous, 12 Uncertains, 5 Rustics, 2 Nut-tree Tussocks, Silver Y, 2 Spectacles, 2 Straw Dots and Fan-foot.

Lime-speck Pug, North Elmham, 23rd July

There were plenty of other insects too.  Small Spurwing Centroptilum luteolum was new for the year and other mayflies were Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, Pale Evening Dun Procloeon bifidum, 2 Green Drakes Ephemera danica and 2 Blue-winged Olives Serratella ignita

Small Spurwing Centroptilium luteolum, North Elmham, 23rd July

Lacewings consisted of Chrysoperla carnea, 2 Dichochrysa flavifrons, Dichochrysa prasina and 4 Micromus variegatus; the caddisflies were 3 Hydropsyche siltalai, Medium Sedge Goera pilosa and 2 Grouse Wings Mystacides longicornis.

The bug Stenodema calcarata was new for the garden while Lygus pratensis and Phytocoris longipennis were new for the year.  Other bugs were 2 Forest Bugs and another Trigonotylus caelestialium.

Stenodema calcarata, North Elmham, 23rd July

Lygus pratensis, North Elmham, 23rd July

Phytocoris longipennis, North Elmham, 23rd July

There were also 3 species of leafhopper that were all new for the year, Eared Leafhopper Ledra aurita, Balclutha punctata and a lifer for me, Eupterycyba jucunda.

Eared Leafhopper Ledra aurita, North Elmham, 23rd July

Balclutha punctata, North Elmham, 23rd July

Eupterycyba jacunda, North Elmham, 23rd July

Finally there was also some interest among the beetles with Enochrus testaceus being a lifer, Bradycellus verbasci being new for the year, and also 2 Hydrobius fuscipes, Nicrophorus investigator, Lagria hirta and a rove beetle that I haven't managed to identify yet.

Enochrus testaceus, North Elmham, 23rd July

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