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current posts

Sun 30th September 2007 16:47 by Peter Tennant
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe

This weekend I had another Pinion-streaked Snout here, my second for 2007. Odd that this easily recognised attractive little moth does not appear to be regularly recorded, perhaps because, as the books say, some dismiss it as a micro. Of the 60 + noted on Mapmate I have had 18! I also had the plain form of The Sallow ab.flavescens.

Sat 29th September 2007 22:31 by Bill Urwin
Thanks John. I put "sawfly on Alder" into Google and found the following:

Larvae of Platycampus luridiventris feed on the underside of leafs of the three alder species Alnus glutinosa, Alnus incana, and Alnus viridis.The body is dorso-ventrally flattend and thus, these cryptic larvae are hard to detect. P. luridiventris has an larval development time of up to three month and can be found till late autumn.

The picture looks quite like mine too so that may be the culprit. Isn't this techno-sharing wonderful? :-)

Sat 29th September 2007 18:40 by John Bebbington
The green alien is some kind of Sawfly larva - but I have no idea of proper ID!
Fri 28th September 2007 23:22 by Bill Urwin
What a difference a day makes. Tonight, I went with James McGill and Mark Yeates to West Coker Fen. We had last looked here for Blair's Wainscot about nine years ago in mid October!! Tonight, the Fen looked different, smaller somehow, but it had a good growth of what looked like Lesser Pond Sedge. We weren't too sure about the management practice of allowing a small herd of bullocks to plough through it leaving presents everywhere but what do we know? Anyway, we found a patch that didn't look too trampled and settled down to wait. James amused himself by finding the second Somerset site for Stigmella ulmariae and discovering one of the two species of Coleophora that inhabits Meadowsweet. I, on the other hand plumped for discovering a little green thing on an Alder leaf that would look at home in an Alien movie - all offers of an identification gratefully received. Then it started to rain and as dusk approached it got heavier. Needless to say, it is not comfortable being stuck in the middle of waist high sedges in the rain and as you have probably guessed by now, Somerset still awaits the discovery of its colony of Blair's Wainscot. As we left the Fen I thought I heard Mark make some comment about hardcore mothing, but it may have just been my soaking wet trousers flapping against my calves.

Coleophora species on Meadowsweet - id to be confirmed

Coleophora species

Alder feeding alien

Alder feeding alien - all id offers gratefully accepted

Fri 28th September 2007 11:11 by Mark Yeates
Just a quick note to say that the latest Newsletter has just been emailed to all those on the 'email' list and will be posted to others this weekend.
Thu 27th September 2007 21:35 by Bill Urwin
Went out tonight to check if Blair's Wainscot is on the wing. Our luck was in and we saw about a dozen in the small window of opportunity between around 7.20pm and 7.35pm after which it all went quiet. Having seen the moth and how it flies in the habitat we will now try West Coker Fen tomorrow night in the hope that we can find it there.

2376 Blair's Wainscot BU

Blair's Wainscot

Wed 26th September 2007 23:27 by Bill Urwin
I have uploaded around 100 more photographs to the site since the one I showed of Dixie Dean. I have been trawling the darkest recesses of my backup discs and CDs to find any remaining species. Tonight, I hit a bit of a jackpot when I found a folder that I thought I had lost in some past computer disaster. It contains all my output for 1999 and has lots of the more common species that I have not bothered photographing since then. The Dixie Dean theme continues, as it has photographs from a visit to the New Forest that James McGill and I made, along with Dixie, to see such gems as Scarce Merveille du Jour and Festoon. We didn't get home from there until dawn and when I crawled out of the car, Dixie still had another hour to drive to reach his bed. Not bad for a bloke in his late seventies who had been up all night.

2277 Scarce Merveille du Jour BU

Scarce Merveille du Jour - worth a sleepless night

0173 Festoon BU2


Tue 25th September 2007 00:07 by Bill Urwin
As I was uploading a few more pictures tonight, I came across one that I'd forgotten I had taken. It was of a smiling Dixie Dean on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. I miss old Dixie who was an enthusiastic and energetic field worker. One of my best memories was of mothing with him on Portland on the night before his seventy-ninth birthday. We came off the island after midnight and he had just told me it was his birthday as we were going through Weymouth. A short distance along the road we were flagged down by a young blonde policewoman. This was a random police check for dubious characters and she must have thought her luck was in as I wound down my window and she first looked at me then on past me to Dixie who sat there with his head torch still on his head. He beamed at her and I said, "It's his birthday today are you going to sing to him?" She just shook her head and waved us on :-)

Dixie Dean

Dixie Dean's Cake

Sat 22nd September 2007 11:14 by Bill Urwin

I am putting the finishing touches to David Evans latest newsletter, adding a few pictures of various species etc. This should be distributed early in October and will have details of the AGM in early November.

Sat 22nd September 2007 11:04 by Bill Urwin
As it was fifteen degrees and cloudy last evening, I decided to have a look at Merryfield to see if Deep Brown Dart had emerged yet. Things were not very promising at the start with several Square Spot Rustics but not much else. There was, however, a thick cloud covering the half moon and by ten o'clock things had become more diverse, including three Deep Brown Dart and two Brindled Green to add to the autumn species tally. I also managed to get Robin Clatworthy's Orange Sallow to finally sit and pose for a photograph. This was from Wych Lodge the evening before. James is excited about this one as it means there is some Small-leaved Lime near where Robin caught it and therefore a chance of Pauper Pug there next year. This would give us another 10K square record for this very local species. It was interesting that Robin caught Orange Sallow but no other species of Sallow and I had four other species of Sallow but no Orange Sallow at a trap about 400 metres away. It shows the benefits of more lights at a site on any one night as I am sure some species do not wander far from their food plant.

2271 Orange Sallow BU

Orange Sallow

2248 Brindled Green BU

Brindled Green

2231 Deep Brown Dart BU

Deep Brown Dart

Fri 21st September 2007 00:33 by Bill Urwin
Just got in from a trapping session at Wych Lodge where Mike, Robin and I ran traps. Despite a very warm night the numbers weren't huge but some nice species including five species of Sallow, namely: Sallow, Centre-barred Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow, Barred Sallow and Orange Sallow. Interestingly no Lunar Underwing, Black Rustic or Beaded Chestnut. Mike had a nice looking pyralid that will need to be looked at in the cold light of morning but is probably Dioryctria abiatella. Wych Lodge is a huge place and it could easily swallow up twenty or thirty lights. We should organise a BENHS meeting there some time.

2274 Sallow BU


2274 Sallow2 BU

A paler form of the Sallow

2272 Barred Sallow BU

Barred Sallow

2273 Pink-barred Sallow BU

Pink-barred Sallow - has a pink face unlike the pale-faced Sallow so you could say the Sallow has a sallow complexion :-)

1454 Dioryctria abiatella BU

Dioryctria abiatella

Sun 16th September 2007 20:12 by Bill Urwin
I went out to see if I could find any more Sycamore larvae this afternoon. Unfortunately, all I managed to find was that our village is invaded by aliens. The ladybird larva I found the other day was one of many and several trees near my home had larvae. One tree even had an adult (see below). I am not sure if this species would eat very small caterpillars but having heard that they eat other ladybirds it would not surprise me. We must wait and see what this latest invader does to the balance of our wildlife.

Harlequin adult

Harlequin Ladybird

Sun 16th September 2007 15:29 by Bill Urwin
I finally caught up with Lunar Underwing last night. Quite a cool night so numbers have dropped off. My wife and I did a sponsored walk for WaterAid yesterday along the SW Coast Path from Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton. Not much in the way of moths apart from a few Vapourer males buzzing along in the bright sunshine. On a patch of Ivy that was in full flower we were delighted to find the large and striking hoverfly Volucella zonaria. This is the first time I have seen it in this country though it is fairly common around the Bristol area. My recent Norfolk trip brought another surprise this morning, when a pupa I had collected on Oak had turned into a superb fresh Oak Nycteoline.

2270 Lunar Underwing BU

Lunar Underwing

1913 Canary shouldered Thorn BU

Canary shouldered Thorn

Volucella zonaria

Volucella zonaria

2423 Oak Nycteoline2 BU

Oak Nycteoline

Fri 14th September 2007 19:24 by Bill Urwin
Continuing the autumn theme, the small group that met at Staple Common last night caught two Autumnal Rustic. Otherwise it was a fairly low catch both species and numbers.

Today I had a great surprise when my wife came over from school with a caterpillar that the children had found crawling across the playground. A stunning example of the Sycamore larva was in a pot with some lettuce leaves that they had insisted on giving it. I suggested Field Maple or Horse Chestnut might be a better alternative and some egg boxes so that it could make its cocoon.

2279 Sycamore larva BU

Sycamore larva

While collecting some Field Maple leaves for the Sycamore larva I came upon a quite large ladybird larva that I am now fairly convinced is that of the Harlequin Ladybird. Does anyone have experience of these and can confirm my suspicions?

Harlequin Ladybird larva BU

Possible Harlequin Ladybird larva

Fri 14th September 2007 19:03 by Chris Iles
Hi Bill,

I had a Lunar Underwing at Goosard batch near Paulton (ST656575) on 8 September, and another in my garden in Midsomer Norton on the 11th - one of only three moths that night.

Thu 13th September 2007 16:51 by Peter Tennant
September 12 - Whitefield, Wiveliscombe

Last night a Red-green Carpet arrived and for me this is one of the signals that autumn is here. I also had a Brindled Green and also a Heath Rustic which I am particularly pleased about as I have only previously had two in ten years of trapping here.

Thu 13th September 2007 08:33 by Bill Urwin
Autumn has arrived - it's official

This morning saw the official arrival of autumn in the form of a pristine Black Rustic. Three more Centre barred Sallows, a second Red Underwing, Frosted Orange, Spruce Carpet and Burnished Brass were among the more exciting members of the supporting cast. I wonder who will get the first Lunar Underwing?

2232 Black Rustic BU

Black Rustic

Wed 12th September 2007 19:40 by Bill Urwin
Don't keep ALL your moths in the fridge :-)

This monster was on the wall by my trap this morning. Luckily fairly easy to identify, photograph and release. I don't think my wife would like a fridge full of these.

2452 Red Underwing BU

Red Underwing

Wed 12th September 2007 11:31 by David Evans
During the past few years as County Recorder I get given moths and they go home into the fridge till I get round to sorting them out. Some are easy and others well it's an uphill struggle. Mike Ridge and I had a SMG meeting at Draycott Sleights notable for it being very cold and windy which still did nothing to blow away the stench from dogs. However during the evening I boxed up this very colourful pink moth. About tortrix size but on reflection I thought it was a Small Purple Barred. Right sort of habitat and right time of year. I took a quick picture then popped it in the fridge as usual. There it stayed and still is but as I am now far from home I forgot the moth until about a month later when I saw James and on seeing the picture he gave it some more thought. To cut the story short it was not a Small Purple Barred but as I had originally thought a tortrix. Having run this by Phil Sterling , He confirmed that the moth was Celypha rosaceana. There are 4 records for the moth from Turner in the fifties from Bickenhall with a record from Haywood in 1913 from Watchet. So this was a bit of a shock to say the least. I am surprised such a pretty moth and very obvious has not been recorded. 1064 Celypha rosaceana 1 The moral of this story is please keep the moth. To all those still in the fridge their day will come
Tue 11th September 2007 19:24 by Bill Urwin
September is a good time to trap for Cypress Carpet, especially if you live anywhere near a patch of leylandii trees. Mark Ponsford used to catch this species when he lived in Burnham on Sea. His house at the time was not far from the caravan park which had a large hedge of leylandii acting as a windbreak. The species is spreading in the County. The specimen below was caught by Paul Chapman in Clevedon.

The wonderful caterpillar is a Festoon larva that was beaten from Oak in Norfolk when I was there recently. I have some other caterpillar shots from that same expedition that so far evade identification. More on this later hopefully.

1771a Cypress Carpet BU

Cypress Carpet

0173 Festoon larva BU

Festoon larva

Sat 8th September 2007 11:40 by Bill Urwin
Trapping at home last night produced my first Centre Barred Sallows and two further Pale Eggars. Many more Green Carpets are appearing and also Single Dotted Wave and Small Dusty Wave.

2269 Centre-barred Sallow BU

Centre-barred Sallow

2389 Pale Mottled Willow BU

Pale Mottled Willow

1632 Pale Eggar2 BU

Pale Eggar

1776 Green Carpet BU

Green Carpet

1707 Small Dusty Wave BU

Small Dusty Wave

1708 Single Dotted Wave BU

Single Dotted Wave

Wed 5th September 2007 17:27 by Chris Iles
Quite a surprise in my Midsomer Norton garden trap last night - a Chalk Carpet.  Where it came from is a bit of a mystery as there appears to be neither suitable habitat nor previous records in the immediate area.

1731 Chalk Carpet 1

Tue 4th September 2007 12:47 by David Evans
Further to the enquiry about the Clay triple lines /Riband wave Robin Clatworthy caught at Shapwick Heath on Friday night we have now decided having seen the pictures in atropos that the dark band in the Clay triple lines is much closer to the leading edge of the wings. Further the discal spot on the Clay triple lines is absent. So the moth in this case must be a Riband Wave. Thank you to all that helped in reaching this decision.


Tue 4th September 2007 00:21 by Bill Urwin
I've added another forty or so new pics (see Contributor Photo Albums and click my album link). I've tried to fill in gaps in the list and add a few micros so James may want to check them for accuracy :-)

I've had some nice responses to the query regarding second brood Lime Hawkmoths that I posted on the UK moths Yahoo group. Other people have certainly taken them at this time of year, with the latest being into October. The earliest record noted was of one in March - a very small individual caught by Sarah Patton. This matches with James McGill's early specimen which was also small.

0938 Agapeta zoegana BU

Agapeta zoegana

1642 Lappet BU

The Lappet

Mon 3rd September 2007 09:47 by David Evans
The Night at Shapwick Heath was very well attended especially for this time of yera. Its always a bit between the seasons with the summer moths on the wane and the autumn moths yet to come. However Mike Ridge got 23 species from Meare Heath and the present species total from Robin and I stands at 45 species with Bill's to come for sites on Shapwick Heath.

Before the list however we have slight enigma. Robin caught a moth very similar to a Riband wave but thinks it might an aberration of a Clay triple lines. I am not aware of the presence of beech trees on the Heath but if any of you want to offer their opinions let us know. The Clay triple lines aberration is shown in Atropos April 1999 No. 7. I have no copies near to hand so can anybody help please. Here is the moth.

Clay Triple Lines 1

  • Here is the list for Meare Heath
  • Code Taxon Vernacular Quantity
  • 1062 Acleris emargana 1
1062 Acleris emargana 1

  • 1093 Apotomis betuletana 3
  • 1328 Schoenobius gigantella 1
  • 1329 Donacaula forficella 1
  • 1345 Elophila nymphaeata Brown China-mark 2
  • 1354 Cataclysta lemnata Small China-mark 13
  • 1452 Phycita roborella 2
  • 1648 Drepana falcataria Pebble Hook-tip 1
  • 1713 Idaea aversata Riband Wave 1
  • 1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 2
  • 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 7
  • 1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 1
  • 1961 Campaea margaritata Light Emerald 3
  • 2026 Orgyia antiqua Vapourer 1
  • 2033 Lymantria monacha Black Arches 12
  • 2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 6
  • 2134 Xestia xanthographa Square-spot Rustic 1
  • 2306 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades 1
  • 2330 Apamea remissa Dusky Brocade 1
  • 2350 Chortodes pygmina Small Wainscot 2
  • 2391 Chilodes maritimus Silky Wainscot 1
  • 2434 Diachrysia chrysitis Burnished Brass 1
  • 2474 Rivula sericealis Straw Dot 3
  • 2477 Hypena proboscidalis Snout 3

  • This is the present list for Shapwick Heath
  • Code Taxon Vernacular Quantity
  • 410 Argyresthia brockeella 1
  • 947 Aethes smeathmanniana 1
  • 1041 Acleris sparsana 1
  • 1076 Celypha lacunana 3
  • 1093 Apotomis betuletana 6
  • 1175 Epiblema uddmanniana Bramble Shoot Moth 1
  • 1290 Chilo phragmitella 2
  • 1331 Acentria ephemerella Water Veneer 1
  • 1334 Scoparia ambigualis 1
  • 1345 Elophila nymphaeata Brown China-mark 1
  • 1354 Cataclysta lemnata Small China-mark 47
  • 1470 Euzophera pinguis 1
  • 1524 Emmelina monodactyla 1
  • 1648 Drepana falcataria Pebble Hook-tip 1
  • 1652 Thyatira batis Peach Blossom 4
  • 1713 Idaea aversata Riband Wave 1
  • 1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 4
  • 1742 Camptogramma bilineata Yellow Shell 2
  • 1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 1
  • 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 20
  • 1884 Abraxas grossulariata Magpie Moth 1
  • 1890 Macaria alternata Sharp-angled Peacock 2
  • 1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 16
  • 1913 Ennomos alniaria Canary-shouldered Thorn 5
  • 1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 2
  • 1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave 2
  • 1956 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave 3
  • 1961 Campaea margaritata Light Emerald 10
  • 2030 Euproctis similis Yellow-tail 1
  • 2033 Lymantria monacha Black Arches 14
  • 2037 Miltochrista miniata Rosy Footman 1
  • 2044 Eilema griseola Dingy Footman 9
  • 2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 7
  • 2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 16
  • 2109 Noctua comes Lesser Yellow Underwing 2
  • 2123 Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot 5
  • 2126 Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character 10
  • 2134 Xestia xanthographa Square-spot Rustic 6
  • 2198 Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot 1
  • 2297 Amphipyra pyramidea Copper Underwing 1
  • 2350 Chortodes pygmina Small Wainscot 1
  • 2434 Diachrysia chrysitis Burnished Brass 1
  • 2450 Abrostola tripartita Spectacle 1
  • 2474 Rivula sericealis Straw Dot 8
  • 2477 Hypena proboscidalis Snout 26
  • 2492 Herminia grisealis Small Fan-foot 1

  • My thanks to the trappers Mike Ridge, Bill Urwin, Robin Clatworthy and Myself. My best wishes to Stuart Holdsworth, Alistair Stevenson, Rosena Robinson and Les Hughes. Thank you for coming. My special thanks to Farmer Rob Whitcombe and I believe his brother and son who after a conversation earlier turned up to watch the moths come in.
Sun 2nd September 2007 15:25 by David Evans
With all this recent activity on the website I need to back track a bit. 24th august Mike and Robin trapped at Staple Park Wood. Not a brilliant night but it was coming up to a full moon and a bit cool. Some other folk turned up so that proved interesting. Staple Park Wood 24-08-07
  • Code Taxon Vernacular Quantity
  • 15 Hepialus sylvina Orange Swift 1
  • 462 Ypsolopha sequella 1
  • 969 Pandemis corylana Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix 3
  • 1260 Cydia splendana 1
  • 1344 Eudonia mercurella 6
  • 1439 Trachycera advenella 1
  • 1524 Emmelina monodactyla 1
  • 1640 Euthrix potatoria Drinker 5
  • 1708 Idaea dimidiata Single-dotted Wave 1
  • 1713 Idaea aversata Riband Wave 1
  • 1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet 2
  • 1728 Xanthorhoe fluctuata Garden Carpet 1
  • 1732 Scotopteryx chenopodiata Shaded Broad-bar 2
  • 1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 4
  • 1759 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix 5
  • 1762 Chloroclysta citrata Dark Marbled Carpet 1
  • 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 7
  • 1884 Abraxas grossulariata Magpie Moth 1
  • 1887 Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border 1
  • 1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 12
  • 1914 Ennomos fuscantaria Dusky Thorn 1
  • 1915 Ennomos erosaria September Thorn 1
  • 1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 1
  • 1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 1
  • 2000 Notodonta dromedarius Iron Prominent 1
  • 2008 Ptilodon capucina Coxcomb Prominent 1
  • 2033 Lymantria monacha Black Arches 8
  • 2044 Eilema griseola Dingy Footman 4
  • 2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 3
  • 2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 11
  • 2318 Cosmia trapezina Dun-bar 6
  • 2361 Hydraecia micacea Rosy Rustic 1
  • 2425 Colocasia coryli Nut-tree Tussock 1
  • 2474 Rivula sericealis Straw Dot 10
Sun 2nd September 2007 11:50 by Bill Urwin
Some pics from the Shapwick field meeting on Friday night. No doubt David will provide the full list soon. Not a very busy night, with a big moon and a fairly clear sky but some nice moths. Also an update on Thursday night when I had my fourth Jersey Tiger of the year at home.

2369 Bulrush Wainscot BU

Bulrush Wainscot

1350 Beautiful China Mark BU

Beautiful China Mark

1345 Brown China Mark BU

Brown China Mark

1979 Lime Hawkmoth BU

Second brood Lime Hawkmoth

Lime Hawkmoth flight period from Mapmate - so doesn't look very double-brooded at the moment

After my very early Mottled Umber last month, September (actually August 31) brings a very late Lime Hawkmoth. Skinner has these as single brooded with adults from May-June. Not sure to what extent these give a second brood in the rest of the UK but as global warming continues, the move towards bivoltine patterns from normally univoltine species is something we need to look for and document. My new French book gives it as univoltine with sometimes a second generation observed. The latest Somerset record is of an adult (a very small specimen) caught by James McGill at Park Corner, Staplegrove on September 17 1997. Further discussion with James has led to the discovery that April 1997 was particularly warm and he had a very early adult that year which may then have had time to get in two broods. As we know, this year also had an exceptionally hot April so it will be interesting to see if we get further September Lime Hawkmoths this year.

1979 Lime Hawkmoth larva BU

A French Lime Hawkmoth caterpillar - September 2005

After a few hours sleep I joined Paul Chapman and James McGill for a trip to East Anglia. The main focus was looking for a new species of Emmelina that has been discovered at Wicken Fen. We need to survey for it on the Levels and if we find it will need to review all records of Emmelina monodactyla, as it is only separable by gen. det. Like monodactyla it lives on Hedge Bindweed and at Wicken Fen both species are found, though the majority of caterpillars bred through from there were in fact Emmelina argoteles, the new species.

Emmelina species1

Emmelina caterpillar at the growing tip of Hedge Bindweed , may be either monodactyla or argoteles

Emmelina species2

Emmelina pupa found on a lower leaf of Hedge Bindweed

Searching for the caterpillars is possible at the moment. Both species seem to be continuously brooded from April-October and the caterpillars are fairly easy to find, preferring the very tips of growth on the Hedge Bindweed. We found it best to look at the tips for signs of leaf damage and frass and those tips invariably had a caterpillar, usually on the upper surface of a leaf close to the tip. If you are near an area of marshy ground with lots of Hedge Bindweed and want to go out hunting, the team who are doing the survey at Wicken Fen are quite keen to get material from other wetland areas for comparison. Any caterpillars found on Hedge Bindweed should be bred through (8-10 days to pupation and a further 8-10 days to emergence) and the emerged adults kept for analysis. Full site, habitat and date details should be kept, along with time to pupation from collection. Contact me for details of where to send any material.


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