A nice Incurvariid in the greenhouse yesterday; my tentative ID as 141 Nematopogon schwarziellus
was confirmed by James McGill - many thanks.
This morning in the trap there was what I was certain was a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata
. However there is a lot of debate at the moment about confusion between the red form of this species, and the Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia
The reliable diagnostic features for X. ferrugata
(both forms) are the isolated twin spots and chalky terminal area on the upperside, and the relatively uniform markings on the underside. In X. spadicearia
the spots are not isolted and the underside is more strongly patterned. As I get both species (and possibly, now I'm aware, I may get the red form of ferrugata
) I hope to show more images.
Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata
While working on the allotment this afternoon I found a Brimstone Moth larva - the first I have seen.
Brimstone Moth larva
Peter, that certainly beats my 3 species last night!!! Better news today came in the form of confirmation that the fly that I posted on the site yesterday was in fact a first for Hampshire.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 5 degrees
Returning home after a week-end without trapping we had only ten species last night including two firsts for 2009 - Bright-line Brown-eye and White-shouldered House Moth.
I had a specimen of 436 Pseudoswammerdamia combinella
in the trap a while ago but it was rather tatty. This one was found while walking the dog early this morning and was very obliging.
A real surprise later in the morning - looking round a private nature reserve in Curry Rivel I noticed some Sloe branches which had been stripped of leaves and found a Lappet larva low down in the bush. This is the first one I have ever found in the wild.
Mature larva of 1642 Gastropacha quercifolia
, Lappet Moth.
I always have a good look at the beetles and flies that are attracted to my moth trap, as some of them are very distinctive. I was amazed by a fly that Keith Tailby found while we were out mothing in the New Forest so took its photograph for later identification.
I was pleased to discover that it was a rather uncommon Empid fly, Rhamphomyia marginata. The NBN Gateway site shows it in only a few 10K squares in south east England so I am attempting to find out a more accurate picture of its distribution at present. It goes to show that moth trapping can turn up some interesting species in the "by-catch" category.
Thanks for the info John. I did see several of the adult beetles on the docks. I'll photograph the looper as it grows and we will see what it develops into. Would be great if it becomes a female Mottled Umber or Dotted Border as I've never found the wingless females of either species.
Beetle eggs & caterpillar
I think that the eggs are those of the Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula
, a Chrysomelid. It has been everywhere on dock around Langport during the last 4 summers.
Pictures of the adults at:http://www.bioimages.org.uk/html/T98663.HTM
I think that the caterpillar is a young Mottled Umber - the picture below is a fully-grown specimen.
However it could be Dotted Border although I've never seen one. The photo in Porter doesn't help much.
The trap here in Langport has beeen generally poor over the last few days but firsts for the year of Green Carpet, Waved Umber and Bright-line Brown-eye.
While out yesterday afternoon, I spotted several patches of bright orange-yellow eggs on the underside of dock leaves. Does anyone have any ideas as to the species, or is it a case of wait until they hatch?
I also spotted a very small looper caterpillar on the newly emerged leaves of a suckering elm.
Another Friday with a dip in numbers. Nothing of any note in the trap at home last night. Interesting that you caught arenella Peter as I also had one at Piddle Wood on Thursday night.
Today saw the return of House Martins to our house with some interesting times ahead as the resident Blue Tits have taken over the House Martin nest box. It will be interesting to see if the House Martins try to turf them out, go off somewhere else or simply build a new mud nest next to the nestbox.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 7 degrees
I agree Ian, a typical disappointing Friday Night including one sharp burst of rain. There were only 13 species in our garden trap of which two were firsts for the year - Lesser Swallow Prominent and Agnopterix arenella.
A very poor, or a typical friday night, here. Only a handful of moths with Shuttle Shaped Dart being my only first for the year. However 2009 has so far been very good and continues to show promise in my opinion from my garden observations.
Each of the five most common Spring moths, Hebrew Character, Common Quaker, Small Quaker, Early Grey and Clouded Drab are not only well up on the 6 year average here but I anticipate all will have their best ever year.
I reached my 50th different Macro for the year on 21/04/09 which is the earliest date that has happened and only the second time it has happened before the beginning of May since I started trapping here in 2003.
Yesterday afternoon I walked along the field margin behind my house and came across 4 Small Tortoiseshell nests. There are normally 1-3 spring nests in this field whilst last year I did not see any at all.
Have had two Diamond Back moths flying in the garden this afternoon and evening, seems like there has been a mini influx. It will be interesting to see if anything better came with them and makes tonight's Garden Moth Survey a bit more special than the last few have been.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 8 degrees
Firsts for the year in our garden trap - Pale Prominent, Grey/Dark Dagger, and probably because of the southerly wind two Dark Sword-grass.
has organised a series of moth events. These are open to the public. Moth Group members are very welcome!Please contact Mike on 01278 450 793
for information or if the weather looks doubtful.
Just returned from a trapping session at Piddle Wood (Wych Lodge area) with Robin and James. A good night with around 40 species. Species caught included: Orange Footman, Puss Moth, Square Spot, Great Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Water Carpet, Flame Carpet, Small Phoenix, Pale Pinion, Purple Thorn, Coxcomb Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Streamer, Flame Shoulder, Acleris cristana, Red Green Carpet, Red Twin Spot Carpet and Brindled Beauty.
Small Waved Umber
Last few nights in Langport
There have been a few year firsts in the garden trap this week including Dark Spectacle and Tawny Pinion (19th); Common and Red Twinspot Carpets (20th); Pale Prominent and White Ermine (21st); Dark-barred Twinspot Carpet, Chocolate-tip and Mullein (22nd).
This specimen of 436 Pseudoswammerdamia combinella
was caught on 21st and kindly identified by James McGill.
On Monday two female Emperor Moths emerged in my cage and very soon there were males in the garden. I caught two and put them in the cage with the females and mating occurred within a minute.
Female Emperor Moth
Mating Emperor Moths.
There are Speckled Woods all along the local hedgerows at the moment - they are very cooperative early in the morning with the current cool airstream.
Male Speckled Wood
2 Flame Shoulder and a Spectacle new for the year with me last night. 3 Powdered Quakers, Early Thorn, Clouded Drab and several Hebrew Characters the more usual fare. Still quite cool.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 6 degrees
A better night with 15 species in the trap including Chocolate Tip (2) and Waved Umber both firsts for the year. Also more Frosted Green and Powdered Quaker both of which are having a better than average season here.
Diamond-back Moth at Orchardleigh near Frome, ST7750, on the 16th.
Simon Crampin and I saw a Pyrausta on Bathampton Down yesterday, which seems unusually early. The moth was very active and would not settle to allow identification. Although I visit the location most weeks during the year, it is the first time I have seen it here.
New for the year last night here were Currant Pug, Double Striped Pug(at last), Swallow Prominent and Shoulder Stripe. I also saw my first Grizzled Skippers of the year at Powerstock Common.
A beautiful sunny day and lots of insects about, including these Orange-tips. I find butterflies impossible to photograph unless they are distracted.
Joined a motley crew of mothers from across the country last night in the New Forest, looking for Sloe Carpet and Marbled Pug. It was a clear cold night but despite that, we had a good list by the time I left just after midnight. As well as Marbled Pug, there were: Scarce Prominent, Great Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Pine Beauty, Pebble Hooktip, Beautiful Hooktip, Emperor Moth, Frosted Green, Blossom Underwing, Lunar Marbled Brown, Purple Thorn, Early Thorn, Swallow Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Brindled Pug, Streamer, Shoulder Stripe, Garden Carpet, Scorched Carpet, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Engrailed and several of the more usual suspects.
Firsts for the year last night were Garden Carpet, Angle Shades, Spectacle and my first ever Frosted Green. This appears to be the first record for this species in ST41.Only in the unseasonably warm April of 2007 have I seen more different species than I have so far this year.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 7 degrees
Three firsts for the year here - Pebble Prominent, Pale Mottled Willow and Lunar Marbled Brown. I have never understood the justification for the last name as all the specimens I see are white and grey!
Nothing special about last night in Langport - except for a Water Carpet which although 'common and widespread' is the first one I've ever seen.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 10 degrees
More new arrivals here - Brimstone Moth, Flame Shoulder, Red twin-spot Carpet. John, I was interested in your report about Scarlet Tiger larvae at Ash as they are now to be seen as usual at Hestercombe - also on Comfrey.
A reasonable catch last night with Brindled Beauty, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder and Spectacle new for the year.
Two reports from elsewhere:
- Mrs Griffiths reports numerous Scarlet Tiger larvae on ornamental Comfrey in her garden in Ash (Martock)
- My next-door-but one neighbour in Langport told me last night that he had a Hummingbird Hawkmoth roosting in his polytunnel and later nectaring in his garden (presumably the same individual).
Firsts for the year last night were Flame Shoulder, Mullein and Coxcombe Prominent. I cannot identify many micros but I was able to id Acleris Literana, the first I've seen and very recognisable. However it needs a common name if I am ever to remember what it is called!
Male Emperor moth - emerged today. I had a female last April and she laid lots of eggs before I looked at the trap. I kept 10 cocoons and so far 5 have emerged - 4 males and a female. All released.
Another fair night last night. My first Epiphyas postvittana for the year, along with another Chocolate Tip, Streamer, Shoulder Stripe, Caloptilia stigmella, Brindled Beauty, Nut Tree Tussock, 8 Early Grey that must have flown down from John Bebbington's trap and a few more common species.
This afternoon managed to see and photograph Sloe Carpet, caught elsewhere in England.
I received in the post today, a questionnaire from SERC/SWT that we need to get a meeting together to discuss. They don't seem to have any contact details for the moth group other than me, so if nothing else we need to rectify that state of affairs. Hopefully John can organise something soon. They need a reply by April 30.
A better night (min temp 9 degrees) with two firsts for the year - Powdered Quaker and Swallow Prominent and in addition to the usual spring species further Frosted Green, Tawny Pinion and Muslin Moth.
I was very interested by Bill's Leek Moth. For the last three years my leeks have been badly hit by something eating the hearts of them and leaving holes and frass in return. I have tried to hatch out the cocoons to see what was causing it after finding no pests listed in my gardening books. I see from the distribution maps that the moth is rare and local. I estimate that I have had several dozen each year recently and have had to resort to spraying them with liquid soap in order to save my vichyssoise for the winter. I will look at them more kindly in the future
Despite the cold last night, a nice selection of moths including my first Chocolate Tip, Muslin and Brimstone for the year. Unfortunately I also caught Acrolepiopsis assectella, more commonly known as Leek Moth. We have only just started growing leeks again as we lost them to this pest a few years back. Obviously this species has a good sense of smell as our leeks are only just showing in the pots.
A walk on Barrington Hill near Curland yesterday produced Diamond Back Moth and Cydia ulicetana, both on Gorse.
Langport 11 and 12 Apr 09
Last night's trapping yielded the first Iron Prominent of the year as well as 7 Early Grey - the most I've had in one night.
Three Emperor Moths - 2 male and one female - emerged from cocoons today (I caught a female in the trap last April and she had laid loads of eggs by the morning)
I saw one Silver Y
on Hardington Mooor this afternoon.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - min temp 3 degrees
A cold night and only three species in the trap, Brindled Beauty, Hebrew Character and Common Quaker, but as I came back to the house "our" House Martins returned showing their usual great excitement at having survived their journey - which is why we know they are "ours"!. They are about ten days early this year.
Purple Thorn, Nut Tree Tussock and Powdered Quaker last night. Lots of butterflies around during the day yesterday, several Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Brimstone among them. Saw and heard Bittern at Ham Walls and found this amazing looking beetle running among the excavated Swan Mussels on a rhyne bank.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 4 degrees
A single Frosted Green was the only notable species of the six in the trap last night. We had Red Chestnut and Early Tooth-stripe earlier in the week and there have been several Orange Tips flying in the garden since last Sunday.
Two more micros saved last night from being a very poor night. Yponomeuta sedella is a bivoltine species, flying in April-May and again in July-August. All Somerset records prior to this one have been from the second brood. The Parornix species is a difficult one and may need dissection to prove to species level. I did, however, learn that Parornix is another of those species like Caloptilia that sit up like a tripod.
John Langmaid has just confirmed that the species is indeed Adela cuprella which is new for VC5. Adela cuprella is local across the UK and is most often found high up in willow species. I discovered this one in my net after I had swiped at and caught a Diurnea fagella so can claim no real skill in obtaining it.
Tried a site on the south facing slope of the Blackdowns tonight. A bit cold still and a big moon rising. One noteworthy moth was my first Phyllonorycter quercifoliella. I also caught what looks to be an Adela but that will need to wait until the morrow.
That nice little moth.
James and I posted pictures off to John Langmaid and Martin Honey for absolute confirmation of our identification as Grapholita lathyrana and luckily they agree. This makes it a new record for VC5 and really confirms Merryfield as an important site. A plea for you all to check any patches of Dyer's Greenweed you may know of locally to see if it is more widespread in Somerset than we think. After all, we had no Light Orange Underwings until Friday 6pm, despite the fact that we've trapped that site for about nine years :-)
A nice little moth
Grapholita lathyrana, caught today by James McGill and me at Merryfield - several recorded.
Just Another Day at the Office
Having failed on his last attempt to see Dotted Chestnut and Small Eggar, despite me having caught both species the day before he came down to Somerset, Keith Tailby tried again this weekend. We decided to trap at Merryfield and Wych Lodge to maximise our chances. The weather looked unpromisingly cold and Garden Moth Survey night had been abyssmal the night before.
We tried to tell ourselves we were just not the people to get downhearted rather than a bunch that couldn't learn from previous failures. Keith and crew arrived on Saturday afternoon and we spent a pleasant couple of hours beating Blackthorn for Sloe Pug larvae and marvelling at the wide array of caterpillars, beetles, spiders and weevils that infested the sloe flowers. As the day drew towards evening we set up the Merryfield traps at the Aspen grove where James had caught Lead Coloured Drab on an earlier trapping session.
As we left the ride where the traps were, I saw a small moth fly out from the Aspen at the end of the ride, fight bravely against the stiff north-westerly breeze then give up and disappear quickly downwind. The others got onto it too and we all agreed it looked suspiciously like one of the Orange Underwings. I got very excited then as there is virtually no birch on Merryfield and here we were in the only Aspen grove for miles. As it was 6 pm by then we had to go off to set up the other traps.
It did prove to be a cold evening and numbers were down. We did however have a surprise at Piddle Wood in the shape of 2 White Marked, a new site for this rare Somerset species. Keith was rewarded for his perseverance when we returned to Merryfield and found 2 Dotted Chestnuts in the traps there. We also had a Lead Coloured Drab so all in all a very useful trapping session.
I returned to Merryfield this morning and sat under the Aspens for two hours staring up at the tops for any sign of movement. I was joined by James McGill and just as we were beginning to get bored I saw a moth leave the Aspens and fly across the ride. Needless to say it was at great height and we lost it among other trees fairly quickly. James decide to go get his very long handled net assembled and while he was doing so I noticed another moth fly around the Aspen tops and land again. James returned and stood with net poised while I gave the Aspen a sharp jolt. Things became a little confused then, the moth left the tree as if it had pretensions to be in the Grand National, with James in hot pursuit. On good to soft ground going uphill, the moth was clear favourite but once it left the grass and started to cross the tarmac of the runway its fate was sealed and with a cry of triumph that made the model aircraft brigade across the airfield look up in startled surprise, James had netted it.
On inspection it proved to be a female Light Orange Underwing, the first modern record for Somerset and such a great surprise we were both left speechless for some time. Duly photographed and released it will hopefully go on to lay many eggs and help this new-found population grow.
A different form
Great Prominent - an early one
Lead Coloured Drab
James poised to net
James in hot pursuit, finally netting the moth some 20 metres beyond my car!!
What a wonderful sight, Light Orange Underwing on the Somerset moth list.
Just finished a great mothing session. Great Prominent, Brindled Beauty, Lead Coloured Drab, Dotted Chestnut and White Marked (at a new site) being some of the highlights. More exciting though is the possibility of having a Somerset site for Light Orange Underwing, investigations to continue when daylight returns :-)))) Pics to follow.
Great Breach Wood moths
Trapped at Great Breach Wood on Thursday night. Apart from one worn Barred Tooth Striped, the species list was mainly of the usual suspects for this time of year. Nut Tree Tussock was out, with several individuals noted, Water Carpet and Frosted Green also made an appearance. Two more unusual sightings were of the micro moth Semioscopis steinkellneriana and an abberant Brindled Pug with all plain dark scaling.
Abberant Brindled Pug
I agree with you Bill that moths seem to avoid the garden on the night of the Garden Moth Survey, but then for me National Moth night has the same effect! Last night the forecast rain belt came through from the West and we had fewer moths in the trap with a Tawny Pinion being the only one worthy of note. However we did see our first spring butterfly in the garden yesterday - a Small White!
Ian, you can't be doing the Garden Moth Survey then. I had another poor night last night, 2 Clouded Drab, 2 Small Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character and 1 Diurnea fagella. It is almost like the moths know it is GMS on Friday :-)
Another reasonable catch last night with firsts for the year of Brindled Beauty, Herald and Water Carpet. The Water Carpet was only the third one I've had here and the first since 2006.
Langport, 3 April 2009
A cold and misty night here too, min temp 4˚C. I too had my first male Muslin (same date as last year!) and a Nut-tree Tussock.
Whitefield Corner, Wiveliscombe - min temp 4 degrees
A dank and misty night with far fewer moths in the trap the only one worthy of comment being an early male Muslin Moth. I get about 20 of the dark males in the trap each year but in ten years I have only caught one of the white day-flying females.
Another good night last night with Small Eggar, Brimstone and Streamer being firsts for the year to add to Powdered Quaker and Nut tree Tussock from the previous night. From my garden observations and reading the reports from those who are going further afield to look for moths I believe that this is the most auspicious start to the mothing year for a long while. I have not had anything unusual but have had really good numbers of the commoner species. Last night, for example, I had 14 Early Thorns, more than I've ever caught on one night before. In total I have had 422 macros from 13 trappings in March which compares to 170 from 7 trappings last year and 292 from 12 in 2007. Let's hope that this trend continues for the whole of 2009.
Pics from last few days
Some pictures of recent moth captures.
Twenty Plume Moth, a honeysuckle feeder
Frosted Green, the other one with orange antennae.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - 31 Mar 2009
A warmer night with min temp 9 degrees and the best catch of the year to date including Brindled Beauty, Purple Thorn, Brindled Pug, Early Tooth-striped, Engrailed, Red Chestnut, Streamer, Tawny Pinion and a very worn Satellite. We had several Diurnia fagella including the darkest melanic specimen I have seen.
Somerset Invertebrate Group Field Meetings 2009
These are informal meetings, from 11:00 am until around 4:00 pm usually. Enthusiasts from a range of groups meet and record at a certain site, sometimes with a target species in mind, often just exchanging information on their specialism while enjoying a good day out in the field. If SMG members wish to trap in these locations on the evening before the meeting, they will need to make arrangements with the owner(s).
May 24 – Street Heath reserve and peat fields (park at ST469390). Bees and dragonflies.
June 14 – Buckland Wood and Lime Wood Meadow (ST760518) nr. Frome.
June 28 – Steart (ST261 453) Where road meets the sea wall.
July 19 – Britty Common and Staple Common (ST 258153). Hoverflies.
August 2 – Ring Down (ST 180152) and Lillecombe (ST17081406). Grasshoppers.
August 9 – Huntspill River NNR (ST307449)
August 16 Thurlbear Quarrylands (ST247213) A joint meeting with the British Plant Gall Society.
September 6 – Worley Hill & Poldens (entrance ST489309 then follow signs to ST 499311). Grasshoppers and sawflies.
Anyone needing further details or to check if still running phone Robin Williams the evening before.