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current posts

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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