Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Oak Mines

In response to Sam's request to check oaks for mines, I ventured forth today. I found one mine which looks to me like evidence of a Stigmella sp., I don't know which one though, probably very common. I also found two others which may be of just one species and it may not even be a moth! Can anyone help? It would be much appreciated!

 Stigmella sp.?

 Mystery sp.?

The Unlucky Thirteen

As it was quite windless and overcast last night (22/11), I placed my mains actinic on the flat roof at Tyrwaun, Pwll to see what was around, and in the unlikely hope of catching a sprawler (I did n`t catch one).
It was worthwhile though, in terms of helping record the full spectrum of moths that occur in the area, as the total catch was of four, mostly late autumn/winter-time, species.
I had 3 feathered thorns, 1 December moth, 1 winter moth and 15 mottled umbers. Of the latter, 13 were high on the pale-painted house wall and out-of-reach (though clearly visible) unless I hauled a ladder up onto the extension roof. There were 13 moths to be seen at first light but only one left five minutes ago - various tits probably have predated them. They were the `unlucky thirteen`; but two more were safe in the trap, one well-marked, the other less so and they both appear in the photo below.

            Above and clockwise: feathered thorn, December moth and two mottled umbers.

Above: I find that you have to trap late in the season to catch the darkly-handsome December moth.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

A challenge: Oak mines

Calling all Carmarthenshire Moth'ers - please look for mines of Ectoedemia subbimaculella on your patch!  This is a really distinctive leaf miner and seems to be on most Oak trees at the moment, but there are only 9 Carmarthenshire records and none of them comes from the home 10km squares of our most active moth'ers.  Now is the perfect time to record this species, because it forms 'green islands' on Oak leaves, so all you need to do is search on fallen leaves (although it is often easier on low-hanging branches).  It forms a flat blotch mine: with no creases (like Phyllonorycter) and no linear frass (like Stigmella).  Uniquely (among S Wales miners) it makes a hole at the base of the mine, out of which the frass falls.  Since I posted pictures on the Gwent Blog I have had records from two new recorders, so please find some in Carms!  This photo comes from Brechfa today.


Linear Stigmella mines on Oak are more difficult, but two species seem to be pretty frequent in green islands. Stigmella atricapitella is pretty ubiquitous, and is identified by dark 'sclerites' that project back from a dark head. Stigmella roborella has no previous Carms records, but I saw it today at Cnwc and have found it several times recently in Monmouthshire; it has a pale head and no projecting dark sclerites, and its mines are smaller (they started later) than those of S. atricapitella.  Earlier in the season, two species with scattered frass (S. svenssoni and S. samiatella) were frequent in Monmouthshire; these are tricky/impossible to tell apart so IDs are provisional.  Stigmella ruficapitella seems to be remarkably infrequent this year, despite lots of records in 2008.  Many experts consider these 5 miners impossible, so all IDs are tentative but indicate the frequency of particular frass forms.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

News from SN62

On the 11 November at 21 minutes after midnight at his home in Taliaris near Llandeilo (SN663296), my brother found this moth on a window of his house. He photographed it using fluorescent light, which I think has led to a bit of a colour cast. I don't think that there is any doubt about it's ID though.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Ten species...

There were ten species of moth in the Pwll garden trap last night (13/11) including one migrant and one FFY. They were: Blair`s shoulder-knot 1, pine carpet 1, Nov. moth agg. 8, dark sword-grass 1 (the migrant), yellow-line quaker 1, red-line quaker 1, common marbled carpet 1, feathered thorn 2, mottled umber 4 (FFY), Epiphyas postvittana 2. So, there`s still moths to be had!

Above: Blair`s shoulder-knot. For a few happy but deluded seconds as I `potted up` this moth, I thought that I had a sprawler, but upon taking it indoors I quickly realised that it was n`t!
                                                        Above: dark sword-grass.
Above: a poor shot of a nicely-marked mottled umber (FFY). Keep an eye out for scarce umbers.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Is there a way of....?

Is there a way of getting moths that rest with their wings closed, to open up in order to identify. I have a carpet of some sort, that simply will not open up. Found it in a Ladies Loo !!!!! on the way back from N Wales and all I know is that it's a nice bright green!!!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

"...just trappin` in the rain..."

After being alerted regarding the prediction of southerly overnight winds by Sam yesterday, out went one MV trap in my garden at Pwll last night (11/11/16). Judging by the amount of autumn debris (leaves and twigs etc) washed down on local roads and the 1"+ of water in the plastic base of my trap, the rainfall must have been substantial.
No migrants turned up and only six resident moth species were present in this Armistice Day (or, rather, night) catch: red-green carpet 3, Nov. moth agg. 1, yellow-line quaker 1, Epiphyas postvitanna 2, the tortricid Acleris notana 1 (believed this rather than ferrugana due to lack of tufts on wings, but not gen. det.) and yet another cypress carpet.

Above: by my reckoning, but without checking my records, this is at least the fourth time that I`ve had this species in 2016 - once in the summer and the rest in late autumn. The latter period seems to be a good time to target this moth if you have cypresses growing nearby.