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Monday, 1 July 2013

Items of Interest

Thank you for the help with identifying Saturday's Dusky Brocade and Mottled Beauty.  I wondered whether the latter might have been f.conversaria, Sam, on account of the contrasting dark and light bands.  However, they were nothing like as vivid as the beauty illustrated on a current Glamorgan blog.  Talking of which, another blog on the same site raises concern about the scarcity of the Cinnabar Moth.  Early last week I was visiting the southern edge of the New Forest, bordering The Solent, where there is an abundance of Ragwort, and I was struck by the complete absence of either the moth itself or its larvae.  I had Cinnabars here in my first year of trapping (2010) but haven't seen any in subsequent years.  Has anyone seen one recently?   Incidentally, on the aforementioned trip we were just about to get into the car and drive home when a large insect landed at my feet, photo attached.  I don't think that I've ever seen one before.  Has it ever been recorded in Carmarthenshire?



  1. Only the lesser stag beetle Dorcus parallelipipedus, recorded independently by myself and Mark Pavett on driftwood at Pembrey Burrows in the early 1990s.
    Your specimen is the bigger stag beetle Lucanus curvus, not recorded in Carms [unless my memory fools me].

  2. I can remember warm evenings in Winchester when Stag Beetles flew around the edges of the parks. Amazing!! My only Lesser Stags have been in Monmouthshire: 2 or 3 times at my parents' place.

    Mottled Beauty grade almost continually from typical to very strongly banded. I'm not sure where the form begins & ends.

  3. In 6 years trapping at Carmel I've caught 4 cinnabars (most recently last year). I've always assumed it was only a day-flying moth, and so not much could be read into presence or absence in a trap, but I note that the book says that it occasionally comes to light in large numbers. More importantly, despite ragwort being scattered across the nearby NNR, I haven't seen caterpillars for several years and then only in small numbers. 25-30 years ago there was a lot of both ragwort and the moth at Gelli Aur Country Park - it was a reliable topic for visiting school groups but there has been a dramatic decline. Not sure what the situation is now (the Park is sadly now closed). The relationship used to be used as a classic illustration of a predator-prey cycle (and the moth was introduced to other countries to control ragwort). If this is all part of a cycle it's a bit too lengthy a one for my liking.... Other forces at work I suspect.