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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Saltern Ear new to Carms (I think)

Those of a sensitive disposition please do not read any further: the following tale features dead moths, genitalia and a case of mistaken identity...
Yesterday Ian passed me 4 moth specimens from 2012/13 to check at home.  The first was Metzneria metzneriella, which Ian had recorded at Ty'r Waun, Pwll; the second was a female Phycitodes maritima from a saltmarsh just west of Kidwelly that I confirmed using gen. det.; the third was a male Common Ear from East of Burry Port; and the fourth was (I thought) a male Large Ear.  I photographed the 'harpe' of its genitalia, which had one obviously longer arm than the other, so as to gross-out the Carms Moth Bloggers, then disposed of the remaining bits.  I'm not good at genitalia dissection at the best of times and my photo isn't great.  However, it looks to me more like the harpe of Saltern Ear on, with a broad shorter arm, but it's a poor photo angle and the bits have now gone in the bin. 
This specimen came from Ian's garden at Pwll: close to likely Saltern Ear habitat but not close to the usual upland marshes of Large Ear.  Further online searching wasn't too productive: Googling images of Saltern Ear Male Genitalia was OK, but I don't advise anyone to look for images of Large Ear Male Genitalia...
Saltern Ear would be new for Carms and there aren't many Glamorgan records; Large Ear has a few records from the Llanelli area gen det by Jon.  Maybe mine is just a Large Ear after all.



  1. Sam,I'm confident that yours is Saltern Ear. The length of the harpe, and the spines on the inner surface of the cucullus both indicate this to me. I dissected a female of this species from Chris Manley last Autumn - I can't recall off hand if it was from Gower or somewhere nearby, but certainly not far from Carms, so it does not surprise me that it is present in your county.

  2. Many thanks to both Sam and Dave Slade for looking at this specimen. It`s good to have it confirmed for Carmarthenshire.

  3. Thankyou Dave - that is exciting and excellent news. I can see what you mean about the cucullus spines now: there's a big cluster of them and that would be smaller in Large Ear.