Sunday, 30 August 2015

Dafen moths

I had planned to do three sites in the relatively under-recorded SN50 last night (29/8) as, by then, the troublesome winds and heavy showers that had plagued moth trapping in the last few days or more had subsided. My target was to be three sites: a little bog near Ty-llwyd (Pont Abraham); the upper section of Troserch Woods, where a steep, mossy slope with bilberry overlooks the minor wooded gorge of the Afon Morlais and, finally, a tree-planted area with a flood alleviation topographical depression at the edge of a `business park` at Dafen (on the eastern side of Llanelli). Then `things started to go wrong`....
When I arrived at the first-named location, I realised that I was one battery short and only had enough for two actinics but, as I was obviously there, I decided that the bog would be one of the chosen sites. The next issue was getting onto the bog. There is a way that I used this summer on a daytime visit, through marginal woodland with brambles and a steep ditch to traverse, but I also used to know an easier short-cut which I tried to find last night, but could n`t! After three searches, and as it was getting darker, I gave up, decided to miss out Troserch Woods and only put the two traps out at Dafen instead.
I rapidly positioned one trap on a little-used footpath next to the busy Llangennech by-pass (a site that I`d recce`d before for suitability) and quickly found another location quite close-by - an area of wet development plateau with plenty of fleabane, bur-reed and other mixed damp ground vegetation. I`d wished that I`d found this latter site earlier in the season (I had n`t looked!), as it is literally just a few yards out from the car - much easier than my usual sites which often involve quite a bit of carrying of traps and batteries. This latter site is shown in the first photo below.

A fair range of moths were recorded, including quite a few pinion-streaked snouts, a well-worn crescent, two rush veneers, seven rosy rustics, one small wainscot, a Vine`s rustic and two flounced rustics. There were also eight of what I think is Cochylimorpha straminea and a singleton (provisional det.) of Ptocheuusa paupella (the latter a gelechiid associated with fleabane, which was frequent next to the trap). There was a fair selection of micros caught at both of the Dafen trap sites. Photos are shown below.
                                               Above: Cochylimorpha straminea?
Above: the tiny Ptocheuusa paupella? Confirmation, comments or correction for the above two micros would be appreciated. I`ll try to get a better photo of the latter tomorrow.
Postscript re. Ptocheuusa - I remembered later that Barry had reared this species from a fleabane and had posted a superb photo on the Carms Moth Blog only a few weeks ago (see earlier posts). I include another photo below - hardly better than my first above - and not of Barry`s standard! You`ll have to click on it to enlarge.

The second trap, located in the planted willow/ wet grassland area, also had a fairly mixed assemblage that included more flounced rustics, an oak eggar, Chinese character and, telling us that autumn is coming, the first sallow.
                                                         Above: flounced rustic.

In spite of the initial `Ealing Comedy` mishaps, a half-decent number of records were added to this part of SN50, so it was worthwhile.


  1. Looks good for Ptocheuusa to me Ian

  2. Thanks Barry. Sam has also since confirmed the dets.