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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Cross Hands today

I do habitat surveys at BC's Caeau Ffos Fach and Median Farm reserves at the start of October each year, and this always proves a good time to look for larvae, leafmines and other things of interest. Today I was pleased to find Ectoedemia argyropeza mines on fallen leaves from a stand of Aspen at Caeau Ffos Fach. Note the mines start in the petiole and extend into the leaf blade, creating a 'green island' above the mine.

I've looked for this before at the reserve without luck. I thought it might be new for Carms but Stephen Ruttle beat me to it with a record in December 2016.

Some blotch mines on Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil led me to a case of Coleophora discordella on a stem of the same plant. Coleophora species tend to be very under-recorded and discordella has only 11 previous Carms records according to Sam's 2016 list.

Cases and mines of Coleophora gryphipennella were found on rose next door at Median Farm. This species has even fewer Carms records (5).

On the macro-moth front, larvae of Fox moth, Small Chocolate-tip, Ruby Tiger and Knot Grass were also seen.
Knot-grass larva on rose
Also of note was a ram's-horn gall on oak, caused by the wasp Andricus aries. This species seems to be on the increase in South Wales...this is the first time I've seen it in Carms.


  1. Some very good finds. Would be nice to see a photo of the Small Chocolate-tip larvae if you have one.

  2. Annoyingly Jacqueline my camera was in the car at the time...I went back to look for it after I'd finished the survey but it had gone from the small willow bush it was on. It was feeding out in the open, rather than in spun leaves as is more typical for this species.

  3. Checked Aspen leaves at Cwmllwyd this morning, but no evidence of Ectodemia argyropeza mines, unfortunately.

  4. There's frustrating for you, hopefully you get to see another one soon, would be great to have it for your own photo reference file. I'm 20 mins north of Carmarthen, and haven't been lucky to see the Small Chocolate-tip moth. You did so well to have some great finds. Nature always throws up challenges.

  5. Thanks...I do have photos of Small Choc-tip larvae from Gower and Pembrey, so I'm not too distraught! Also Chocolate-tip larvae I once found on Aspen in Glamorgan. I do like caterpillars.

  6. Some nice stuff there George - well done. I popped out this pm for an hour to look at suckering plantings of aspen E of Burry Port, but no luck; also Populus were devoid of leaves at this coastal site. Other trees checked for potentially interesting mines (eg that job you get on field maple seeds) were non-productive too; I did make some records of commoner mines though.I`ve not seen your distinctive Andricus in Carms (or anywhere) and I had a good bout of gall recording almost 20 years ago. It`s very likely that it`s new to Carms, so well done again.

  7. Thanks for the comments, Ian, re Andricus. I've seen it a couple of times in Glamorgan recently, and others are reporting it too. Certainly seems to be a species on the increase.

  8. Glad you got to see them at Gower and Pembrey, but again, super find of the recent Small Chocolate-tip, they are very precious.