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Monday, 13 August 2018

A wet night...

Forecasts showing southerly winds skirting westernmost France tempted me to trap on Saturday (11/8) night, but I should have heeded Chris Handoll`s wise warnings of heavy rain too. However, having earlier suggested trapping to a few fellow enthusiasts, I felt obliged to `give it a go` and out went my MV trap (my most rain-tolerant one) with an (inadequate) home-made shelter perched atop.
The results awaiting me the next morning were not outstanding, with just three migrant species - several silver ys, a dark sword-grass and a couple of rush veneers. Resident moths were in small numbers and rather poor variety (they must have `stayed at home` due to the heavy rain!), though with a compensatory worn cypress pug and the year`s first rosy rustics.

 Above: a rather worn and faded cypress pug, though the distinctive black abdominal band is still present.
                                                            Above: the dark sword-grass.

A few days earlier, I made a `whistle-stop` visit to the saltmarshes at Llangennech to collect seed heads of marshmallow containing larvae of Pexicopa malvella for Steve Palmer of the Gelechiid Recording Scheme. He`s looking into some slightly uncertain aspects of the life cycle of this species, prompted partially by similar finds by Sam in his native Monmouthshire (see the latter county`s moth blog).
Seed-heads were duly collected and posted to Steve. Details of this moth can be found somewhere in last year`s July or August Carms moth blogs, if anyone is interested.

Whilst at Llangennech, and as the tide was fully receded, I ventured out to an island in the saltmarsh which I knew had much Atriplex and other good `moth weeds`. Last year I had searched this selfsame area for Chrysoethia sexguttella, but without success. This time I spotted a larval working when I was in pursuit of a bush-cricket which - in terms of habitat - should have been Roesel`s bush-cricket, a saltmarsh/dry grassland species that is spreading. Unfortunately, it was just an out-of-place dark bush-cricket but it did lead me, by chance, to the Chrysoethia leaf-mine.

              Above: leaf-mine of Chrysoethia sexguttella on Atriplex, Llangennech, 9/8/18.

My moth activity is still extremely limited due to other obligations, but I hope that I can be much more involved in 2019.


  1. I'm just chicken, Ian, well done you (and Andy) for braving it on Saturday night. Hearing the wind and rain during the night made me glad that I hadn't! However, I did put a small actinic out last night and one or two items of interest resulted, I will blog later.

  2. Well done with the leaf mine. It seems an easy one to breed out and is a nice moth when fresh.

    I'll be interested to hear Steve P's feedback on your marshmallow larvae.