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Saturday, 15 December 2018

Divine intervention and good old tomatoes!

2018 was not a classic year for me, with much reduced moth recording and almost zero trapping away from home, all due to the trials and tribulations of moving home. That move has now taken place and whilst - as remarked before - I`m now not likely to get the coastal or wetland moths that I had at Pwll, my new garden site abuts a very extensive area of mixed woodland so it won`t be entirely mothless. There are some other perks too, such as overlooking a slightly distant little egret treetop colony.
I`m certainly hoping to return to much more intensive (and extensive) moth recording in 2019.

A facet of this year`s reduced mothing activity is that I have not made any new vice-county records in 2018 and I have been much impressed by certain other Carmarthenshire moth recorders with their results, albeit with a touch of friendly jealously.

My luck - or was it seasonal divine intervention - changed at the start of this month when I opened a pack of Asda `Extra Special vine-ripened tomatoes`(originating from the Netherlands) in my kitchen and a tiny moth flew out. Fortunately I had a tube in an adjacent cupboard (which I`d just placed there that very day!) and quickly potted it up. I was already aware of a small gelechiid with the almost comically rhyming name of Tuta absoluta, which is an increasing pest of cultivated tomatoes but although it superficially looked like it, dissection was required for it to be confirmed. The latter was kindly undertaken by Steve Palmer, the national recorder for the gelechiid recording scheme who confirmed that it was a male of that species. I have n`t a photo of this small grey moth, so you`ll have to look it up.

So, a new county record at almost the last moment - phew!

A Happy Christmas to all and I hope that you`ll have good mothing for 2019. Remember to send your 2018 records to Sam in an approved format so that we can then prepare the annual summary in time for the 2019 season. I`m hoping to get the newsletter out by the usual time of late March or early April. I actually need to input my own records - I`m running late this year due to the house move and only had my internet and emails set up a few days ago.

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