Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Two from Pitstone

Oncocera semirubella is once again living on Pitstone Hill, two sightings in the last week.

Also Pyraustas nigrata, purpuralis and despicata out in force.

Can anyone help which Mompha is it - M. propinquella or some other?

Suggestions or confirmation please.

Greg Keith


  1. Hello Greg, Oncocera semirubella is a lovely moth and always nice to see - it has been well established across the Ivinghoe hills for at least a couple of years now. If the other moth was also from Pitstone Hill then it is most likely to be Mompha miscella which is common there (it isn't propinquella). When requesting an ID it is very helpful to provide some scale and laying a ruler next to the moth before photographing it is the best way to do that. Mompha miscella, which your moth could easily be from those photographs, is one of the smallest members of that family.

  2. I agree with Dave, not Mompha propinquella, but I don't know what it is.
    You say O semirubella is "once again living on Pitstone Hill". Does this mean you have previous records?
    As Bucks county recorder I'd be very interested in receiving any records you have for Bucks. Some of Pitstone Hill is in Herts, so it would be good to have a grid ref to confirm which vc you were in.

  3. Thanks Dave & Martin.

    Last year I sighted O. semirubella on 3 days (15th & 22nd July and 23rd Aug) 5 occasions on the 22nd. all at SP949139 or SP949140. Also at SP950137.

  4. The first grid ref square is on the Bucks/Herts border, but the open area is all Bucks. The second grid ref is all Bucks and the third is all Herts.

  5. O. semirubella is declared extinct in Hertfordshire in Colin Plant's 'Big Book'. The publishing date was 2008 so maybe I'm out of date, but I imagine he would be interested to hear about it being in Herts.
    Andy King.

  6. Just to add a little more to this, Andy King, Martin Albertini and I had one of our regular survey sessions on Pitstone Hill last night (16th July) and, behind Chrysoteuchia culmella and Dark Arches, Oncocera semirubella was probably the third most abundant moth on site. We caught in excess of 100 of them.

    1. I was there during the day and the most abundant moths were P. purpuralis & P. nigrata. Certainly more than 100.


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