Friday, 1 August 2014

Small Ranunculus

I have only seen one adult Small Ranunculus at light trap in my current garden and this was back in 2011. Last year I found larvae on the prickly lettuces I had in one area of my garden. This year I have found even more larvae, I would estimate easily over 100 on prickly lettuce plants around my garden. I then decided to check some prickly lettuce plants we have at work growing where some sand has been deposited several years ago and a few plants that are growing underneath a poly-tunnel - all of which are within 2m of the Rothamsted moth trap, some right next to it. Every plant is covered in larvae and there has never been an adult caught in the Rothamsted trap. Then whilst cycling home I checked some plants growing by the side of the road - guess what, covered in Small Ranunculus larvae. So despite once again not seeing a single adult yet this year, the moth is clearly pretty common all around me.

Otherwise things have been pretty bleak here at Lonesome Farm. The farmer has just ripped out the other side of the 1-km mature hedgerow he started on last year and I am now truly surrounded by a dusty moon-scape. We can safely kiss good bye to the Yellow Wagtails that bred between that hedgerow and the crop, as well as several Grey Partridge, Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers and Linnets as well as Hares and Barn Owls that also use the hedgerow as cover and hunting grounds. But even worse, I think of the number of moth larvae on those mature Hawthorns etc and want to give up. That said, it has pushed a family of Hares and lots of birds into our garden as it is now one of the only refuges for them, and I did have a very nice surprise in the trap this morning with my first garden record of Square-spotted Clay. Marc Botham, Benson


  1. Think positive, at least you can see further now...

  2. I don't have much experience of Small Ranunculus, Marc, but anecdotally I wonder if it might be a bit like Puss Moth in that it comes to light but usually fails to enter the trap. Certainly my one garden example (not exactly a useful sample!) was found on the fence a good ten feet away from the trap. This will presumably now prompt a string of comments from people saying "mine have always entered the trap"!!

  3. Not from me Dave. I've only had two, back in 2008, and both were found on the garage wall in the morning after trapping the night before.


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