Sunday, 19 October 2014

Holtspur Bottom, Bucks

A final trapping visit for this year to BC's Holtspur Bottom reserve near Beaconsfield last night didn't produce very many moths even though the temperature didn't fall below 16C.  I had high hopes after the first moth into one of the two traps was a Large Ranunculus, but after that things didn't really live up to expectations!  Merveille du Jour was, as always, nice to see but otherwise it was left to the micros to provide a little bit of interest through the appearance of Tachystola acroxantha.  Despite having been imported from Australia at the start of the last century, this invader is still known from remarkably few sites in Bucks.  Migrant activity at Holtspur was limited to Plutella xylostella (4) and Udea ferrugalis (1).

Large Ranunculus, Holtspur Bottom 18th October

Tachystola acroxantha, Holtspur Bottom 18th October
During the gaps between moth arrivals I occupied myself by doing some torchlight leaf-mining which has given a nice boost to the site's micro-moth list.  Away from the usual suspects, I was pleased to find evidence of Bucculatrix frangutella and Stigmella catharticella on buckthorn, Stigmella perpygmaeella on hawthorn, Parornix scoticella on whitebeam and Antispila treitschkiella on dogwood.

Vacated mines of Bucculatrix frangutella, Holtspur

Active mine of Stigmella catharticella, Holtspur

Vacated mine of Antispila treitschkiella, Holtspur

Earlier in the day I'd attended a very successful (...and dry, despite the forecast!) leaf-mining session in Salcey Forest at the opposite end of the county, where we had expert guidance from David Manning and Andy & Melissa Banthorpe.  Amongst the many species identified was a mine on dogwood of the other Antispila species, Antispila metalella, and it was nice to be able to compare the two.  Their mines and cut-out (from which the larva makes a case in which to pupate) are identical apart from the size of the cut-out which provides the method of separating them.

Dave Wilton

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