Monday, 11 May 2015

Expect the unexpected – the second British record for Clepsis dumicolana comes from Bucks

My thanks to Andrew Kershaw for allowing me to post this information and picture.  In the early part of 2015 Andrew sent me his 2014 moth records from his garden in Longwick SP7805, near Princes Risborough, Bucks.  As is my duty as county recorder I queried a few records and asked if he had any relevant pictures to support them.  He replied that there weren’t any pictures that I wanted, but he did include one of a species (a well-marked tortrix) which he couldn’t place.  I couldn’t place it either and as I knew he’d just returned from Colombia I asked whether it could have been from his holiday! 
     I didn’t follow this up immediately, but on 10th May I had a Herts Moth Group e-mail from Colin Plant which pictured Clepsis dumicolana and telling people to look out for it.  The first British record was from 15th May 2014 in central London where it was subsequently found to be breeding.  It didn’t take too long before I thought to compare Andrew’s picture with the one Colin had posted.  It appeared to be a good match so I sent it to Colin and also John Langmaid and was delighted when John wrote back confirming that it was C. dumicolana.  I’d already contacted Andrew about the possibility he had a good record and he confirmed it was from Longwick on 21st May 2014 (wish it had been 7 days earlier!).  He’d had it in a pot on the windowsill and it had died and it was only when he was clearing pots out later in the year that he came across it again and luckily photographed it before he threw it away.  An inspired decision!
     Keep a look out for this species now and perhaps later in the year as it may have a second generation.  The larvae feed on ivy and at the original London site the adult was found resting on ivy leaves and on walls nearby.  The larvae pupate in a curled-up portion of dead ivy leaf.  It does vary in the intensity of markings, the one pictured being especially distinct.  The most likely species it might be mistaken for is Syndemis musculana.  If in doubt retain a specimen for genitalia examination and, hopefully, confirmation.  There is an article on the finding of the first British specimens in the Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation vol 126 pt 4 July/Aug 2014.
Martin Albertini, Bucks County Moth Recorder
Clepsis dumicolana, Longwick May 2014 (Andrew Kershaw)

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