Friday, 5 June 2015

Old bag?

Happy times last night with some old favourites - Elephant Hawk, Chocolate Tip, Small Magpie - getting here at last and a good haul generally, which I have yet to look at in full. For now, if it isn't breaking the rules, may I just seek expert advice on this - both pictures - which was hanging from my son and daughter-in-law's kitchen ceiling in Walthamstow, east London. I had no idea what it was but a commentor on my moths blog suggests:  "Maybe Psyche casta or Epichnopterix plumella on pg 207 of Sterling, Parsons and Lewington's micromoth book?" and thereby has introduced me to the strange and wonderful world of bagworms, which I had previously overlooked.  Do you think he is right?  To give credit where it is due, my hawk-eyed, 18 month-old granddaughter was the one who spotted it.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.


  1. Sorry - the last bit is very dark My fault but I don't know how to edit it to make it clearer. V grateful for help with that too!

    all v best


    1. Sorted. If you used "cut and paste", Martin, I would avoid it in the future because it does occasionally produce some strange results!

  2. Thanks very much Dave - I did indeed use C&P and won't in future. Now hoping that a bagworm expert comes this way. Thanks again, and for all your webmastering.

  3. I'm not a bagworm expert, but this looks more like Psyche than it does Epichnopteric (which should have a case made of more continuous stems that are attached more solidly to the underlying silk). So I would put it down as Psyche casta, but I must admit that by doing that I am ignoring the possibility of the much rarer Psyche crassiorella. P. crassoriella has been recorded in Berkshire, although not since the 1920s, and according to Hants Moths it is now considered extinct in Britain. But I'm not sure how easy it is to prove that extinction, given that the two species can not be separated just by their cases - I suspect that like me many people just assume that if they see the case they can record it as Psyche casta. Looks like a chance for someone to rediscover an extinct species!

  4. Thanks very much Martin. Alas, I put the little thing outside in case it was some strange and potentially granddaughter-harming beastie. But I think your case for Psyche is convincing as there was no reason to expect a rarity in a Walthamstow kitchen. Although I guess you never know. All warm wishes M


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