Thursday, 3 August 2017

Westcott, Bucks

The wind and rain meant that it was a fairly quiet night in the garden last night, with only 30 species attending the trap, but there were still one or two items worthy of note.  My second example here this year of Agonopterix liturosa was nice.  In my experience mainly a woodland or chalk grassland moth, it started appearing in the garden in 2013 and now seems to make a couple of visits annually.  A fresh White-point must be the start of its second brood, having had seven first-brood individuals in the garden between 26th May and 25th June.  The species has clearly colonised the local area now, having been a garden regular since 2014 (prior to that my only record of one here was back in 2006 when it was presumed to be a migrant). 

Agonopterix liturosa, Westcott 2nd August

White-point, Westcott 2nd August

Best of all last night, though, was an odd-shaped and rather worn tortrix which I potted up from the vanes on the actinic Robinson at about midnight.  Unfortunately it had gone to meet the "Choir Invisibule" by the time I got a proper look at it this morning, but the way in which it passed enabled me to confirm quite easily my initial thoughts last night that it might be a False Codling Moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta.  This species is usually imported with fruit and is not (yet) known to breed in the UK.  It is by no means a first for Bucks as there are a handful of VC24 records going back to 1996, but they were all either reared from larvae found in oranges or were adults captured indoors.  This would appear to be the first light-trapped individual for the county.  A check of recently-purchased fruit indoors found no signs of larval damage.

Thaumatotibia leucotreta, Westcott 2nd August

There is an obvious crest on the thorax and the wings are held close to the vertical but have a bulge in the middle caused by the heavily-scaled hind tibia (clearly visible in the picture here).  The moth will go off for dissection anyway but I don't think there's any doubt about what it is.  Needless to say, another new addition to the garden list!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks     

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