Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Westcott, Bucks

January and February are always tediously slow months here for moths and I'm actually quite pleased to have reached six species already in the first two weeks of this year:  Mompha jurassicella, Winter Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty, Mottled Umber & Chestnut, plus an active leaf-mine of Stigmella aurella

Mine of Stigmella aurella on bramble, Westcott 5th January

This quiet period is of course a necessity to allow everyone to get records for 2019 sorted and dispatched to your County Moth Recorder!

Mr Hall has kindly completed my garden dissections for the year (thank-you, Peter) so I can add a little more to the statistics posted back in December.  Firstly I need to correct the overall total number of moths recorded in the garden, which actually amounted to 54,400 for the full year (my earlier adding-up left a little bit to be desired!).  That total includes the usual pairs of aggregate species like Common/Lesser Common Rustic which are always worth recording but doesn't include things like those Yponomeutas which can't be determined or any Coleophorids and Cnephasias which haven't been dissected.  The first two don't ever amount to very many moths but I do get a significant number of Cnephasias here with 377 of them remaining unidentified and therefore unrecorded during 2019.  They'll be drawn from incertana, stephensiana, asseclana and communana which are the four I get regularly in the garden.

The final moth species count for the year came to 699 (344 micros, 355 macros) and, for anyone who is really that interested, the full list is available on a Google Sheets spreadsheet here.  32 of them were new to the garden, the 11 macros as previously listed and the following 21 micros:  Stigmella crataegellaStigmella samiatella*, Bohemannia pulverosella, Ectoedemia heringella*, Tischeria ekebladella*, Phyllonorycter klemannellaYpsolopha alpella*, Scrobipalpa obsoletella*, Scrobipalpa atriplicella*, Carpatolechia alburnella, Coleophora milvipennis*, Coleophora lassella*, Elachista gleichenella*, Elachista consortella*, Elachista stabilella*, Choristoneura diversana*, Cochylis nana, Epinotia cinereana*, Cydia amplana, Anania lancealis and Pediasia contaminella (those marked * were dissected to confirm).

The garden moth list currently stands at 1,003 species (560 micros, 443 macros) with the Dewick's Plusia on 14th September 2019 taking the prize for being the 1,000th.  It will be interesting to see how many more can be added!  It also suggests that with a lot of perseverance and someone willing to carry out any necessary dissections then this kind of total must surely be achievable by anyone with a bit of decent habitat nearby.

Update:  Actually, it turns out to be 1,002 garden moths (559 micros, 443 macros) with Dewick's Plusia now relegated to the 999th species and the 1,000th being Phyllonorycter klemannella!  I thought I'd checked for duplicates (62.065 Ephestia unicolorella/woodiella being the obvious one if you ask MapMate to produce a species list) but I've just found that 15.054 Phyllonorycter salictella and Phyllonorycter viminiella are both still in as good species too even though they are actually one and the same moth.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

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