Friday, 31 August 2018

Mr. Smug....

Cydalima perspectalis has set up home in my back garden, where the caterpillar below was found:

It was not alone. Why 'Mr Smug'? Because I've been saying almost from the start that I thought this moth excites everybody the first couple of times they see it, but people then realise it is potentially very bad news, a bit like Cameraria ohridella.
Anybody who reads the Herts and Middx Moth group utterances will know that Colin Plant attracted more than ten thousand to his light a couple of weeks ago - in one night (!) in Macedonia. This species can strip Box bushes bare, to the point of death.

Unwelcome guest in the trap

Sickle wasp Ophion obscuratus
parasitises moth caterpillars.

Alan Diver

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Grateful for help

Small dusty wave

Birch mocha?


Grateful for help with these 2.

Alan Diver

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Pale Eggar

A second, rather more placid, male Pale Eggar in the garden trap the night before last allowed me to get a picture without damaged wing-tips.  Last night I ran a single MV light for the usual three hours in local ancient woodland and four more turned up, all of them female which I thought was a little unusual as I rarely see anything other than males.  All of them decided that egg-boxes were a good place to lay strings of eggs and the female I brought home to take a picture of carried on doing so during the photo-shoot!  The eggs will be released back where the females were caught.

Pale Eggar male, 27th August

Pale Eggar female, 28th August

Last night's rain didn't seem to make any difference at all to the garden catch, which comprised 291 moths of 53 species.  There was nothing exciting and the only hint of migration was from Plutella xylostella (2) and Dark Sword-grass (2).  Cacoecimorpha pronubana was the only species new for the year.

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 28th August

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Eudonia pallida?

Can anyone confirm this is Eudonia pallida? 2 pics of the same individual

Mark Griffiths,Garsington, Oxford

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Help with micros from Iver

My suggestions are below - very happy to be corrected!

1) Calypha lacunana?

 2) Scoparia subfusca?
3) Cydia splendana

Barnaby Briggs, Iver, Bucks

An Exciting Grass-moth

Yes, that's not an oxymoron, there is such a thing!  The one moth of interest in last night's garden catch was this Agriphila latistria.  The books say it is confined to dry, sandy habitats particularly around the coast but this is the second individual I've had in the garden here where we are a typically damp area on heavy clay.  The previous example was caught almost two years ago to the day (28th August 2016).  That was a first for VC24 Bucks and I'm not aware of any subsequent records.  So keep checking those tristellas - you may find this amongst them as well as Agriphila selasella which is having a good year too.  Agriphila latistria is noticeably "different", having a whitish head and that broad pure white band stretching right to the fringe at the termen. 

Agriphila latistria, Westcott 27th August 2018

Agriphila latistria, Westcott 27th August 2018

The remainder of last night's catch comprised 242 moths of 48 species.  To show that there are still plenty of moths out there, including many second-generation individuals now even if we are getting little that is actually new, here is the full list:  Coleophora sp (1), Bryotropha affinis (1), Bryotropha terrella (1), Aproaerema anthyllidella (1), Archips podana (1), Epiphyas postvittana (1), Celypha lacunana (3), Cydia pomonella (3), Grapholita funebrana (1), Agriphila tristella (12), Catoptria falsella (2), Pyrausta purpuralis (3), Emmelina monodactyla (2), Pale Eggar (1), Oak Hook-tip (1), Chinese Character (2), Small Dusty Wave (2), Single-dotted Wave (1), Common Carpet (1), Yellow Shell (1), Common Marbled Carpet (1), Green Carpet (1), Double-striped Pug (2), Magpie Moth (1), Brimstone Moth (4), Dusky Thorn (1), Common Wave (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (1), Flame Shoulder (6), Heart & Dart (19), Large Yellow Underwing (27), Lesser Yellow Underwing (3), Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (3), Small Square-spot (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (51), Six-striped Rustic (2), Square-spot Rustic (15), Smoky Wainscot (2), Common Wainscot (16), Centre-barred Sallow (15), Copper Underwing (3), Svensson's Copper Underwing (1), Mouse Moth (1), Flounced Rustic (5), Vine's Rustic (15), Pale Mottled Willow (1), Silver Y (1) & Snout (2).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Marlow Bottom 27 August

For one reason and another, this was my first garden trap for a month. Fairly standard fare, including the five hornets and two wasps. Just 35 species, of which Agriphila geniculea was the most numerous, 25, followed by 15 Large Yellow Underwings and 11 Light Emeralds. Mocha is still about, with a single specimen, but best of the catch was my second garden record of Balsam Carpet, the previous being in July 2006 and second Cypress Pug following a record last year.  I think the nearest Balsam plants to here are towards the Thames, which is about three miles away.

There were a couple of micros that I wasn't sure of. The first I'm being a bit lazy with, but would welcome any comments on its ID; the second is quite worn and is probably a dark Prays fraxinella, but can P. ruficeps be ruled out on a worn specimen? Both c7mm long.

Adam Bassett

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Convolvulus Hawkmoth

It has been a couple of weeks since I have been able to run the moth trap in the garden.  Given the forecast, last night did not look too encouraging so I was not too hopeful.

However, I was very pleased to get this female  Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli, presumably drawn to the large bed of Nicotiana near the trap, planted specifically to attract them.

This is my third garden record, the last two in September 2016.
Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash, VC24

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Leaf Mines

With fewer and fewer adult moths left to see now this year, just a reminder that we're fast approaching peak "leaf-mine season".  This is an excellent route to increasing knowledge of the species in your garden because mines are the easiest way to identify some of our smallest moths which might not otherwise get recorded.

Dwarfed by the huge willow behind it, in our front garden there is small Norway Maple Acer platanoides which is probably about 25 years old.  I know of no others in the immediate area yet it is home to Ectoedemia sericopeza and Phyllonorycter joannisi (both specific to that variety of Maple) as well as Stigmella aceris (also found on Field Maple Acer campestris) and several Caloptilia species (found on other Acer varieties too).  A brief look at the tree this afternoon very quickly produced mines of Phyllonorycter joannisi and Stigmella aceris

Norway Maple, Westcott 25th August

Mine of Stigmella aceris, Westcott 25th August

Mine of Phyllonorycter joannisi, Westcott 25th August

The Stigmella aceris larva had clearly been parasitized and you can see the black wasp pupa still inside the left-hand end of the corridor mine.  The tentiform mine of Phyllonorycter joannisi was found on the underside of a leaf and still had an active larva inside.

There is plenty of help available on-line and a good place to start is the British Leaf-mines web-site which is third in the list of Links in the right hand column on this page.  It is, of course, essential that you can correctly identify the tree or plant species on which you find a mine.  Thereafter, in many cases the time of year, type of mine, position of the egg, frass pattern and shape and colour of the larva itself all contribute to getting an ID to species and all you really need is a small hand lens and a camera (in the case of corridor mines like the Stigmella above, it is often easier to see much of the required detail by taking a back-lit photo and then viewing it on a computer screen). 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 24 August 2018


A Mocha here last night, always nice to see this moth as it has such exquisite markings.

Otherwise nothing of great interest and still only 2 Large Yellow Underwings . . . . .

Richard Ellis

Habits die hard

Interesting behaviour by a fine Red Underwing, roosting on our sun umbrella this morning. I tried to get it on to my finger three times and each time it flew off, circled briefly and then returned to the parasol. They seem to like them - the pic bottom left, above, is one which Penny spotted on the pub umbrellas at Radcot Bridge, back in August 2009.

Separately, I thought I had something unusual yesterday, below, but given that it was dead on my pillow which I had been resting on after coming back in from examining the trap, I fear that it is a sadly de-scaled Carpet of some sort. I still have it, in the unlikely event of its being of interest.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 23 August 2018

European Corn Borer

A European Corn Borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) in my garden trap last night, otherwise just the usual stuff and still very few Large Underwings  -  where have they gone?

Richard Ellis

IDs/ Confirmations please

I'm wondering if both or either of the first two Grass Moths are Agriphila selasella?

Then two pictures of the same moth - I think it is Coleophora trifolii?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Ruby rustic etc

Ruby rustic

Lesser treble-bar

Yellow-barred brindle

Confirmation/corrections gratefully received

Alan Diver

Plume and Pug Query

Help please with these two anyone.

Is the first one a Mugwort Plume?
The Pug I haven't a clue.

59 Moths of 24 Species last night in the trap at Tilehurst (including the above two).


From last night's very small catch I am fairly sure the first is another Ypsolopha alpella.

The second I am far less sure of. Possibly a dark form of either Y. ustella or Y. vittella. Just over 10mm in length.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon,

Species on time!

Just for once, a species that isn't early or late but appears exactly when it is due.  Last night's addition to the garden year list was this male Pale Eggar, a moth I always look forward to seeing in the third week of August although it would be nice if they weren't so excitable because I rarely manage a picture without worn wing-tips... 

Pale Eggar, Westcott 21st August

The trap contained little else of interest, although a large grey triangular shape did get a second glance before proving to be yet another Red Underwing.  Last night's counts were down even on those of the previous two or three nights, with only 40 species appearing.  However, Large Yellow Underwing has woken up at last and is rapidly beginning to compete with Heart & Dart, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Vine's Rustic. 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks    

Vine's rustic etc

Vine's rustic?

Another Beautiful plume?

Plain pug

Grateful for help with ID

Alan Diver

Confirmation please - Phycitodes binaevella?

I think this one is Phycitodes binaevella - can someone confirm please?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford