Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Aston Rowant NNR - 08/10/19

Had a really enjoyable first trip to this fantastic reserve yesterday, mostly wandering around looking for larvae on the north side of the motorway (I had intended to look at the south side, but got rained off!). I recorded 42 species in all, and didn't get round to having a proper look at some of the scrub - looking forward to another visit.

The main highlight was the nationally scarce B leaf miner Stigmella poterii on Salad Burnet - I found a couple of definite (tenanted) mines on the main slope, while a few others elsewhere may be Ectoedemia angulifasciella (of which there were a few mines on Wild Rose). Dave says this may well be new to VC23.  

Stigmella poterii mine on Salad Burnet
After a few ambiguous mines, I also found a Trifurcula headleyella mine, kindly confirmed by Andy Banthorpe, who found the first for Bedfordshire this year. This is a proposed RDB species that feeds on Self-Heal. 

Trifurcula headleyella mine on Self Heal
There were also lots of mines of the Nb Stephensia brunnichella on Wild Basil - I've searched for these several times before, but never found them (oddly, just the stunning adults resting on the foodplant), so very pleased to see them. 

Stephensia brunnichella mine on Wild Basil

The final highlights were both on Thyme - a Coleophora lixella case, and a young Thyme Plume larva. Other species of interest were Strophedra weirana on Beech, Bucculatrix frangutella on Alder Buckthorn, Coleophora gryphipennella on Dog Rose, Euspilapteryx auroguttella and Ectoedemia septembrella on St John's Wort, Mompha rashkiella on Rosebay Willowherb, Coleophora argentula cases and a Tawny-Speckled Pug larva on Yarrow, and a Parornix torquillella larva with its black legs on Blackthorn. Lots of Silver-Spotted Skipper eggs found on Sheep's Fescue tussocks too (including one cluster of 14!).


  1. Nice work, Will! Most people tend to concentrate on leaf-mines found on trees and shrubs, probably because the host is easier to identify, so it is excellent to see someone with good botanical knowledge going for those on smaller plants. I have a feeling that Trifurcula headleyella may also be new for VC23 - perhaps Martin Townsend could confirm for us the status of this and Stigmella poterii in Oxon. By the way, could you confirm the date of these sightings - I'd thought it was actually the 8th (yesterday)?

  2. Thanks, Dave! I tend to try and go for them as they're under-recorded and a more straightforward ID once you've got them on the more unusual foodplants. My mistake on the date, they were yesterday, have edited the post (and will submit the full list in time).


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