Thanks to everyone in Bucks, Berks & Oxon who has supported this blog during the year, either by posting, answering queries or even just lurking in the background, and here's hoping for a moth-filled 2021!
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
Another caterpillar put in an appearance on a wooden bench near the light on the 28th. At 12mm in length it was obviously not a final instar and I have been unable to tie it down to species, although I suspect it may have been one of the lichen-eaters (either a Footman or one of the Cryphia species).
|Caterpillar, Westcott 28th December|
Wednesday, 23 December 2020
|Epiphyas postvittana male, Westcott 22nd December|
|Epiphyas postvittana female, Westcott 22nd December|
|Pale Brindled Beauty, Westcott 22nd December|
|Dytiscus semisulcatus, Westcott 22nd December|
Tuesday, 22 December 2020
This turned up the other night. I'm only just getting into micros (not that great on macros either!) but I'm thinking this might be an Acleris - either ferrugana or notana, which I understand are hard to distinguish between.
Am I anywhere near?
Happy Christmas to all (if that's possible this year!)
During 2020, I have been conducting an experiment to compare a 15W actinic light with a roughly 18W LED light. This was a continuation of something I started in 2019, but this year I have run a more disciplined study. The initial article here has a photo of the LED light - although I've made changes to the configuration, it still looks similar. My update at the end of 2019 is here. I wrote a 2020 half-year update (here) which describes the experimental method I've used in 2020 and some of the changes I made to the LED in April and May; the light hasn't changed since then.
I now present the results for the whole of 2020. Apart from three nights on which I ran a single light, I have run the two lights simultaneously in two different (and non-interfering) parts of the garden. I trapped twice a week, alternating the lights between the two places. The data cover the whole year: I didn't run any traps in my garden for the first three weeks of January, nor for the last 2½ weeks of December, nor for a six-week period covering the second half of July to late August.
In the table above, the "Together" column refers to the two traps combined. The data are only for moths taken at light in my garden and exclude other locations and moths found indoors, etc.
As I wrote in my half-year post, the LED started off performing slightly worse than the actinic striplight. There were two reasons for this: it initially used less power - around 8W - and the UV LEDs weren't very efficient. I changed the configuration in April and early May, since when it has out-performed the actinic light. The full-year data in the table show that it has attracted about 6% more species - particularly micros - and about 30% more individuals. When I look at the period since early May with the improved LED, these figures are strengthened in the period between late spring and early autumn. Since mid-autumn it's harder to see a difference in effectiveness between the lights, but naturally the numbers are much smaller anyhow.
My garden list has grown this year by a deceptively-impressive 205 species (126 macros and 79 micros). However, I only started trapping in the middle of 2018 and my trapping effort in 2020 (number of traps x number of nights) has been four times as much as my total trapping effort before 2020. Consequently I have continued to find the learning curve rather steep, especially as I also trapped in France during the summer and found almost one hundred additional species there. There were 27 species (14 macro, 13 micro) which I found in the garden in 2018 or 2019, but which I haven't seen this year.
|New for the garden list:|
Newton Longville 7th May 2020
(first night with the better LED)
One of the "problems" with a database is the temptation to spend a lot of time slicing the data in different ways. Just for myself, during these dark days I may take a look at the relative numbers of moths found in the two parts of my garden where I run the traps, to see which has the most, and I may see if there are any differences between the effectiveness of the two lights for different families - as I noted above, the LED seems rather more effective amongst micros.
I haven't decided on my plans for 2021. I may experiment with LED vs. LED as I want to try different combinations of wavelengths (colours). Allied to this, I would like to produce a somewhat lower-powered version (around 12W) that I can run off a battery. At home I use mains power, but in theory, during the summer the current 18W version should be able to last all night on my 12V 16Ah battery. However, the nights are too long for the battery before the spring equinox and after the autumn equinox. As I wrote in my mid-year post, heat dissipation is a challenge - specifically the fact that it's produced in such a tiny area - and I have some ideas about how to address this. Finally, the LED light has spent its whole life in part-finished form, held together with elastic bands: this makes it easier to change its configuration, but at some point I should produced a finished version!
Newton Longville, Bucks
Saturday, 19 December 2020
Back in March, I posted here about finding Nemapogon cloacella indoors. I found a total of four moths in March and another in May. After a gap, I found some similar-looking moths in the kitchen on several occasions in September, including this mating pair which I put down as N. cloacella without much thought. I also found more in November.
Newton Longville 11 September 2020
I've gradually learned to pay more attention to what is written in the field guides and in other sources, and that some species can appear very similar to other species. My suspicions about the IDs of what I was finding in the kitchen were already beginning in September and I started to wonder if there was a chance that at least some of them (including the pair above) might be Nemapogon granella - but by the time I got sufficient doubts I no longer had the moths. When another couple of moths appeared in November, I sent them to Peter Hall to have their bits examined and they both came back as N. granella. This month, I've found a couple more in the kitchen and I'm fairly confident that they are also N. granella.
Initially, I believed that I'd only started to see N. granella in September. This made me wonder whether they were accidental imports: in the summer we managed to spend 3½ weeks in France (before quarantine was introduced: those were the days!) and returned with a large amount of vegetables from a local market gardener, including plenty of drier material such as shallots. However, in going back through some of the photographs I had taken in March, I'm no longer so sure that they were all N. cloacella. So perhaps the N. granella didn't come back from France in my car.
At least one of the moths from March may be N. granella and the other looks like a candidate for N. varietella (see the white hair on the head). As I didn't pay enough attention at the time to the possibility that they could be one of the rarer species and didn't send them for gen. det., I'll never know for sure, so where I have doubts, I'll change my records from Nemapogon cloacella to Nemapogon sp.
Newton Longville, 15th & 20th March 2020
Newton Longville, Bucks
Friday, 18 December 2020
Please forgive the photo! This turned up at a friend's house (on the kitchen window!) the other night. We have been seeing Winter moth around here, but not the Northern version. I think this may be it, with the pale hindwing showing quite prominently below the forewing. Although the flash photo doesn't help, I'm told that the hindwing really was pale - almost white. Can someone please confirm or otherwise?
Many thanks, David Dennis
|Mines of Ectoedemia heringella, 17th December|
|Active mine of Ectoedemia heringella, 17th December|
|Active mine of Stigmella aurella, Westcott 17th December|
|Active mines of Phyllonorycter leucographella,|
Westcott 17th December
Thursday, 17 December 2020
|Ypsolopha ustella ....I think...?|
Having been inspired by Dave's post below, and taking his advice on lights etc, I put in two hours at my local woodland near Witney (V23) this evening (16.15-18.15) using a 20W actinic light. With pretty much 8/8ths cloud, little wind, and 8°C there was a fair bit of activity which I was quite surprised by given the date. Up to 25 Winter Moths, many resting on Oak trunks, rather than entering the trap. 3 Mottled Umber, a single Dark Chestnut, 4 Chestnut, and two Satellite. Just one micro, which I've identified as Ypsolopha ustella ....??
|Phyllonorycter scopariella mine on Broom|
|Phyllonorycter scopariella mine on Broom|
(opened up to show the frass left by the larva)
|Phyllonorycter ulicicolella mine|
|Trifurcula immundella mine - the distinctive egg shell is shown in the inset.|
Wednesday, 16 December 2020
|Acleris species, Westcott 13th December|
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
|LED strip-light,14th December|
|Spring Usher, Northmoor Hill Wood 14th December|
|Exapate congelatella, Finemere Wood 14th December|
|Oak Nycteoline, Finemere Wood 14th December|
|Pale Brindled Beauty, Finemere Wood 14th December|
Saturday, 12 December 2020
Friday, 11 December 2020
This photo which I first posted on 8th October has now been confirmed as Epinotia sordidana. Thanks to Peter for doing the necessary dissection. Rather a dull looking moth but a pleasing addition to my garden list.
Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.
Thursday, 10 December 2020
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
|Mompha subbistrigella, Westcott 3rd December|
|Silver Y, Westcott 2nd December|
|Angle Shades caterpillar, Westcott 8th December|
Tuesday, 8 December 2020
Using Dave Wilton's format here are my 2020 results
Number of nights traps were run (1st Jan to 30th Nov): 195, of which 125 were 125w MV and 70 were 20w Black light (mainly in the Winter months.) Only one trap was run on any one night.
Number of species caught: 516 (232 micros, 284 macros)
Nights with 100+ species: 2 (4 in 2019 and 1 in 2018)
Best night for moth numbers: 14th August (474 moths of 68 species); the best nights for species were 25th June and 7th August (102 and 100 respectively) but the individual moth counts were lower than on 14th August
Highest counts for a single species: Common Wainscot (869) for macros, Chrysoteuchia culmella (463) for micros
New for the site in 2020: 73 species, of which 55 were micros (including Agnoea flavifrontella, Ectoedemia decentella, Ethmia bipunctella, Haplotinea insectella and Mompha langiella and 18 were macros (including Blossom Underwing, Cypress Carpet, Netted Pug and Scarce Tissue) site tally now 650 species
Total number of moths caught in the garden (1st Jan to 30th Nov): 16,293
Species numbers were up considerably compared to 2019 although despite increased trapping effort overall numbers were very slightly down. The most notable difference was Dark Arches where only about one third of the number caught in 2019 were recorded. Common Footman and Common Wainscot both had a remarkably good year here as well.
The increased number of species recorded was helped considerably by Peter Hall’s efforts in splitting some of the aggregate species and identifying many of the smaller micros that I had taken more time to search for in the midge dust at the bottom of the trap.
Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.
I'm afraid I can't work out how to post a comment to another post so I'm posting separately!
I certainly cannot match the Westcott numbers, and as this was my first year, I have no comparison data. However, interestingly my best night for species was also 26 June, though the best night for numbers was 22 Sept.
Lunar Underwing was also the species with the highest total count followed by Common Footman and Treble Lines; similarly Chrysoteuchia culmella was the micro with the highest total count.
Most frequently recorded species was Large Yellow Underwing followed by Common Wainscot.
Sunday, 6 December 2020
Friday, 4 December 2020
Bookings are now being taken for next year's UK Moth Recorders Conference which will be held virtually on Zoom. It is free of charge and has been arranged for Saturday 30th January (10am-1pm). Follow the link here if you wish to reserve a place.
Thursday, 3 December 2020
Wednesday, 2 December 2020
|Agonopterix alstromeriana, Westcott 30th November|
Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks
Tuesday, 1 December 2020
I send out this appeal every year, but it's that time again when I ask folk to consider donating to the upkeep of this website to keep it running. I do dissect for quite a few of you, don't normally charge anything although I do incur costs myself of materials to dissect with, but the website is my primary go-to place for identifications. It would be nice if those that benefit would consider donating something, or anyone else for that matter. It's not just a website for dissections, but now houses tens of thousands of other stages as well and I find it a very easy to navigate site to check out adults with ever more leaf mines and larval stages getting added too. With that in mind if you have good quality images of any moth stage, please consider uploading. https://mothdissection.co.uk/index.php
Monday, 30 November 2020
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Saturday, 28 November 2020
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
|Northern Winter Moth & Winter Moth, Westcott 24th Nov|
|Angle Shades, Westcott 23rd November|
|Phyllonorycter messaniella, Westcott 21st November|
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
I know this isn't just an ID forum (and am only too aware of putting experienced observers on the spot!). But in this, my first year of trapping, it's very tempting to use it as such.
These two were outside the trap on the wall a couple of nights ago. I pondered them long and hard. The left-hand moth is slightly larger and with a paler protruding hindwing and I considered Northern Winter Moth. In the end, I was undecided but having read the comments below thought I'd seek another opinion.....
I thought this was Northern Winter Moth when I first saw it with those whitish hindwings (first image), but in different lighting the forewings look more brown than I would expect (second image) and not really silky, so I'm no longer sure. It was noticeably larger than the Winter Moths caught at the same time--forewing 14mm left and 16mm right and wingspan 34 mm.
Or am I misidentifying a November moth?