Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Not what I was expecting to TIP pheromone

I put out the TIP pheromone a couple of days ago in my garden, hoping for Currant Clearwing. 
By accident I left the trap out overnight and the next day there were 4 Hart's-tongue Smut Psychoides verhuella inside. I'm not sure if it has been recorded to the TIP lure before, but I saw on FB that someone had had it to the API lure (Facebook: Moth Pheromone Trap Records, if you are on there).
The other Psychoides species, the Fern Smut P. filicivora has been recorded to TIP.   
If you have either of theses lures, it might be worth trying overnight if you have Hart's-tongue Asplenium scolopendrium close by as I have.
I have recorded both Psychoides species once or twice previously in the garden.
Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash, VC24

More success with lures

 Having managed to record Currant and Red-belted Clearwings in the garden I put the LUN lure out today and was rewarded with a Lunar Hornet Moth. 

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Eucosma obumbratana?

 I was wondering if this might be Eucosma obumbratana? I still have it if it's one that needs checking.


Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Double Square-spot and Triple-spotted Clay

The arrival of the garden's first Double Square-spot last night (photos below) reminds me to point out that the once common confusion species, Triple-spotted Clay, seems to be close to extinction in our area these days.  An acceptable record for Triple-spotted Clay would therefore need to be backed up by good evidence (clear photos, including views of the hind-wing, or preferably a specimen for dissection).

Triple-spotted Clay has a slightly narrower forewing and its ground colour usually has a purplish tinge when compared to the brownish-grey of a typical Double Square-spot (that should be the first sign of a candidate).  The hind-wing will then need to be checked, dark grey as above for Double Square-spot, but in the case of Triple-spotted Clay it is usually a much lighter brownish colour which provides quite a contrast to that of the darker fore-wing. 

Monday, 28 June 2021

Micro ID

The nearest I could get for this micro from the garden was Notocelia trimaculana.

Is this correct?

Any comments appreciated.

Jeremy Palmer, Aylesbury

A Couple of Pairs

For a brief period now Clay (which flies in a single generation until mid-August) is flying alongside White-point (whose first generation is coming to an end and the second should start again in early-August).  Clay is the larger moth, being longer in the wing than White-point.  The fore-wing ground colour can vary on both species but White-point is often a richer brown compared to the straw colour of Clay.  The central white spot on Clay varies in size but is usually tear-shaped, while on White-point it is usually circular and more obvious.  This feature should really be checked from a distance, taking in the moth as a whole (get too close and you'll see that the spot on White-point is rarely actually a circle!).          

Clay, Westcott 24th June

White-point, Westcott 26th June

The other two species which give everyone a problem at this time of year are Rustic and Uncertain.  Uncertain usually appears first and in my garden has been out for a couple of weeks now, while Rustic is just starting to appear.  Both are common (in fact they can be very common in some gardens in our area) and there is absolutely no problem at all in recording them as an aggregate ("Hoplodrina species" in MapMate or "Uncertain/Rustic" in iRecord, for example).  However, at the moment while they're still relatively fresh, you should be able to pick out some obvious examples of either species to ensure that you do indeed get a record to species level of both at your site.  For Rustic look for very grey examples with little in the way of an obvious central band.  For Uncertain look for rich brown examples with a very obvious dark central band.

Rustic (left) and Uncertain (right), Westcott 27th June

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Moth Nights 8th-10th July

Just a reminder for those who are interested that the annual National Moth Nights are coming up in a couple of weeks and this year's theme is reed-bed and wetland species.  More information can be found here.  The organisers (Atropos, BC and CEH) are trying to encourage public events but COVID restrictions will still apply and in the current climate of increasing infection rates you should be very cautious about attending an activity like this where social distancing might not be feasible.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

European Corn-borer and [Edit] most likely Large Nutmeg not a Beautiful Brocade

In what was otherwise a relatively low catch for this time of year, I had two very good species.

The first was a pale crambid which I did not recognise.  After checking the book I believe this is European Corn-borer Ostrinia nubilalis.  A new species for me. 

[Edit] I was initially stumped by this rather pale and worn noctuid.  My first thought was that this is a worn and faded Beautiful Brocade Lacanobia contigua.  However, John Thacker and Dave Wilton have suggested this is probably a Large Nutmeg Apamea anceps.  I have retained the specimen and will get it checked in due course.

Confirmation or corrections welcome!

Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash, VC24

Dog-sitting has its benefits

I'm not a "morning person" but having to look after my daughter's dog this weekend has got me up and out early.  The dog and I generally take the same route for a walk when this happens, and it takes in a line of mixed poplars (black and lombardy) along the edge of the old airfield at Westcott, only about 150m from our house at its closest point.  As always at this time of year I pay particular attention to the black poplar trunks, the bases of which are riddled with old Hornet Moth workings, and I've found fresh pupal exuvia sticking out of exit holes quite a few times there in past years.  However, in this morning's dismal drizzle a freshly emerged adult female was discovered sitting on a trunk a couple of feet above ground level.  That certainly made getting up early worthwhile!

Hornet Moth, Westcott 27th June

For more than ten years now I've been trying to get a garden record of this species using the appropriate pheromone lure but have never had any success even though the moths are active so close by.

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks  

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Possible Reddish Light Arches??

This turned up a few days ago and went into the 'not sure' folder. Is it Reddish Light Arches? If so, it's new to our survey on Cholesbury and Hawridge Commons.

Best wishes


Fen Moths

Obscure Wainscot

I spent a bit of time this week wandering around Lashford Lane Fen and Cothill Fen near Abingdon. I also ran a 15w actnic trap at Lashford Lane on the night of 24th (with permission from BBOWT). I had two of the above Wainscots in the trap, which I have tentatively identified as Obscure Wainscot. The ID may be incorrect since this appears a pretty scarce species nationally.

The two micros above were found in the daytime inhabiting wet juncus. They both appear to be Glyphipterix sp. of some sort......

Ethmia dodecea

The micro above was found in the Lashford Lane trap, but I also found five of these at Cothill (actually beaten from hazel). Again, the ID may be incorrect but if it is Ethmia then it is perhaps commoner than then books suggest.

The two micros above were found in the daytime at Cothill and despite two days of referring to the literature, I'm still a little unsure....

.....and finally the above, from the Lashord Lane trap, I haven't a clue

Any identification guidance appreciated, thanks.....

Friday, 25 June 2021

Two interesting moths at Radley Lakes, 25th June

I found what I think are Beautiful China-mark and Dotted Fan-foot at Radley Lakes this afternoon (25/6). The latter is scarce in Oxfordshire according to Waring & Townsend.


Beautiful China-mark

Dotted Fan-foot

[Edit] Striped Lychnis and Twin-barred Knot-horn (Homoeosoma sinuella) - Walter's Ash

Now the nights have warmed up a bit, I've had the trap out a few times in my garden in Walter's Ash, Bucks over the last 10 days.  A couple of interesting things last night.

First was what I believe to be Striped Lychnis, underside of hindwing with only a very feint spot.  This is my 7th record of this species to light.


Also was this pyralid (forewing 11mm), which initially confused me and what I vainly hoped might be female Synaphe punctalis. Thankfully, the VC24 county moth recorders (Martin Albertini and Dave Wilton) both rushed to my rescue and pointed out my error.  This is the Twin-barred Knot-horn (Homoeosoma sinuella), a moth I have seen a few times before, but a new record for my garden.

 Apologies for poor quality photos, taken in pot, did not want to risk it escaping.  

Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash

Crambus pascuella? and ??

 I think I have Crambus pascuella and then maybe Bryotropha terella or Scrobipalpa acuminatella? Can someone confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Are these eyes hairy...?

Another potential Pale-shouldered Brocade last night. Despite getting a reasonable image of the eyes I don't know whether this is considered 'hairy' or not! (I assume we are not talking micro hairs on the eyes as you get in some hoverflies?) The images in Britishlepidoptera were not much help, though it does look rather more like the PSB than Dusky around the eyes. What's more it does seem to have fairly pale shoulders and a fairly pronounced white 'W' in the outer white cross-line.

I await a verdict!!



Wednesday, 23 June 2021

No need for a lure


I had the happy experience of watching a natural pheremone trap yesterday when a Scarlet Tiger flew erratically about over our veg patch before diving into a clump of marguerites in a very disorganised fashion. The reason for his hasty behaviour was just visible inside the plant whose tangles were thickened by a bindweed. In short order the scene illustrated took place.  This was at 5pm.  I went to have a look out of interest at 9.15pm and they were still together.  Stand by for a good season next year.  They are all over the place round here at the moment.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Those so variable Ingrailed Clays!

 I'm attaching two moths that I just can't get to grips with - arrived the other night in a garden near Chesham. Can anyone help with the IDs? I'm particularly intrigued by the 'two tone' appearance of the second one shown and the dark patches near the forewing tips of both. Many thanks.


Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Westcott, Bucks

This period of seven days started well, producing the garden's first 100+ species catch of the year, but then things deteriorated as we reverted to a distinctly chilly, dismal and wet north-easterly and it doesn't look as though we're going to lose that altogether until towards the end of the month.  However, thanks to the batch of dissections carried out recently by Peter Hall, a few more species from earlier in the year have been added to the total (including Stigmella salicis, Parornix anglicella/finitimella/torquillella, Coleophora glaucicolella, Scrobipalpa obsoletella and both Daggers), so the year's garden count has now reached 297.  That species total was achieved on 9th June last year so we're still a couple of weeks behind and overall moth counts generally have remained well below average. 

     (15th)  202 moths of 82 species; Tischeria ekebladella, Tinea semifulvella, Platyptilia gonodactyla, Pandemis cerasana, Agapeta zoegana, Notocelia uddmanniana, Cydia pomonella, Scoparia ambigualis, Riband Wave, Beautiful Hook-tip & Large Yellow Underwing all new for the garden year-list; Currant Clearwing to TIP pheromone lure during the daytime.   
     (16th)  312 moths of 100 species; Paraswammerdamia nebulella, Depressaria radiella, Ditula angustiorana, Archips podana, Agapeta hamana, Spilonota ocellana, Phycitodes maritima, Donacaula mucronella, Sallow Kitten, White Satin & Dark Arches all new for the year; Red-belted Clearwing to MYO pheromone lure during the daytime.
     (17th)  254 moths of 98 species; Narycia duplicella, Argyresthia cupressella, Tortrix viridana, Cochylis hybridella, Hypochalcia ahenella, Eudonia lacustrata, Lackey, Buttoned Snout & Heart and Club all new for the year. 
     (18th)  73 moths of 31 species; Clepsis spectrana the only one new for the year.
     (19th)  113 moths of 52 species; Epinotia abbreviana the only one new for the year.  
     (20th)  112 moths of 55 species; Clepsis consimilana, Barred Yellow, Grass Rivulet & Clouded Brindle all new for the year.
     (21st)  72 moths of  37 species; Crambus perlella the only one new for the year.

Two of the above species are completely new for the site.  There's no reason at all why Donacaula mucronella shouldn't appear at Westcott although it will go to be checked because these large reed-feeding micros can often be quite difficult to separate, varying as they do quite considerably between sex as well as species.  There are only four previous sightings of mucronella in VC24 so this would be quite a good county record, but I do seem to get wetland moths here on a regular basis and there are two decent-sized reed-beds within a radius of just a few miles (Wotton Underwood and Calvert).  However, the other one, Hypochalcia ahenella, presents me with a bit of a problem because I had been trapping in the Chilterns two nights earlier when nine examples of this chalk grassland species came to my lights, although none of them was as plain-looking as the example shown below - in fact it had wrapped its wings up so tightly in the trap that I initially thought it might be a very dark species of grass moth.  Did it somehow follow me home, and if so why didn't it appear in the garden trap the previous night?  I'll have to wrestle with my conscience over that one!   

Donacaula mucronella, Westcott 16th June

Hypochalcia ahenella, Westcott 17th June

The year's third garden example of Brown Silver-line came to light on the 19th.  No problem, you'd think, as this is listed as a common moth and it appears here annually.  However, the larval food-plant is supposed to be bracken and there is none of that at all around here on our heavy clay soil.  I suspect that its caterpillars must feed on other fern species too, quite probably including cultivated varieties. 

Brown Silver-line, Westcott 19th June

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Cydia interscindana

On the night of 19th June the garden trap run by Robin Knill-Jones in Denham, Bucks produced this early and very small example of the smart tortrix Cydia interscindana.  The species is a relatively recent arrival from Europe and was first recorded in Putney, London during September 2016, with Robin having the first for Bucks back in August 2019.  In Europe the moth is known to use Western Prickly Juniper Juniperus oxycedrus as its food-plant but this is apparently rarely imported into the UK.  The site suggests that other Juniper species may be used too, including Juniperus communis which, of course, is found across the Chilterns.   

Cydia interscindana, Denham 19th June

Update:  Robin sends a reminder that this species is known to come to the pheromone lure for Cydia pomonella, available from ALS or even quite a few garden centres.  He suggests putting the lure out at night with your light trap to try and attract the moth which at the moment seems to be limited in range locally to the London area and Thames Valley.    

Monday, 21 June 2021

Scoparia ambigualis

Can someone confirm if this is Scoparia ambigualis? 


Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford. 

Gradual progress

Work commitments have meant I've fallen behind in getting my records done for my garden in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, despite the lack of 'big' nights compared to most years. May was grim, but the last several weeks of June have seen some recovery, and I think the species tally for the year is now well over 100. There have been some nice moths, too: this garden, to which I'm a relative newcomer, is surprisingly good for Small Elephant Hawkmoth, with a catch of thirteen on 16th June. I've had at least one personal lifer, assuming the below is a Shoulder-striped Wainscot; putative Light Brocade and Freyer's Pug are nice records for me, too.

Shoulder-striped Wainscot (?), 14/6/21

Light Brocade (?), 16/6/21

Freyer's Pug (?), 16/6/21.

As could be predicted, a few micros have given me some difficulty, and I'd be grateful for any suggestions: the first two have me entirely stumped, both about 9mm long; the third looks highly familiar, but I just can't track it down in the Bible.

Unknown micro, 16/6/21

Unknown micro 2, 16/6/21

Unknown micro 3, 16/6/21
Steve Goddard

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Swings and Roundabouts

Back on 31st March (mentioned here) I got a very plain-looking Caloptilia in the garden trap alongside an obvious Caloptilia semifascia.  The unidentified example has now been dissected and proved to be Caloptilia falconipennella which is new for the site.  This is an alder-feeding species and hopefully has taken up residence on the tree planted in our garden several years ago (there is otherwise little alder in the local area).  It has become garden moth species number 1,021.  

Caloptilia falconipennella, Westcott 31st March

While on the subject of post-hibernation Gracillariids, on 24th March I got another Caloptilia which I couldn't place with certainty so this one had also been saved for dissection.  It proved to be a spotty example of Caloptilia elongella, another alder-feeding species which hasn't been recorded in the garden since 2006.

Caloptilia elongella, Westcott 24th March
On 27th May I thought I'd caught a Pammene species in the trap which would also have been new for the site (mentioned here), however after dissection this proved to be a rather well-marked example of Epinotia immundana.  I don't think I've seen one with such a bright dorsal blotch previously, but there are other clues (the shape of the palps in particular) which should should have indicated to me that this was Epinotia and not Pammene.  Oh well! 

Epinotia immundana, Westcott 27th May

Grateful thanks as usual go to Peter Hall for doing the necessary microscopic work.

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks