Welcome to my world..............

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Looking back again

Looking back through many photos including the 'reject' file adds another moth species and also an intriguing leaf-mine.  While checking out photos from Pilmoor from a day visit on 3 June 2015, the adult moth was one I had completely overlooked before and was a distinctive species among a group of others.
1.003 Micropterix aureatella (the one at the top), among Micropterix calthella, Pilmoor, 3 Jun 2015
The next is a leaf-mine of birch which looks like another Eriocrania salopiella, untenanted and like the other very early June.  This suffers the same fate of my earlier claim and although highly likely (and acceptable to John Langmaid no less) I must find one in mid-May to get it accepted for VC62....
probable Eriocrania salopiella, Pilmoor, 3 Jun 2015

Monday, 8 January 2018

A couple more new ones....

Only eight days into 2018 and two more species identified from photographs of mines in retrospect.  The top one was in a rejected file of Shieldbugs but on closer scrutiny there is a mine of Heliozela sericiella which starts off in the twig, burrows out along the mid-rib before cutting an oval hole close to the mid-rib and dropping to the floor to pupate.  The photo taken at Pilmoor 17 Oct 2010 is out of focus (even the target shieldbug!) but I have added it to the site due to its rarity, probably the first VC62 record since 1984 and only the 3rd VC record.  Record accepted by the CMR.
Heliozela sericiella
The next is a mine/blotch in Rowan, made by a Stigmella sorbi, taken (from memory) near Miley Pike east of Osmotherley (VC62) on the confirmed date of 14 Jun 2011. 
Stigmella sorbi
Again, this reinforces the usefulness of keeping all photos on file with dates and locations and having a look through them at a later date just checking them thoroughly for anything that may have been missed.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

A look back at 2017

After four annual totals of new 'lifer' moths ranging between none (2014) and a heady nine (2015) including two identified retrospectively, this year has been quite remarkable.  I managed 35 lifers in 2017 and a further two aggs. any of which would be new; and a further eight species which were new for me in Yorkshire having seen them elsewhere. Much of this big increase in species can be put down to a 'purple-patch' week in late May/early June when a great selection of moths were trapped and then to a concentrated effort in looking for and identifying leaf-mines at the tail end of this year.  

My 'lifers' were as follows:

Code Taxon Vernacular Records
 Stigmella alnetella/glutinosae Stigmella alnetella/glutinosae ag. 1
 Stigmella anomalella/centifoliella/spinosissimae Stigmella species agg. (on Rose) 1
4.007  Stigmella luteella a moth 1
4.015  Stigmella anomalella Rose Leaf Miner 1
4.030  Stigmella hybnerella a moth 1
4.035  Stigmella salicis a moth 2
4.038  Stigmella obliquella a moth 1
4.078  Ectoedemia septembrella a moth 1
4.089  Ectoedemia albifasciella a moth 1
4.090  Ectoedemia subbimaculella a moth 3
4.097  Ectoedemia rubivora a moth 3
4.099  Ectoedemia occultella a moth 1
4.100  Ectoedemia minimella a moth 1
8.005  Phylloporia bistrigella a moth 1
10.003  Coptotriche marginea a moth 4
15.014  Gracillaria syringella a moth 1
15.022  Callisto denticulella a moth 1
15.039  Phyllonorycter quercifoliella a moth 1
15.040  Phyllonorycter messaniella a moth 1
15.043  Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae a moth 1
15.049  Phyllonorycter spinicolella a moth 1
15.053  Phyllonorycter leucographella Firethorn Leaf Miner 4
15.083  Phyllonorycter trifasciella a moth 1
35.109  Scrobipalpa acuminatella a moth 1
35.123  Scrobipalpa costella a moth 1
35.148  Carpatolechia fugitivella a moth 1
39.002  Blastodacna atra Apple Pith Moth 1
40.009  Mompha sturnipennella a moth 1
49.206  Ancylis upupana a moth 2
49.238  Epinotia cruciana Willow Tortrix 1
49.252  Epinotia tedella a moth 1
49.307  Rhyacionia pinivorana Spotted Shoot Moth 1
49.372  Pammene populana a moth 1
49.375  Pammene regiana a moth 1
70.068  Mesoleuca albicillata Beautiful Carpet 1
70.181  Eupithecia valerianata Valerian Pug 1
73.179  Tiliacea citrago Orange Sallow 1
Of these the Apple Pith Moth looked a good candidate but probably not be acceptable from just a photo, and the Mompha sturnipennella was a dreadful phone photo, identified by Phil Sterling no less but may not pass muster, and the Pammene populana was gen.detted but not found to be conclusive as this or any other species...., so may have to rub these out!

possible Apple Pith Moth

Pammene populana? still to be determined...
One surprise was a moth found under the security lights at work in Roecliffe: over 60 species have been identified at the site on my walks around the building.  I noticed a very orange moth high up on the wall near one of the lights; after finding a ladder and potting it I was pleased to identify it as an Orange Sallow.  The photo taken with my phone hence the less than ideal image but at least not a record likely to be controversial.

Orange Sallow
Most of the leaf-mine moths are covered in earlier posts this autumn but did include a retrospective couple of firsts for VC62 proving the value of keeping photos on file. This form of recording has proved very fruitful and poses a challenge to continue this in 2018.  Two for the price of one in the following photo from my 2010 files....
14.010 Bucculatrix ulmella (left), 10.001 Tischeria ekebladella (right), Pilmoor,  17 Oct 2010

As for moths recorded elsewhere, mainly Dorset, but recorded as new in Yorkshire were:

CodeTaxonVernacular Records
45.044 Emmelina monodactyla Common Plume 5
49.069 Acleris sparsana a moth 1
49.248 Epinotia tenerana Nut Bud Moth 2
63.006 Pyrausta aurata a moth 1
66.007 Lasiocampa quercus f. callunae Northern Eggar 1
70.024 Scopula imitaria Small Blood-vein 2
72.069 Laspeyria flexula Beautiful Hook-tip 2
72.084 Euclidia mi Mother Shipton 1

Of these, inexplicably, Common Plume was recorded for the first time although to be fair I do not recall catching many plumes at all.  The callunae form of Oak Eggar, the Northern Eggar, was from the North York Moors where it is the more common form.  Two southern species recently arrived to Yorkshire were the Small Blood-vein and Beautiful Hook-tip.  Mother Shipton is a fairly uncommon grassland species and Pyrausta aurata was obviously looking for mint in Morrisons car-park and good to catch up with both in Yorkshire.
Small Blood-vein, another phone-photoed moth attracted to the works security lights
I am already looking forward to recording moths next year and hope for a few more 'purple patch' trapping events and targeted leaf-mine seeking, so here is to a fruitful New Year.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

More leaf-mines...

My new-found interest in peering at leaves for larval feeding/pupating evidence has raised some good-hearted and playful derision from some....

I can take it..... especially when I keep adding new species to my list, some from photos as far back as 2010 which have sat in the 'to be identified' file until now.  The two below are from this file.

The first is obviously an Eriocrania species and I identified it from the following points:

1/  The mine is on Birch.
2/  The mine starts towards the middle of the leaf and broadens out to the leaf margin.
3/   Long strands of frass.
4/  The mine is untenanted.
5/  The data of the vacated mine is early June.

This first three points combined would make it either Eriocrania salopiella or E. sparrmannella, and the last two points suggest it is the earlier of the two species, salopiella which mines May to early June, rather than sparrmannella which mines June to July.  Both are scarce moths, indeed salopiella has a handful of VC63 records and no recent ones in VC62 and 64.  Charlie Fletcher the CMR has commented "The earliest sparrmannella mine we have on the database is 18th June so I agree this is likely to be salopiella, however I think spring was early in 2012 so it's difficult to be certain.".  I think I am going to have to find one with a larva in it....
2.005 Eriocrania salopiella on Birch, Pilmoor, 4 Jun 2012
The next was almost overlooked as I was concentrating on the large blotch to the right which is Tischeria ekebladella while the small mine to the left of the mid-rib is Bucculatrix ulmella, taken at Pilmoor,  17 Oct 2010.
14.010 Bucculatrix ulmella (left), 10.001 Tischeria ekebladella (right), Pilmoor,  17 Oct 2010
Moving away from lepidoptera another photo from the 4th June 2012 showed a birch leaf tightly rolled longitudinally which after a bit of investigation is likely to be the weevil known as the Birch Leaf Roller Deporaus betulae.
Birch Leaf Roller Deporaus betulae
Still two weeks of potential searching time left in 2017 whether it be on the few remaining leaves outside or scouring old photos for new moths!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

They keep coming....

Apologies to anyone who prefers them with wings on but this leaf-mining is rather addictive.  The first new one of this batch is a retrospective identification and acceptance as probably new to VC62: this is Acrolepia autumnitella on Bittersweet or Nightshade at Pilmoor back in 2015 on 9 October.  It shows the value of keeping photos on file and later attempts at identification.
Acrolepia autumnitella
Another retrospective identification but of not so long ago was the highly distinctive mine of Coptotriche marginea on Bramble at Aldwark Wood a week ago, the mine resembling a wet white discarded feather.

Coptotriche marginea
Back to the present and another visit to Pilmoor on Saturday 25 November with focus on fallen leaves from the Aspen trees looking for signs of 4.085 Ectoedemia argyropeza which unfortunately was not forthcoming.  I did however manage several other new ones including Ectoedemia rubivora as new for site and away from the Ripon stronghold and rare in VC62.
Ectoedemia rubivora on Bramble
Other new ones for me were what I believe to be Stigmella luteela on Birch, Stigmella salicis on Sallow and Ectoedemia minimella on Birch.  Of course I stand to be corrected!
Stigmella luteela

Stigmella salicis

Ectoedemia minimella

Monday, 20 November 2017

Ticking leaves again....

Having attended a Dragonfly meeting locally hosted by Steve Cham in the Spring I was struck by a comment he made after someone mentioned the dragonfly 'season' was just starting.  He said that there was no such thing as 'season' and that what the commenter was referring to was part of the life-cycle when the dragonflies were on the wing; of course they were present 365 days of the year but in a different part of their life-cycle.  This is true for all resident species including moths and recently I have tried to put this into practice with the help of the excellent publication 'Micro-moth Field Tips: A Guide to Finding the Early Stages in Lancashire and Cheshire' published by Ben Smart.

Checking the beech trees at Allerton Park was a good starting point with two similar Stigmella species were soon found.  The first is the very common Stigmella tityrella where the egg is laid on the mid-rib and the larva develops tunneling between two veins with abrupt changes of direction.  This is shown again in an older photo (no 2) and of the other similar species Stigmella hemargyrella (no 3) where the egg is laid elsewhere on the leaf (in this case near the outer edge) before tunneling between veins.
Stigmella tityrella on Beech

Stigmella tityrella on Beech

Stigmella hemargyrella on Beech
I have found those larval signs on Oak to be rather difficult and many remain unidentified but this one is fairly straightforward: Ectoedemia subbimaculella a blotch so positioned with a slit on the underside and often a 'green' island.
Ectoedemia subbimaculella on Oak, Hood Hill Kilburn, 4 Nov 2017
The next are Phyllonorycter messaniella found on an isolated Holm Oak, near the Upper Dunsforth reserve on 12 Nov 2017.
Phyllonorycter messaniella on Holm Oak
Checking some of the hawthorn hedges at Allerton Park produced a Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae on 12 Nov 2017.
Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae on Hawthorn
While waiting for a truck to be fixed in Billingham on Teesside I checked out the Pyracantha hedgeline bushes nearby and soon found many mines of Phyllonorycter leucographella also known as the Firethorn Leaf Miner.  The next Pyracantha bushes I checked successfully were in a railway station carpark in Coventry, so in order to get a Yorkshire record I checked the bushes in the Health Centre carpark in Boroughbridge and sure enough found some on 11 November.

Phyllonorycter leucographella on Pyracantha
A speculative search of brambles at Weather Hills Pond near Westwick between Boroughbridge and Ripon produced mines of the target moth species Ectoedemia rubivora which is a Nb scarcity, rare in Yorkshire except around Ripon.  The mines start off as a very contorted mine which widens out into a blotch.
Ectoedemia rubivora on Bramble

Ectoedemia rubivora on Bramble
Perhaps one of the best finds was a diptera mine on Snowberry at Upper Dunsforth which I have just had confirmed as Aulagromyza luteoscutellata by the Recorder of the National Agromyzidae Recording Scheme who just happens to live locally.  He still has to check his records but this could be the first record for VC64, having only being first recorded in the UK in 2007.  I was perusing a Leaf-miners newsletter and chanced upon an article detailing Aulagromyza luteoscutellata as new to Yorkshire and was struck by the similarity of the mines to those in my file of those as yet to be identified.
Aulagromyza luteoscutellata on Snowberry

Aulagromyza luteoscutellata on Snowberry
Still so much to learn but at least I have made a start and look forward to finding a few more species over the next few months.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

National Moth Night, Saturday 14 Oct 2017, Pilmoor VC62

For the first time in a couple of months reasonable weather coincided with a rare day off and it just happened to be night three of National Moth Night....  With ivy being the theme this year I chose to set up traps by the old house at the end of the track at Pilmoor, although with renovation taking place a lot of the ivy has just been cut down.  I set up the traps in the area and made periodic checks on the ivy but I think that moths were more interested in the lamps.  The mild conditions were welcome and the wind was calm while the cloud cover lasted but picked up a little around midnight when the cloud cleared.  Certainly calmer than the wind expected from storm Ophelia in the next day or two.  A few new for the year and the Dark Sword-grass was my first in VC62, indeed only my second Yorkshire one.  The Epiritta moths came in a bewildering array of sizes and markings and I lacked the zeal to collect any on this occasion to gen.det..

  Epirrita species (Epirrita sp.) 73
49.071  a moth (Acleris emargana) 2
49.080  a moth (Acleris hastiana 1
70.095  Red-Green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata 3
70.244  Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria) 2
70.256  Mottled Umber (Erannis defoliaria) 2
73.134  Large Wainscot (Rhizedra lutosa) 1
73.182  Sallow (Cirrhia icteritia) 2
73.186  Beaded Chestnut (Agrochola lychnidis) 1
73.189  Red-line Quaker (Agrochola lota) 3
73.192  Brick (Agrochola circellaris) 1
73.194  Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii 41
73.195  Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula) 1
73.202  Grey Shoulder-knot (Lithophane ornitopus) 1
73.210  Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 12
73.224  Merveille du Jour (Griposia aprilina 2
73.225  Brindled Green (Dryobotodes eremita) 5
73.291  Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens 1
73.327  Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon 1
73.359  Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) 1
Feathered Thorn

Beaded Chestnut



Grey Shoulder-knot

Merveille du Jour

Dark Sword-grass

Setaceous Hebrew Character