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

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.