Monday, 25 July 2011

Svensson rears his head

After Saturdays poor showing, the weather was a little more 'mothy' with much less wind, but still clear skies so numbers were improved but not amazing. There was a much better showing of the micros, which are usually the first to vanish as soon as the wind gets too strong. A couple of these were new for the year and this one was new for me - Bryotropha senectella.

One of the highlights was another of this plume that's causing me a spot of bovver at the mo! It was a different individual (the one from Saturday is still sitting in its pot in the fridge) but it's a difficult moth to photograph due to it's sitting position. I'm still waiting on a definitive answer between Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla and S. milleridactyla....EDIT: This is S. milleridactyla

However, the real headscratcher came when I turned over one of the eggboxes to reveal a Copper Underwing. This moth comes as two species, which are extremely similar and very tricky to separate. Last year I lost my patience with trying to separate them and put them down as Copper Underwing (agg). However, after reading some guidance on the matter over the winter, some clever chappie came up with a feature using the palp colour. In Common Copper Underwing the palps are pale brown, whereas in Svensson's Copper Underwing they are dark chocolate brown with an obvious white tip. So began my attempt at trying to photograph my moth head on, trying to zoom in on its mouthparts!! The results are below and I'm pretty confident that this one is Svensson's Copper, which I'm chuffed about pinning down! (EDIT: Just read a post on Essex Moths that the palp theory isn't 100% reliable, but when used in combination with hindwing colour and inner cross-line projection, I'm still confident that mine is Svensson's!)

Other goodies from last night included the first this year of an amazing little micro - Carcina quercana (not easy to say after 4 pints of best!). This moth is a true riot of colour, and if it was more than the size of a 5 pence coin it would be the dream of all moth-ers, I'm sure! It gets it tongue twister of a name after the Greek for crab (which it sort of resembles, particularly when viewed from underneath) and its larva tend to prefer oak trees.

Another cracking micro that is pretty tricky to get wrong is Catoptria pinella. I've caught 4 in total this year with two turning up last night. I also got my second Small Dotted Buff, a better marked individual than my garden first a few nights ago. This Cherry Fruit Moth is the first for my garden after catching one last year elsewhere. Finally, one moth that needs a mention even though it's fairly common and very pretty is this Clouded Border. Nice!

Catch report for Sunday 24th July - 68 moths of 38 species (19 micros; 19 macros)
Agriphila straminella x 2
Agriphila tristella x 4
Agriphila/Crambus sp?
Blastodacna hellerella
Brachmia blandella
Brown House-Moth
Bryotropha senectella
Carcina quercana
Catoptria pinella x 2
Celypha striana
Cherry-fruit Moth
Chrysoteuchia culmella
Clay x 2
Clouded Border
Common Rustic agg x 4
Common White Wave
Crambus pascuella
Dark Arches
Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix
Dipleurina lacustrata x 6
Double Square-spot
Eudonia mercurella x 7
Heart and Dart x 3
Large Yellow Underwing
Marbled Beauty x 4
Red-barred Tortrix
Scalloped Oak
Scoparia ambigualis x 2
Shuttle-shaped Dart x 2
Single-dotted Wave x 2
Small Dotted Buff
Smoky Wainscot
Stenoptilia milleridactyla
Svensson's Copper Underwing
Udea prunalis
Uncertain x 3

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