Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Juniper Carpet - New for VC35 on Friday 13th October.

Friday the 13th proved to be a lucky Moth Night for me in Blackwood, as I checked the trap at about 6:00AM I noticed what looked like an interesting Geometrid on the shed by the trap (first thoughts were - great my first Cypress Carpet). So I immediately potted the moth and popped in the fridge for further checking once the light had improved.
Well - when I checked the moth it definitely wasn't a Cypress Carpet, and the best match that I could find in the Waring Guide was Juniper Carpet, which is quite rare in South Wales. So having photographed the moth and emailed Martin Anthony, he confirmed that it was indeed a Juniper Carpet, and a first record for VC35!

Monday, 16 October 2017

12th October

Abundant Argyropeza on Aspen

Along with Sam's quest to look for Poplar mines I've managed to come up a few more sites for the newly found Stigmella trimacullela in the county and two more sites for Phyllocnistis unipunctella.

Further investigations to the south around the Rogiet area have proved to be fruitful for a difficult to find micro Ectoedemia argyropeza. I've already found two other potential spots for Ectoedemia argyropeza which feeds on Aspen which comes under the Poplar family, but these sites have drawn a blank. It ties in with Sam's efforts at finding evidence of this moth which again have not been forthcoming.
This time though today I was finally rewarded highly for my efforts.

Its a bit difficult to spot exactly what tree you are looking at from a distance but I find you can gradually get to know the taller Poplar but Aspen is some what more difficult but can be mastered after a several attempts.
Aspen itself is a bit of an odd tree where one tree can support several others in the form of Ramets or suckers. These are formed from an potential extensive underground root system which can travel some distance from the parent tree. New trees can shoot up from this system eventually forming small groves with each tree of the same sex, male or female only.

There was such a small group of Aspen here, if fact two I believe although its possible they could have been connected. A awkward passage to get to them to check leaves was ultimately very rewarding especially the first batch where I readily collected 41 leaves (39 on show on the cloth photograph). There were 15 on the other section of trees but I'm sure there were plenty more.
It proves if conditions are right the moth can flourish left undisturbed. 



National Moth Nights at Dingestow

Moth Night 2017 was a good one at Dingestow, in contrast to some previous National Monsoon Nights.  Winds were southerly, with warm conditions and little rain.  Ivy produced 11 species on 12/10 and 10 species on 13/10, with Pale-mottled Willow, Brick, Dark Chestnut, Flounced Chestnut and Satellite all appearing on the Ivy flowers but not in my MV traps.

MV catches of 26 species on 13/10 and 27 species on 14/10 were really good for this time of year.  A Shoulder-striped Wainscot was the surprise highlight of 13/10 (I wish it had be an L-album), along with a couple of Grey Shoulder-knot, a Mompha divisella and Dingestow's 5th Large Wainscot.  A long-awaited first Dingestow record of Four-spotted Footman was star of 14/10, along with an extraordinary 4 Large Wainscots (we have no Phragmites anywhere nearby), my 5th record of Orange Sallow, and a couple of November Moth agg.  A total of 44 moth species at Dingestow on the 3 nights of National Moth Night was much better than expected!





Thursday, 12 October 2017

Cardiff City mining

The easternmost part of the Cardiff Unitary Authority is in VC35 (Monmouthshire), although not the old Gwent.  I treat it as part of my VC35 patch!  A lunchbreak wander around St Mellons from the NRW office produced a good range of miners, including several of interest.  Highlights among >20 species were Phyllocnistis unipunctella and Stigmella trimaculella on Poplar, Phyllonorycter esperella on Hornbeam, and Stigmella glutinosae on Italian Alder.  The Phyllocnistis and Phyllonorycter only had Dingestow/Monmouth records, S. trimaculella was found new for the county this year, and S. glutinosae has only one previous county record.  That sole record of S. glutinosae came from Allt-yr-yn (ST28Z) in Newport, which is the only site in south-westernmost VC35 with a decent leafminers list, thanks to a visit by Dave Slade in 2003.  Welfare Park in Rogerstone also has a few Stig/Phyllo records, but there is huge scope for finding notable Micros in this part of the county.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

19th September- late post

Highmoor Hill- yet another new micro for V35.

I've been meaning to put this post up for some time, so here it is.
It was a reasonably rewarding evening trap at Highmoor Hill with 37 moths of 18 species turning up, mostly with a common status tag.
A couple of micro's were localised however.
One of them especially, looked decidedly battered and faded under the actinic light and I paused to think about it.
A few more moments passed before I collected it anyway put it in a pot and set it to one side until I decided to pack up later.

Upon packing up I went through what had turned up and again came to this battered faded moth in upright posture a type of Gracillariidae.
I placed a torchlight across it and then began to see markings and colours along its flank. I then realised that it wasn't in bad condition at all, quite the opposite.

Caloptilia populetorum (Clouded Slender)

The next day's photoshoot saw this moth in completely different light. It took me a while to decide on which species it was whilst looking at my moth book and indeed online but I felt I could assign the moth's name under Caloptila populetorum before sending it off to Sam to have a look at. I was pleased, for it was another potentially new moth for me and as is often the case I'm unaware of the county status of many moths.
Sam returned my mail to report it as indeed Caloptilia populetorum to my surprise and yet another new micro for the Vice County.
The list is growing for micro's in V35 and in a recent correspondence Sam informs me that the past two years have been very productive "outstanding years". As years progress additions now to the vice county list are much harder to find.

The moth prefers Birch which is reasonable widespread in the county so why have we not seen it before?
I can think of three things why maybe this moth hadn't been seen...
  • It may have just been ignored because not too many people record micro's in the county
  • Moth trappers (me temporarily included) felt that it was poorly marked and did not consider it further investigation
  • It may be reluctant to come to light/ only receptive to certain light spectrums 


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

An extraordinary coincidence

Dave Brooks, who records moths in Caerleon, recently sent me photos of two interesting Micros he caught this week.  One was an extraordinary coincidence: Dave caught an unfamiliar Pyralid on 8th October 2017 which a friend IDed as the very rare Etiella zinckenella.  The coincidence is that the only previous Welsh/Gwent record was from almost exactly 4 years to the day before Dave's record: Nick Felstead caught one in Chepstow on 7th October 2013.

Dave's other Pyralid, caught the night before (7th October 2017) was the strikingly-marked Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis.  This Asian moth was first seen in Britain in 2007 and has increased rapidly in SE England, becoming a pest of Box in some areas.  Its arrival in Gwent has been anticipated for a couple of years, but it is still a notable new species for the county.  There has been a previous record from Glamorgan, but Dave's is probably the second for Wales.

Well done and thankyou Dave!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

6th October

Virginal pigmy

A return visit to a isolated wood this year proved to be good timing on my part.
I chanced upon Great Wenault Wood last year and uncovered Ectoedemia argyropeza in the most unlikely of situations.

 Ectoedemia argyropeza (Virgin Pigmy)
The four leaves here all contained larvae.

You would not believe that Populus tremula (Aspen) would be in this wood at all given the amount of  non-deciduous trees. I looked last year and again this year, but finding the tree itself is near impossible for it must be high in the canopy fighting for light. It seems quite incredible this one isolated tree harbours an important moth, but there it is.....somewhere?

Larvae aligning the central vein

Last year I took photographs of the leaves themselves showing the characteristic 'green islands' but not the larvae itself.
This year I decided to get some close-ups, with hope that the larvae may be present, which proved ultimately fruitful. I actually found 7 leaves with 4 larvae present plus 3 vacated mines.
There must be more trees about here somewhere surely but actually finding the trees will prove difficult indeed if this one is anything to go on. Hopefully I can scour thoroughly and turn up another this week, fingers crossed.