Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Stigmella myrtilella - a very elusive miner


I have been half-heartedly searching for mines of Stigmella myrtilella on Bilberry for years, but never found any.  Then someone posted a photo of one Twitter with a comment along the lines of "I searched 1000 plants today and finally found a mine".  During a day's fieldwork NVC mapping the edge of Waun Afon today, I scanned across loads of patches of Bilberry without seeing any mines.  Eventually I thought some additional shelter from Molinia plants might provide suitable conditions, so I checked the first such patch and found a mine immediately.  Despite a lot more checking I failed to see another - these are clearly exceedingly elusive moths!  There is one previous county record: from Cleddon Bog in 1973.

2 comments:

  1. That`s really interesting Sam, as I went looking for this very species this week at a bilberry-rich oak `cwm`, but failed to find any.
    I often wonder how much effort people put in to search for mines of `species x` and whether I`m too cursory at times. In an odd way, it`s good to know that this particular species is a blighter to find!

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  2. Great find. It's not recorded from Glamorgan but must be out there somewhere...

    Andrew Graham notes on his North Wales website that it often requires a bit of searching to find, and is more likely in woodland than open moorland.

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