Purple patch part 1

The adults of several of the Eriocraniidae can be seen by day from about now onwards. Despite being beautiful moths, critical examination is needed to separate many to species level.

The mines of these early flyers will start to appear in April, predominantly on Birch and they can be locally quite abundant.  Tenanted mines can, with care, be identified to species level, but good images are likely to be required by your CMR.

This Eriocrania unimaculella emerged yesterday, reared from a mine collected last April.


Latest sightings:SBBO 5/3

A few early stages found by Dave Shenton and Leonard Cooper around Sandwich Bay ahead of Saturday’s meeting:
Exoteleia dodecella mine on Pinus
Coleophora alticolella/glaucicolella case on Rush
Stigmella aurella mines on bramble
Epiphyas postvittana larva in spinning on Privet
Bucculatrix nigricomella mine on Ox-eye Daisy
Phyllonorycter leucographella mine on Pyracantha



Flightless female

It is a good time of year to keep an eye out for the fascinating species whose females have evolved to become flightless.  A good place to look is in woodland, by torchlight, on tree trunks.

I had this female Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) emerge on 21.ii.2016, having reared it through from a larva found on Blackthorn.

New!!!! A National “Micro-moth” Recording Scheme

This is fantastic news…

Text taken from post by Les Hill (BC)
Probably the single biggest and arguably most important announcement from the National Moth Recorders’ Meeting at Birmingham…
From 1st April, the National Moth Recording Scheme will start to accept micro-moth records for the first time! Micro-moth records however, will go through a more thorough verification process than macro-moths in order for it to work. Every species and commonly-recorded life stage has been allocated a grade similar to the grades on our website and many other moth group websites. All records within reason will be verified according to these criteria – by the way, these national grades and recording criteria have been designed by many acknowledged taxa experts, people with a vast amount of experience and who KNOW what they are talking about. However, there will be instances where local grades and rulesets may overrule the national guidelines.
There will be three possible levels of verification: Firstly, the County Moth Recorder (CMR). If for any reason the CMR is unable to verify a species’ record, it will be passed to a Regional Verification Panel (RVP) of experts in order to help the CMR make an informed decision. If for any reason the RVP are unable to verify that record, it will be referred to a National Verification Panel (NVP) of experts for a final decision. The NVP will also have access to the full dataset in the National Moth Recording Scheme for final verification checks as they see fit. In all instances, the CMRs, or Verification Panel’s decision will be final. There will be feedback to recorders throughout the verification process.
There will be a minority of people who will disagree that such panels should exist (or CMRs for that matter) seeing them merely as just layers of bureaucracy which is their right to hold that view; however, moth recording, apart from as we know being a fantastic hobby, must be taken seriously and data verification is an essential process – after all, we are contributing to science. The data we provide to the national schemes must be robust as our data are used to make informed government policy and conservation decisions.
I suspect for most recorders it will be business as usual and it will all happen quite seamlessly. The only difference is the data generated will go further than just county datasets.

The eyes have it

Four species of adult moth yesterday evening and overnight, two to the trap and two found by torchlight just after dark.

The two found dusking – Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula) and Early Moth (Theria primaria) – were betrayed by the reflection of my torchlight in their eyes, hence the title of the post.  Well worth giving this a try.

The garden trap yielded Chestnut (Conistra vacinnii) and a year first Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica).

One to watch out for

Clepsis dumicolana

This Tortrix was new to the UK in May 2014 on Ivy at the Royal Brompton Hospital, Chelsea. Since then it has been found in Acton (http://www.natureguides.com/blog/2015/6/4/clepsis) and the Home Counties. It is known to spread quite quickly and given that the larval food plant is pretty ubiquitous, it is certainly worth keeping an eye out for.

Details of its life cycle can be found in this paper:

Click to access Phegea36-4_127-130.pdf

Wine or beer: a moth’s preferred tipple?

Alternative trapping methods

This article makes for interesting reading for anyone who already uses these alternative methods for recording moths or may serve as the catalyst for those considering trying this in the future.

Comparing wine-based and beer-based baits for moth trapping: a field experiment


Click to access ET2008%20sid129_134.pdf

Confirmed new to VC15: Lyonetia prunifoliella

Although the species was not in doubt, I wasnt 100% sure of the historic status of Lyonetia prunifoliella in Kent.

I found a single mine of this species in 2015 and managed to rear to through to adulthood, with the male emerging on 16th September.

John Langmaid is now aware of this record and has confirmed that it is indeed new to East Kent (I think it’s the first for Kent as a whole).  Full details will be submitted to John for inclusion in the micro moth review of 2015.

The rather sad footnote to this discovery is that the site is under threat as earmarked for development…