Moths in unusual places: Dahlica triquetrella

Amongst several hundred Luffia ferchaultella cases, I found several Dahlica sp. cases on an old concrete wall at Barham Tennis Club, 8.iv.2016.

One of these had recently emerged and although the female was no longer present, the exuviae was still protruding from the case. This is essential if you want to ID these, as characteristics of the exuviae, and in particular the head plate need to be closely examined. Under the microscope this one turned out to be Dahlica triquetrella.

From the database, it looks like only the second occurrence of this species in VC15, previously recorded as cases and adults at a site in Faversham in 1996.

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It’s what’s inside that matters #5

More in the series highlighting early stages to be found inside plant structures,this time it’s the turn of Lampronia fuscatella.

 

The larvae feed within small branches on Birch creating a gall at a node. Active galls will have an obvious pile of reddish frass outside. These are easiest to spot before the leaves have opened.

I collected some of these and they have now pupated.

 

 

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.

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

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…

 

No light highlights #2

Plenty more highlights from 2015 that were recorded without the aid of a light trap, just from good old fashioned field craft.

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Lyonetia prunifoliella: ex mine on Blackthorn, Aylesham

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Metzneria aestivella: reared ex larva on Carline Thistle, Fowlmead CP

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Cedestis subfasciella: ex mine on Pinus, adult reared, Telegraph Farm, Tilmanstone

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Paracrania chrysolepidella: reared ex mine on Hazel, Aylesham