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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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

 

 

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…

 

50 not out

A few more early stage searches over the weekend, around home and Barham Downs/Higham Park, has brought my year list to 50 species, my quickest half century ever. And I still haven’t recorded a few January ‘bankers’ yet either…

The quest has certainly been assisted by the mild winter thus far, as many deciduous trees are hanging on to some leaves. I found healthy leaves on Alder, Hazel and Elm all with various mines present.

It’s not just mines though; other early stages also well represented: it’s worth checking inside Teasel and Burdock seed heads for example.

Another from the case files

The mobile larval cases of Coleophora argentula seem to be quite plentiful this year.

Although a bit like a needle in a haystack at first, it’s worth having a close look at any Yarrow seed heads; once you get your eye in, they can be quite easy to spot. They can sometimes be found on the stems, in which case (no pun intended) they are much easier to find.

Get on the case

There are still quite a few early stages to be found, including various Coleophorid larval cases.  The bonus is that with many of these, the combination of food plant and case structure allow you to confirm these species, and all without recourse to the most cruel cut of all…

I found the following species this weekend, at various sites across East Kent.  The larval feeding signs are often quite obvious and betray the presence of the case-bearing larva below.

Coleophora lineolea on Stachys

Coleophora solitariella on Stellaria

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Coleophora albitarsella on Glechoma

Coleophora gryphipennella on Rosa