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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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

 

 

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.

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

When looking back at the highlights from each year, yes, there are plenty moths of note for the trap, be it mobile or in the garden. However, I am always struck by how many of my highlights are from methods other than the light trap: this includes pheromone lures, dusking, daytime searches, larvae, pupae and of course mines with a fair bit of rearing thrown in too.

So, hopefully these highlights will help to encourage those who haven’t done so already, to consider life ‘beyond the moth trap’…

Welcome the Plume(d) troop

With apologies to The Bard himself…

Three species of Plume moth have turned up in the garden over the last couple of days, again testament to the mild run of weather so far this winter.

Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla) and Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla) turned up at the kitchen window and Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla) was on the garden hedge.