Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rosemary Beetle

Found a single specimen of this stunning beetle while pruning our Lavender today, the first time I've seen it in our Llandaff North garden.

Chrysolina americana

As the scientific name suggests it's a non native, first recorded in the UK in Surrey in 1994. It has since spread to South Wales - worth looking out for on Rosemary and Lavender. You can submit records on the RHS website at:

There's a distribution map on the website too.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Acrolepia autumnitella

Larva feeding in mine 10Sep12

Pupated in net cocoon 14Sep12 

Adult emerged 29Sep12
Following Barry's post at the beginning of the month I went and found one, which hatched out this morning.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Not a bad night catch last night considering the temperature.  14 species in total, the highlight being this September Thorn (at least I think it is a Sept Thorn!) following Barry's record a week or so ago.  It's new for the garden, and for ST06.

Other highlights include Feathered Ranunculus, Diamond-back moth, Pink-barred Sallow, L-album Wainscot and more C molliculana.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

July moths - Llandaff North

Given the weather's been largely unsuitable for trapping of late, I've taken the opportunity to catch up with a few dissections from the summer. Most have turned out to be fairly humdrum species, but the two I dissected last night, from 25th July, were species new for the Cardiff area: Monochroa cytisella and Coleophora tamesis.

M cytisella is a bracken feeder so not entirely unexpected, given there's bracken on the Taff riverbank 500 yards from the garden, and I get the odd Brown Silver-line. But C tamesis feeds on Jointed Rush, which I've never seen in Cardiff though it may occur at Forest Farm or somewhere similar, or maybe it was a wanderer from further afield.

In addition to the above, a third specimen from the same night turned out to be Ocnerostoma friesei, new for ST17.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Lean Night, at Cwmbach

I ran my garden actinic, last night, for the Garden Moth Scheme and although the minimum temperature was 6.30 C, I had only six moths of five species, which is pretty poor for this time of year, I have to say. As they were so few in number, they were all highlights and were:

Common Marbled Carpet x 1
Large Yellow Underwing x 1
Lunar Underwing x 2
Pink-barred Sallow x 1
Rosy Rustic x 1

I haven't entered them onto the GMS yet, so I don't know how many of them are GMS species.

Gorseinon & WWT

A few new spp for the autumn last night, some interesting comparisons between our urban Gorseinon garden trap and a more countryfied one we set at WWT Llanelli :

Gors WWT
Light Brown Apple Moth 2 1
Garden Rose Tortrix 1 -
Bactra lancealana/lacteana - 1
Brimstone Moth - 4
Light Emerald - 2
Large Yellow Underwing 3 2
Lesser Yellow Underwing 4 2
Setaceous Hebrew Character 2 -
Square-spot Rustic 5 1
Black Rustic 1 -
Blair's Shoulder-knot 1 -
Green-brindled Crescent - 1
Large Ranunculus 2 -
Pink-barred Sallow - 7
Sallow - 12
Angle Shades 1 6
Rosy Rustic - 1
Frosted Orange - 1
Gold Spot - 1
Silver Y - 2
Snout - 1



Count 22 45

Friday, 21 September 2012

Query for Adam

My gear has now arrived and I need to ask you a couple of electrical questions. Can you email or text me your phone number and when it would be best to call (this evening if possible)?
My details are 07730 502738 or

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Roath Central update

Not much really during September: First Large Ranunculus appeared on 11th, with several since. Old Lady 7th, a couple of Cypress Pugs and migrants include Rush Veneer, Rusty-dot Pearl & a few Silver Ys. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012


I've not seen either of these in the garden for over 10 years:
Not a common species in the county with just 57 records, this looks good for September Thorn to me, the only doubt being that the outer line is a bit more kinked than you'd like, but only where the wing is photographed obliquely (any comments welcome) I last saw this in the garden in 2000.
With 239 county records of Mouse Moth this is not an uncommon species, but it was last recorded in the garden as far back as 2001.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Cwmbach- 13/09/2012

I ran the garden actinic trap all last night and recorded fifteen species, though there were no migrants amongst them. The highlights were a nice fresh Garden Carpet, a Centre-barred Sallow, an Autumnal Rustic and one individual of this stunning form of Lesser Yellow Underwing:

Lesser Yellow Underwing
I tend to get one of these perhaps once a year and it's always a pleasant surprise.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Less common moths at garden trap sites

I thought it might be worth posting this short bit of data analysis for others to see.  I'm discussing a nearby planning/development issue with the Council and a developer, and am using my moth data as part of the evidence.  My initial hypothesis was that as I live on a coastal brownfield site, I should perhaps expect to see a greater proportion of less common species here.  What I have done is take data from some of the other garden sites and compare them to my record in terms of the number of:
  • Local distribution and rarer species
  • National B and rarer
These are the last two lines in the table below:
  Rhoose Point  AM Llandaff North GT Gorseinon BS Templeton Ave DS Cwmbach ME Sea View VS
  1 15 20 16   10
Common 276 328 489 410 392 412
Common(alien-foodplant) 1 1 1 1 1 1
Migrant 9 9 24 11 12 23
Local 46 62 134 84 75 128
Local(alien-foodplant) 1     1 12 1
Nationally Scarce A 1 2 1 1 1 2
Nationally Scarce B 2 4 10 6 2 8
Nb 4 1 8   4 15
RDBK 1          
Rare migrant           1
Vagrant/accidental           1
Total 342 422 687 530 499 602
% of local and rarer in total 16 16 22 17 19 26
% of National B and rarer in total 2 2 3 1 1 4

Whilst this has not supported my initial thoughts on the proportion of less common species at my trap site, it's interesting to see the disparity in the results.  Unsurprisingly the traps in rural sites do better (apart from mine!).  I wonder if there is a sampling bias here though, all sites apart from mine have long records and I have a suspicion that in the early years all the common species are picked up quite quickly and dominate the record, which may mean that as the years go by it becomes proportionately more likely that  new species encountered are in the Local distribution or rarer categories...?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Holly Blue update

I've been keeping an eye on the Ivy flower cluster where I saw two tiny Holly Blue larvae on 28th August (see previous post). Since this time there's been lots of frass and feeding damage but I hadn't seen any larvae...until yesterday evening when this one was present feeding on a flower bud. The larva has grown rapidly over the last two weeks and appears nearly full grown.

Cardiff Convolvulus

This photo was sent to me by one of SEWBReC's former volunteers, Chris Williams. I've not heard of any other records for the county this year. This one woke him up at his place in Penarth!

Monday, 10 September 2012

More harvestmen...

Any ideas on these Barry?  I now think both id's are wrong, and I fear that not only do I need a better lens, but a better camera too!

Having looked at this one again, I'm now wondering if it isn't Phalangium opilio too?

I thought this one might be L ephippiatus because f the distinctive 3 pronged trident, but as you say it does seem to be an earlier species...


Adam, a x20 hand lens is very useful when looking at this group I find, with tridents, tubercles etc being very evident at this mag. You can hold the harvestman (or harvestlady!) by its legs and examine most of the critical features. I'm not sure if triangularis is mature at this time of year so it may be worth checking that one and I've not seen Lacinius yet so can't comment on that one. We saw lots of Phalangium opilio at Nicholaston on the weekend and Leiobunum rotundum on Ivy blossom at Rhossili Church at night.
Phalangium opilio male Nicholaston
with unique horned chelicerae
Leiobunum rotundum

Rhoose Point

This Bulrush Wainscot and a Vapourer Moth will take my garden record species count up to 367 in two years of trapping at this site.  In reality it would probably be a bit higher than that as I didn't put a lot of effort into micros in the first 12 months or so.  That would put my garden broadly on a par with Dave and Barry's in terms of species richness.

Just for Barry's info really - two Harvestmen so far which look like Lacinius ephippiatus and Platybunus triangularis to my untutored eye.  I think I need a more powerful magnifying glass though!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Friday, Cwm Taf Bargoed Country Park

Although quite a short trapping session, a Bat and Moth event will be taking place this Friday (20:30 til 22:30) at Parc Cwm Taf Bargoed:  ST 102 976. I am running my Skinner trap for the event, which is free and open to all.

Monday, 3 September 2012

South Gower

Late Chalk Carpets at Common Cliff and Longhole Cliff today. Over 100 Silver Y's disturbed from cliff vegetation, the odd Painted Lady, but not Hummers or Clouded Yellows for me yet.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Jersey Tiger

Just popped out to have a look at the trap to discover a rather battered Jersey Tiger flapping around in the breeze, which looks like the second county record.  Will pop a photo up tomorrow.

I wonder if they are breeding here?

And here is a pic:

And a quick update on the Jersy Tiger - when releasing it this afternoon it flipped over to reveal what looks like a nematode (?) emerging.  At least I presume that's not norma!?!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Acrolepia autumnitella at Llanrhidian

Occupied blotch mines of this poorly recorded species are very prominent on Bittersweet at the moment.

Lavernock LNR

A two hours and 15 minutes session at Lavernock with my dad last night produced a list of 44 species at two MV lights. The macros weren't particularly exciting, the best of the bunch being Oak Nycteoline, Centre-barred Sallow, Gold Spot and Broad-bordered YU.

The micros were much better however, with quite a few species new to ST16: Cochylis molliculana (2), Phtheochroa inopiana (6), Epermenia falciformis, Ptocheuusa paupella and Oidaematophorus lithodactyla (Dusky Plume).

Cochylis molliculana
Dusky Plume

Meanwhile at Llandaff North I had Cypress Pug new for the garden and four Old Ladies (which I think equals the highest total recorded in VC41 in one night).
Cypress Pug