Saturday 29 December 2012

A few moths

Four species last night at Llandaff North, a good haul for December. It was 11 C at dusk and the rain and wind didn't arrive until later in the night, so pretty ideal conditions for the time of year. The catch comprised singletons of Winter moth, Epiphyas postvittana, Emmelina monodactyla and Acleris schalleriana.

Monday 24 December 2012

Cwmbach, Last Night

After belatedly putting the trap out last night, I still had four or five hours of dry evening before the rain arrived and this morning, there were two moths present. Inside the trap was a dark looking Winter Moth and on the top of the trap, this lovely Mottled Umber.

Mottled Umber

Sunday 23 December 2012

Light Brown Apple Moth

This male E. postvittana was on my kitchen window last night.

This was the 465th individual of the year, making 2012 nearly 50% better than any other year since I've been trapping in Llandaff North, see table below:

Year Total number
2007 202
2008 163
2009 320
2010 145
2011 185
2012 465

The low numbers in 2010 and 2011 were a result of the cold winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. Last winter was pretty mild which probably explains the high numbers this year.

The phenology graph below shows two peaks - one in late spring and a larger one in late summer, so it seems to be mainly double brooded here. The spring peak is usually in May (but in the early spring of 2007 it was in April) and the summer peak in August (but last year it was in September). Numbers then drop off but I've record them right up until the end of the year, but never in January or February.

Saturday 22 December 2012

Cwmbach, Last Night

As usual, I ran the garden actinic for the winter GMS, last night and inside it this morning were two welcome moths: both Red-green Carpet.
It is a pity we can't seem to get a dry, calm night with temperatures above freezing. It is either dry, calm, clear and frosty or overcast, mild and stormy.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Hark the Herald...

A Herald was on a shop window in Swansea city centre today, also a Mottled Umber below an outside light nearby.

Both in tip top condition - nice to see a couple of colourful moths in the depths of December.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Decembers last night.

2 traps in woodland, in spite of heavy showers, until 10pm produced 74 December Moth, 10 Winter Moth, 8 Mottled Umber, 5 Chestnut and 1 Acleris sp. Rather pleased that three quarters of the totals were in my newly designed and built collapsible trap!

Thursday 13 December 2012

Possible new harvestman for Wales

I collected this large (leg span measured as 114mm) unfamiliar species off Wendell Thomas' front door frame when delivering his Christmas card today. It looks remarkably like Opilio canestrinii, which according the Spider and Harvestman Recording Scheme website has not been recorded in Wales [id confirmed by Peter Harvey, this being the first Welsh record and to date only noted at 13 other UK sites].

Tuesday 11 December 2012


                                  Scarce umber on my window today.

Monday 10 December 2012


Just to show that there is more on the wing in Cardiff than just winter moth, Clive Ellis sent me this Large Wainscot photo, taken on the 8th December - the latest VC41 record to date, albeit on the VC35 border!


A Brick at Whitchurch Hospital 9th Dec.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Cwmbach, Last Night

Having had nothing at all for the winter GMS, Friday night, I decided to run the trap again last night; not for WGMS, of course, just for myself. The forecast was for it to cloud over and the temperatures to rise overnight. The forecast was right and in the trap this morning was a single December Moth.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Late Peacock butterfly

A Peacock butterfly today outside my front room window was a surprise.

Friday 7 December 2012

Indian Meal Moth

I was recently passed this specimen from an office in Cardiff University. The office was infested with adults and larvae, the source of which was a bit of a mystery until a half used bag of rabbit food was found hidden in a cupboard!

Plodia interpunctella

Saturday 1 December 2012

At Last. A Moth!

After what seems like weeks without sight of  a moth and with a night of sub zero temperatures ensuring an empty winter GMS trap, last night, it was nice to see a Winter Moth turn up at the kitchen window, this evening.

Friday 23 November 2012

It must be winter...

This was on our kitchen window last night.

Winter Moth male

George (Llandaff North)

Monday 19 November 2012


White shouldered house moth in my kitchen last night, the latest one i've seen.
Angle shades on Tesco's window this morning.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Rusty-dot Pearl

This larva was found feeding on Sea Beet on Barry Island on 24th October.

I brought it home and kept it indoors - it pupated on 1st November and the adult emerged today. Tony Davis suggested Udea ferrugalis based on a photo of the larva and he was spot on. Nice to see a pristine moth at this time of year.

Udea ferrugalis

Saturday 17 November 2012

Yellow-line What???

Not a species new to science, just a Yellow-line quaker and a senior moment!

Winter GMS: Cwmbach

Despite heavy rain at times, there were seven moths of five species attracted to the trap, last night, including an incredibly late Acleris forsskaleana (the latest date I can find for this species in MapMate is 27 August, so I think your time warp has spread this way, Adam), which I tried and completely failed to photograph. There was also a worn Acleris ferrugana/notana type, which I'm now kicking myself over, for not retaining for examination. If it reappears at the kitchen window tonight, I'll certainly do that.

Anyway, the list is:

Acleris forsskaleana x 1
Acleris ferrugana/notana type x 1
Red-green Carpet x 1
Spruce Carpet x 3
Yellow-line Carpet x 1

Thursday 15 November 2012

Identity check, in Gowerton

In yesterday morning's trap was this which, from Phil Sterling's book, I identified as Monopis crocicapitella. However, I have photos of a similar from 2009 identified as M obviella. I gather I should have looked at the hindwing as well, which I didn't realise until too late!
Any suggestions/opinions gratefully received.
Query: Monopis crocicapitella

Oleander Hawk-moth, bred
Also attached: not an exciting first for Glamorgan I'm afraid but a beautiful moth anyway, reared from tiny larva acquired at the AES show 6th October.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Another Trend Test

Since the first article was recieved with interest, I thought I'd quickly try a slightly different tack on a different species. Dusky Thorn was the one hailed in the State of Britain's Larger Moths as showing the greatest decline of all species, so I thought I'd see if my rudimentary stats would show something up. So below we have two graphs. The first is in line with what I'd done for the Heart and Dart & Large Yellow Underwing, in that it is the number of individuals weighted against 'Trap Nights'.

It is now know that this is a species with large peaks and troughs in it's abundance, and it certainly had a few good years as soon as the report was published. It did occur to me that my method would come unstuck if a lot of recording additional effort was put in at times of year when the given species was not on the wing - so more people taking part in the Winter Garden Moth Scheme would cause a drop in the averages of summer species, so I tried this:

And this shows the average catch across the various years - so recording effort is taken into account, but only when the moth is trapped.Interesting that the huge peak of 2009 in the previous chart has been levelled out. Essentially it was well recorded in 2009 compared to total recording effort, but the average catches were, well, average I suppose! 2011 looks like it was a poor year for this common garden species, but I've not yet got all the 2012 data in so can't say whether that is a trend or a blip.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Cwmbach, Last Night

With a mild night forecast, I decided to run my 22w actinic garden trap overnight. It was damp and drizzly, with a minimum temperature of 10.40 C, but there was also a fresh Southerly breeze blowing, so I didn't know what to expect this morning, though a few moths on the top of the trap were a good sign.
In all I had twenty three moths of twelve species, including a December Moth. which I'm always pleased to get.

December Moth

The full list is:

Epiphyas Postvittana x 2
December Moth x 1
Red-green Carpet x 2
Common Marbled Carpet x 1
Spruce Carpet x 6
Epirrita agg x 2
Feathered Thorn x 3
Blair's Shoulder-knot x 1
Red-line Quaker x 1
Yellow-line Quaker x 1
Flounced Chestnut x 1
Silver Y x 2

Saturday 10 November 2012

Cwmbach Winter GMS: Week 1

It rained for most of the night and then became cool and foggy, so I wasn't surprised to get only four moths of three species, one of which- Red-green Carpet- doesn't for some reason count for the WGMS.

Red-green Carpet x 1
Turnip Moth x 1 (Same individual as I had yesterday)
Angle Shades x 2

It's so easy to take the common species for granted and certainly in the summer, I rarely get the chance to really LOOK at the moths, so it was nice, today to have the time to really appreciate just what a stunning moth the Angle Shades is!

Friday 9 November 2012

Unseasonal Hofmannophila - Llandaff North

Just potted a Brown House Moth from a lighted window. This appears to be the latest Glamorgan record and the first November record on the GMRG database.

Species Trends

Whilst waiting for a database to update this afternoon I wondered how easy it would be to get a quick assessment of how a common species had faired over the past few years given the GMRG dataset. This first chart simply shows the number of records per year for Heart & Dart and Large Yellow Underwing over the past 22 years.

But of course that doesn't take into account recording effort - there was a lot more trapping done in the mid naughties, so this one takes into account the number of 'trap nights' in each year.

I'm no statistician, but it looks to me as thought the pre 1995 data should be excluded from any further analysis (which makes some sense in terms of GMRG's formation etc), but also that Large Yellow Underwing is being recorded as frequently now as ever. Perhaps more useful are the next two, which show the number of individual moths, weighted against trapping effort.

Garden trap 8th Nov

Only 3 moths in the garden last night, in spite of being mild.
Acleris schalleriana
1 Red-green Carpet and 2 Acleris schalleriana I believe, judging mainly by the elongated costal blotch. Anybody agree?

Wednesday night in woodland for a few hours was better; still 10.5 degrees at 11pm
Epirrita sp.               20
Chestnut                   2
Merveille du Jour     2
December Moth       1
Feathered Thorn       6
Acleris sparsana       2
Common Marbled Carpet   2
Mottled Umber         1

Cwmbach, Last Night

I ran my garden trap through the mild (7.00C), damp night and recorded seven moths of four species. As the minimum temperature was over a degree warmer than the 6th, I'd expected more, but it only goes to illustrate the unpredictable nature of things, particularly at this time of year.

The list is as follows:

Epiphyas postvittana x 1
Red-green Carpet x 3
Spruce Carpet x 2
Turnip Moth x 1

Turnip Moth

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Cwmbach, Last Night.

I ran my 22w actinic garden trap overnight and was rewarded with eleven moths of eight species, namely:

Agonopterix arenella x 1
Epiphyas postvittana x 1
Red-green Carpet x 2 (all of these I've had this year have mainly or completely green. Anyone else found the same?)
Spruce Carpet x 2
Feathered Thorn x 1
Scarce Umber x 1
Red-line Quaker x 2
Flounced Chestnut x 1

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Another harvestman in Gorseinon

Sandra noted this large species on a wall in the street when we were walking the dog this evening:
Odiellus spinosus
Odiellus spinosus

November Leps

Red Admiral & Small Tortoiseshell at Lavernock Pt. today. Red Ad. in garden yesterday. Feathered Ranunculus (2) & E. monodactyla (2) at the Knap 1st Nov.
Plenty of these caterpillars lurking under stones on the steep slopes around Rhoose Point, I'm guessing one of the Tiger moths, probably Ruby Tiger?  They are about 30mm long.

And as moths are a bit thin on the ground at the moment, here's a pic of a bristletail I found over the weekend.  The narrow ocelli that run the full length below the eyes indicate it is one of the two Petrobius species found in the UK.  It is most likely P. maritimus given that I found it just on the landward side of the sea cliff, but I can't be sure about that.  There don't seem to be many records of these, but I guess there are not many people looking for them.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Last week of Summer GMS - Llandaff North

With a minimum temperature of 3.6 C, heavy showers through the night, and having had two empty traps recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find two moths in the trap this morning. If this hadn't been a GMS night I wouldn't have bothered putting the trap out. The moths were Dark Chestnut and Acleris schalleriana, both in fine fettle.

Dark Chestnut

This is my 9th garden record of Dark Chestnut, and I've still yet to record the Chestnut here.

Friday 2 November 2012

Dare Valley Country Park, this Afternoon

A gloriously sunny afternoon at Dare Valley and searching the lower Sallows, I came across this larva:

Although it was small (about 10-15mm long) and fairly green and featureless, it has a prominent red anal plate and a dark line down the centre of its head. I have been through Porter several times without success (nothing unusual about that) and I've also been through the excellent, though not exhaustive larva section of Chris Manley's book, again with no luck. Anyone got any ideas?
If it helps, the larva seems to be associated with this leaf roll:

Another highlight, of a non lep kind was a Kidney-spot Ladybird, found on the underside of another Sallow leaf:

This was only my second record of this species.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Abernant, this Afternoon

Out on the hillside above Abernant, in the Cynon Valley, this afternoon, I came across this larva feeding on Sallow, beside the track.
I failed to find it in Porter, so suspecting it to be a Prominent, I searched on UK Moths and identified it as Pebble Prominent: if anyone knows better, I'm sure you'll let me know :¬)
Sorry about the quality of the photos: it was in an awkward position (I was standing in a stream and up to my waist in brambles) and it was in a difficult pose... excuses!

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Halloween Harvestman!

Even those of you not interested in harvestmen can help look out for this very long-legged (up to 20cm across) and often gregarious species of unknown origin or name.
Ian Morgan and Sam Bosanquet have provided a number of links including this one which is an interesting read if you have a spare couple of minutes:

Saturday 27 October 2012

More Late Butterflies

In the area around St David's hospital, Canton, Cardiff, flying in the midday sunshine, were at least five Red Admirals.

Late butterflies

At Porthkerry Country Park, Barry today: 5 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell & 1 Comma, enjoying the shelter of the woodland edge to escape the northerly wind.

Also a Carcina quercana in the gents.

Wednesday 24 October 2012


I ran the garden actinic all night and with a minimum temperature of 11.50 C and heavily overcast, damp conditions I had fifteen species, which was a larger catch than expected and meant I had to rush through them in order to get off to work.

The highlights for me were Spruce Carpet (21), Dark Chestnut, Grey Pine Carpet, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Green-brindled Crescent f. capucina, Feathered Thorn and a late, but fresh Double-striped Pug.

Double-striped Pug

Caswell Bay

Mecyna asinalis

Spruce Carpet

L-album Wainscot
The cliffs last night produced 18 species, including 9 Silver Y and a Plutella xylostella. Also 4 L-album Wainscot, 2 Spruce Carpet, (a long way from any spruce) and a fresh Mecyna asinalis. Still 13 degrees at dawn, but it won't last!

Rhoose last night

10 species  here last night.  Figure of 8 the highlight; according to Mapmate this will be the 19th Glamorgan record of this species.  Also Green Brindled Crescent, 10 Black Rustic and 5 Pale form Silver Y (f. pallida rather than f. gammina) which suggests that despite the NE winds, a few migrants may be about?

And another Harvestman (pic below).  This time I am reasonably confident it is Opilio saxatilis, which according to Mapmate will be the 3rd Glamorgan record. 

Figure of Eight

Opilio saxatilis

Ichneumon wasp

I forgot to add this photo this morning.  I see plenty Ichneumon wasps here, but usually much earlier in the year.  This was notable due to its size (body about 45mm ) but also its almost impossibly narrow waist.  I wish the same was true for me these days!  I know they are very tricky to pin down to species level, but I will pop it onto iSpot just in case.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Senghenydd last night

A disappointing catch given the favourable conditions. Just 5 species: Common Marbled Carpet (x3), Flounced Chestnut, Black Rustic, Pink-barred Sallow and E postvittana (x5). Also this capsid, which I think is Deraeocoris ruber?

Orange Sallow

Stenoptila Zophodactylus

Orange Sallow
A few hours in woodland last night produced Orange Sallow and Stenoptilia zophodactylus which were nice surprises. Also 6 Merveille du Jour, 5 Flounced Chestnut, about 40 Epirrita, etc


29 species in/around the trap in perfect conditions last night:

Eudonia angustea 1
Common Marbled Carpet 6
Grey Pine Carpet 3
Spruce Carpet 1
Green Carpet 1
November Moth agg. 5
Feathered Thorn 4
Turnip Moth 1
Large Yellow Underwing 3
Autumnal Rustic 1
Setaceous Hebrew Character 40
Square-spot Rustic 4
Black Rustic 30
Blair's Shoulder-knot 1
Green-brindled Crescent 2
Merveille du Jour 5
Brick 1
Red-line Quaker 10
Yellow-line Quaker 2
Flounced Chestnut 1
Lunar Underwing 1
Sallow 25
Angle Shades 4
Rosy Rustic 1
Frosted Orange 1
Large Wainscot 12
Silver Y 2 (normal size and very dark)
Snout 4
Pinion-streaked Snout 3
craneflies ~100
Limnephilus lunatus ~200 (I've never seen so many of this caddis before, there is a pond very close by!)

Llandaff North last night

A bit of an improvement on recent catches last night with 8 species, though I hoped for more with a minimum temperature of 12.6 C.

Catch comprised: Green-brindled Crescent, Blair's Shoulder-knot, 2 Silver Y (both very small and pale), Lesser YU, Square-spot Rustic (very late), 3 Common Marbled Carpet, Eudonia angustea and Emmelina monodactyla.

Better make the most of these mild nights before the arctic blast arrives on Friday!

Sunday 21 October 2012

Rhoose Point

Only 5 species in the trap this morning, but the catch included l-album Wainscot, November Moth and 6 Feathered Ranunculus.  The latter seem to be having a very good year!

The moth below is worn, but I think it's probably a Sallow, f. obseleta given its lack of wing markings, although it is smaller than most Sallow I have seen.

Finally another harvestman.  3 of these running about close to the trap last night, and I am reasonably confident that I am looking at Odiellus spinosus.  NBN gateway suggests (assuming that all the data is present and reliable, and I know it often isn't!) these have a mainly SE England distribution, with only a handful of Welsh records from the N Wales coast.  

Having taken a closer look at this, it does have a single claw/spine at the end of the pedipalp and an arrangement of spines along the femur closely akin to these pics;  Unfortunately it is so tiny I don't think there is a realistic prospect of me getting a better photo than the one to the left!

Friday 19 October 2012

Cwmbach Today

I found these larvae of Coxcomb Prominent, feeding on Alder, at Werfa, between Cwmbach and Abernant, this afternoon.

Roath Central

Not too much over the last few days, a few Large Ranunculus, Blair's Sh-knot, Black Rustic & Light Emerald with Silver Y & Rush Veneer. Also a couple of Red Admirals on ivy blossom.