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!