Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My Cwmbach Garden, Last Night

I ran the garden actinic all last night, as it was forecast to be relatively mild. The minimum temperature was 4.70 C and it remained dry, but there were no moths on the trap, come this morning. Inside, however, were seven moths of six species:

Torticodes alternella x 1

Tortricodes alternella
March Moth x 1
Pale Brindled Beauty x 1
Common Quaker x 1
Hebrew Character x 1
The Chestnut x 2

It was especially nice to see the Common Quaker and Hebrew Character.

In Sunday, I visited a wooded valley, near Llwydcoed and on the Polystichum aculeatum (Hard Shield Fern), I came across lots of the leaf mines pictured below.

On the undersides of the fronds were larval cases, enclosed in the detached sporangia from the fern, as can be seen below.   

I think this may be Psychoides filicivora, but it is possible that it may be P. verhuella, which is the only Phychoides species I've ever come across, locally. 

I don't rear through, so I suppose the only way to be certain is to keep visiting the site in the hope of seeing an adult.



  1. Hi Mark,

    You can separate the larvae of filicivora and verhuella on the colour of the head - brown in filicivora and black in verhuella. Needs close inspection with a lens though, and means disturbing the larva from its case.

    Nice photo of the Tortricodes by the way!


  2. Thanks George. I did open one case, but it was empty. I'll pop back there soon and have another look. Meanwhile, I have also found it on a P. aculeatum variety growing in my garden and here I have never recorded anything other than P. verhuella, so I'll start the larval investigation in the comfort of my garden.

  3. I've seen filicivora flying in large numbers around Soft shield-fern (P setiferum). I've reared verhuella from Hart's Tongue and Wall-rue, but presumably it feeds on other ferns too.

  4. P. filicivora is common on the ferns in our Garden, mostly Scaly Male-fern (Dryopteris affinis), which largely dies back in the winter. I'll go and investigate to see if it is on any winter-green species when it stops raining!