Saturday, 31 December 2016

Last trapping for 2016

With temperatures forecast to stay in double figures we decided to have one last trapping session at Ynys-hir last night. The temperature this morning was 10 C and we were staggered by the number of moths we had in two 6W Heath traps. We counted over 450 moths and there must have been many more in the surrounding leaf litter. The species we had were: Mottled umber (304), Winter moth (143), Scarce umber (3), Northern winter moth (3), Chestnut (2), Red-green carpet (1), Pale brindled beauty (2), Early grey (1). There are a few county records of Pale brindle beauty in December, the earliest being on the 18th, but the previous earliest county record for Early grey was on the 8th Feb.

Early grey

Pale brindled beauty
Tony & Ina

Saturday, 17 December 2016

December moth and Epiphyas postvittana

Just 2 moths again - a December moth and an Epiphyas postvittana.
December moth

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Dark Sword-grass

From last night's trap: 1 December Moth and 1 Dark Sword-grass (a female this time).

Friday, 9 December 2016

Silver Y and Dark Sword-grass

Just 5 moths here from last night's trap: Feathered Thorn; December Moth; Grey Shoulder-knot; Dark Sword-grass (my first of the year); and a Silver Y.

Dark Sword-Grass
Silver Y

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Winter moths

We put two 6W Heath traps in the woodland at Ynys-hir last night. The temperature at 7:30 this morning was 14C and the 2 bucket traps were full of moths with lots more on the outside and surrounding vegetation. We counted 93 December moths, 65 of which were in or on 1 trap. Some of them seemed quite unconcerned at being captured as several pairs were mating. Other species were Mottled umber (88), Scarce umber (23), Feathered thorn (15), November moth agg. (14), Winter moth (24), Northern winter moth (2), Chestnut (1), Yellow-line quaker (3), Red-green carpet (1), and Spruce carpet (1).

Winter moth and Northern winter moth are very similar in appearance, the latter is slightly larger, paler and has whiter hindwings. It is very difficult to get them to pose in a way that shows their hindwing, but between us we managed to get these photos.
Tony & Ina (3 micros chilling out in the fridge for later)

Northern winter moth

Winter moth

Acleris hyemana

From last night's garden moth trap: 2  Feathered Thorn; 2 December Moth; Epiphyas postvittana; and an Acleris hyemana (a first for me).

At rest

Not so Scarce Umber

11 of these across 2 traps in Coed Y Bont last night!  8w and 15w actinics. Apologies for quality of pic but it shows the hindwings well.
2 Mottled Umber
11 December moths
1 Chestnut
1 Red Swordgrass

The experimental LED trap was set up at home but had to be put away quick when we had some unexpected rain.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

December Moth

Seeing Sarah's earlier report of December Moths, I thought it would be interesting to look at the county records for this species. Below is the graph of number of records per year from 1966 to 2015:

The graph clearly shows the introduction of Ian's RIS trap in 1976, at which the numbers have declined a little in the past 40 years. It also shows the increased interest in year-round moth recording when the moth group was formed in 2009. Prior to that we had numbers of lepidopterists visiting Ceredigion, but mostly in the warmer months and hence few records for December moth.


Friday, 2 December 2016

December Moth and Feathered Thorn

Nothing of note here lately.  Last night's garden trap resulted in 2 December Moths (my first of the winter) and a Feathered Thorn.  I also trapped on Sunday night and had a Winter Moth, 2 Feathered Thorns and a November Moth agg. (and a wasp).

December Moth and Feathered Thorn (males)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Micros at home

When a lichen-eater crawls across your living room window, it's probaby time to get out the squeegee. But I rescued it first:
Luffia ferchaultella
It has quite a comical crawl:

Just afterwards a Mompha langiella came to sit on me.
Today, a Phyllonorycter sp. landed on the house. I think messaniella given the time of year.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

New book!

February 2017
Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland
Third edition
Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland

Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland has been fully revised and restructured, to reflect the latest thinking in taxonomy. There are new descriptions and illustrations for newly discovered species, and existing entries have been updated, with distribution information revised and maps included for the first time.

Pbk £29.99  
Hbk £49.99
Find out more

Xmas is a-coming!  Wonder if it is different enough?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Feathered Thorns

Can someone tell me what is going on here please? These two were in the trap this morning. Both have broad, feathered antennae, so I take them to be males. Is such a large variation in size usual with this species?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

1,000 th Post - Ynys-hir

As the title tells us this is the one thousandth post on the Ceredigion Moths blog so before I start can we thank everyone who has contributed to and/or viewed the posts over the last four years since we started.  Averaging 250 posts a year didn't seem like much until we realised it is five a week.

Last night at Ynys-hir Tony deployed two actinic light traps in the woodland which captured nine macro species and one micro.  I picked up an Oak leaf this morning which contained a larva of Stigmella atricapitella.  I'm sorry I have not got a reasonable photo as I had to open up the mine to look at the larva, the only way to be sure it was S.atricapitella.

Mottled Umber 3,  November Moth agg 60 (a conservative estimate), Red-line Quaker 1, December Moth 7, Red-green Carpet 2, Feathered Thorn 13, Green-brindled Crescent 2, Chestnut 2, Yellow-line Quaker 1, ad last but not least (except in size) Pschoides filicivora 1.
December Moth

Feathered Thorn

P. filicivora

Saturday, 12 November 2016

December Moth

We had our first two December Moths last night together with several Feathered Thorns out of a total of eight macro species.  It seems to have been an exceptionally good autumn for the Epirrita species (November Moth aggs). Last night we had 63 of these in our woodland trap and the week before 120.

Carolyn & Evan

December Moth

Feathered Thorn

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Overwintering Leafminers

One or two people have mentioned to me that they are starting to develop an interest in leaf mines.  This has prompted me to put together a tip or two and although it may be a little late for this year there are still a few 'green islands' around among the fallen leaves.  Beech and Oak are the best for this, look for a green patch in the middle of an otherwise brown leaf and there should be a larva still in there.  Beech mines are easily identified but Oak mines are a little more complicated and may need rearing through the winter.
More information can be found on the internet and by carefully working through the key, link (here) you will have some success I'm sure. You can start with either the 'Mine-keys' or 'Plants' page but I suggest using both.  You will not be able to identify everything, so don't try and start off with the easy ones.
Stigmella tityrella on Beech

Stigmella hemargyrella on Beech

Rearing miners through the winter.

Some species cannot safely be identified from the mine alone. A look at the larva or pupa can help in some cases but this needs care.
If you find a mine containing a live larva or pupa;  cut up some old tights and tie off one end, put the leaf inside and tie off the other end and secure it to a low growing bush in the garden.  Don't forget a label! Choose a sheltered spot for this, you are trying to mimic what would happen to a leaf 'in the wild'.  Bring the leaf indoors next year March or April time, remove the leaf from the tights, put it in a pot and wait to see what emerges. Phyllonorycter mines work well to start with.

Best of luck.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Small Angle Shades

From last night's trap: Epiphyas postvittana; Red-green Carpet; Spruce Carpet; November Moth agg. x 2; Mottled Umber; Turnip Moth; Square-spot Rustic; Black Rustic; Blair's Shoulder-knot; Yellow-line Quaker; Green-brindled Crescent; Merveille du Jour x 3; Feathered Ranunculus; Angle Shades; Silver Y and this 2nd gen. Small Angle Shades.

Small Angle Shades

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Possible Stigmella hybnerella leaf mine - help needed

I collected this Hawthorn leaf from the coastal path a couple of days ago.  I think it looks like a vacated Stigmella hybnerella leaf mine, but I am wondering about the slender part of the gallery - it is meant to have "black linear frass with narrow clear margins" but this gallery doesn't look as clear as other examples I have seen online.  Using the key I haven't found an alternative that it could be.  The dark patch behind the gallery is present on other parts of the whole leaf so does not seem to be part of this leaf mine.  Any thoughts?
Possible Stigmella hybnerella mine
Early gallery in detail

Monday, 31 October 2016


From the garden trap last night: Red-green Carpet x 2; Common Marbled Carpet x 3; November Moth agg. x 3; Feathered Thorn; Black Rustic; Green-brindled Crescent; Merveille du Jour; Angle Shades x 2; Epiphyas postvittana; and a new moth for me, a Gem.

Gem (female)

Saturday, 29 October 2016


We were surprised to find this Vestal in our garden trap this morning in addition to nine other species.  These included November Moth aggs in double figures and several fresh Spruce & Red-green Carpets.

Carolyn & Evan


Red-green Carpet

Azalea Leaf-Miner

The forecast on Friday night was too tempting, and the garden trap didn't disappoint: Grey Shoulder-Knot,  Blair's Shoulder-Knot, Yellow-line Quaker (f. obsoleta), Red-line Quaker (2), Red-Green Carpet (2), Black Rustic, Feathered Ranunculus, Angle Shades (2), Garden Carpet, Square-spot Rustic, Phyllonorycter messaniella and Caloptilia azaleella.


Friday, 28 October 2016

Brindled Ochre

From last night: Feathered Thorn; Large Yellow Underwing; Lesser Yellow Underwing; Brindled Ochre x 2; Beaded Chestnut; Lunar Underwing; Angle Shades; Epiphyas postvittana.

Brindled Ochre

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Dark Chestnut

Just as I thought that the season was pretty much coming to an end, something new to Llawrcwrt turns up. A difficult moth to photograph as it both dark and shiny. Now I know what they look like, I'm going to have to trawl through last years Chestnuts to see if I missed one.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Common White Wave!

Last night we set two 6W Heath traps amongst the Birch trees on Cors Fochno. The biggest surprise was a Common White Wave, a month later than the previous latest county record. It is not obvious whether this is a second or third generation, but it was very fresh looking. We had our first Feathered Thorn and Mottled Umber of the year. Others were Common Marbled Carpet, Pink-barred Sallow, Red-line quaker, Green-brindled Crescent, Autumnal Moth and some November moth aggs., Spruce Carpet, Large Wainscot, Black Rustic. The micros were White-shouldered House Moth, Epinotia Ramella, and Ypsolopha Parenthesella.
Common White Wave

Mottled Umber

Feathered Thorn

Mottled Umber
The Mottled Umbers show the extent of variation of wing pattern in the males.

Tony & Ina

Garden moth trap 25th October

Garden Carpet; Red-green Carpet x 2; Common Marbled Carpet x 2; November Moth agg.; Large Yellow Underwing; Setaceous Hebrew Character x 4; Black Rustic x 3; Green-brindled Crescent; Merveille du Jour x 2; Feathered Ranunculus; Red-line Quaker; Yellow-line Quaker; Copper Underwing; Angle Shades; Epiphyas postvittana.

Yellow-line Quaker and Red-line Quaker

Saturday, 22 October 2016

First Autumnal Catch

With a minimum temperature of only 0.9°C we had had a total of 23 moths of six macro species.  These included several November agg Moths and our first Feathered Thorn and Mottled Umber.  Also in the trap was this Acleris hastiana (fl 10 mm) and as a bonus we found this larva of the large Yellow Underwing.

Carolyn & Evan

Woodland Moths 21st October

Thirty five moths of twelve species plus one aggregate last night, with a slight frost around dawn that was not a bad catch.
Merv, Spruce Carpet, Red-green Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, Yellow-line Q, Chestnut, Large Wainscot, Common Marbled Carpet, Red-line Q, Green-brindled Crescent and seventeen Epirrita species fifteen of which were recorded as aggregates but looked more closely at two that were extreme in colouration, one was a November Moth (E.dilutata) and one Autumnal Moth (E.autumnata).

Large Wainscot

Green-brindled Crescent

November Moth

This Autumnal Moth has read Skinner - The shape of the post-median fascia with the dot well away from the line is as described.  Take care as this feature is not always reliable.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Different night, different moths

I rarely trap 2 nights in a row but I it was such a still, cloudy night that it was worth a go.  The results were: Red-green Carpet; Common Marbled Carpet x 7; November Moth agg. x 4; Square-spot Rustic; Black Rustic; Blair's Shoulder-knot; Merveille du Jour; Satellite (only my second ever record); Lunar Underwing x 3; Tachystola acroxantha x 3; and Epiphyas postvittana.

Merveille du Jour (looking odd due to faded black bands)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Garden moth trap 19th October

Red-green Carpet; Common Marbled Carpet; Black Rustic x 3; Green-brindled Crescent; Feathered Ranunculus x 2; Pseudargyrotoza conwagana.