Saturday 27 December 2014

Winter Moths

We set our garden trap last night for the last session of the Winter Moth Scheme for 2014 and felt the odds were stacked heavily against us - continuous rain, cold night, possible snow.  Last Friday, for example, we only caught 1 Winter Moth, while last night we were proved wrong - 51 Winter Moths.

Carolyn & Evan

Sunday 14 December 2014

Mottled umbers

We put out one trap last night, by the centre at RSPB Ynys-hir, hoping for our first Scarce umber of the Autumn. No luck though just 9 Mottled umber and 1 December moth, but we did get to see the Flamingo later.

Tony & Ina

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Rusty Dot Pearl

Lovely Rusty Dot Pearl on my window in Penparcau yesterday, enjoying the sunshine!

Oleander hawkmoth

This is the first known record of Oleander hawkmoth in VC46. It was found between Cardigan and Llechryd in a polytunnel on the 21st October, by Clive Wychwood. His photo shows that the moth was a bit worn but it could have travelled some distance to get to Ceredigion. Many thanks to Clive for sending in the record and the photograph.


Latest Mothy Mutterings

Good Morning All.

The latest Newsletter from BC Mothscount can be found by clicking on the link above.  Opens as a PDF.

Some reports on recent exhibitions, meeting, action plans etc., and a piece about the Belted Beauty, which being an ex Lancastrian I found interesting.


Saturday 29 November 2014

Ynys-hir woodland

A couple of actinic traps in mixed woodland last night gave us 31 moths of 8 species. The majority (20) were December moths, 3 Mottled umber, Winter moth, Northern winter moth, Yellow-line quaker, Red-green carpet, Chestnut, and November moth agg. (female).

Mottled umber

Mottled umbers

Northern winter moth
Tony & Ina

Saturday 15 November 2014

Feathered Thorn & Chestnut

That's all folks!!
At least I won the bet, Tony said there would not be a moth in the trap this morning.

Monday 10 November 2014

November moths

33 November moths (aggs) to be precise.
Two traps at Ynis-hir last night, the actinic capturing more moths of more species than the mv light.  They were in slightly different habitats, but I still have a theory that actinic is better at this time of year.
Mottled Umber, Feathered Thorn, Red-green Carpet, Chestnut, Green-brindled Crescent, December, one each of Grey Shoulder-knot and Satellite and a couple of micro species, Rusty-dot Pearls and Ypsolopha ustella.
December & Satellite

Grey Shoulder-knot
Not the best photos, sorry.  Out Feathered Thorns were the usual colour Sarah.


Thursday 6 November 2014

Stigmella aurella

The mines of this little moth should be almost everywhere.  Mostly on Bramble, but also on Geum (Avens), Fragaria (Wild Strawberry) and Agrimonia (Agrimony).

You can see by the red (2km) squares where they have been recorded.

I think it’s a little like sparrows in the birding world... they get overlooked.
You can see a photo of the mine on the British Leafmines web site.

Friday 31 October 2014

October 30th....warm but windy

A group shot of last night's moths.
The Mervs obviously thought they were too posh to join the others!
Only one missing, a LtB.A. that had a prior engagement...inside a Blue tit I believe.


Thursday 30 October 2014

Another Merv view

Only one photo I'm afraid, but last night's moths included 4 Merveille all with black band Sarah!
19 Epirrita aggs, Spruce Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, 1 extremely worn but still recognisable Common Marbled Carpet, Red-Green Carpet, Red Sword-grass, Chestnut, Yellow-line Quaker and Green-brindled Crescent.  The warm Southerlies over the next couple of nights may well be more productive.

Sunday 26 October 2014

December Moth

Last night was better than expected with 12 macro species including plentiful, very variable November Moths, Spruce Carpet and Feathered Thorn.  New for this season were December Moth and Mottled Umber.

Carolyn & Evan

December Moth

Mottled Umber

Saturday 25 October 2014

Less than 1mph*

Only two moths in three hours yesterday evening, so I gave up. One was a Rusty-dot Pearl, the other this Bedellia somnulentella. Nice to see the moth in the flesh after seeing the mine last month at Cilgerran.


* mph = moths per hour

Sunday 19 October 2014

.... and Two Micros

 We also caught these two micros.  The first I believe is Acleris sparsana.  The second I think is one of the family Blastobasidae - probably Blastobasis lacticolella.  Under the microscope we could see the strongly upcurved labial palps, the well developed tongue and the base of the antenna (scape) with a scaly tuft (pecten) but the antennae were quite short (well under the stated 2/3 length of the forewing).  Further advice would be appreciated.


Acleris sparsana (FL 10mm)

Blastobasis lacticolella (FL 9mm)

Top View

More Autumn Moths....

A balmy night from three traps -two woodland + one garden -  produced thirteen macro species.  These included Feathered Thorn, Satellite, two variations of November Moth (Epirrita sp), Black Rustic, Flounced Chestnut and Merveille du Jour.

Carolyn & Evan

Feathered Thorn


November Moth 1

November Moth 2

Friday 17 October 2014

Changes to the blog

You may have noticed that we have changed the layout of the blog.

Details about contacting the group or the county recorders can be obtained by clicking on the "Contact us" button.

Information and guidance on how to create and submit moth records can be obtained by clicking on the "Submitting records" button.

Coed Y Bont moths

Worth Bri lugging the 105amp battery up into the wood or at least that's what I told him! A late Light Emerald and faded Snout join this year's unseasonable list but the rest were as expected Epirritas (every one different looking)  Red and Yellow line Quakers, (red 7 yellow 4, whereas in my garden a stronger light produced 20 yellow, 11 red) Spruce carpets in double figures and then singles of the big and beautiful: Feathered Thorn,M du J, and Grey shoulder knot.
There were hundreds of other creatures from midges to blue bottles.
Recently the expert Lichenologist Ray Woods had a look around and found some rare species so next year Ina we'll have to get to grips with the micros!

Saturday 11 October 2014

Big micros, leaf mines, and Mompha langiella

I put a light out for a couple of hours yesterday evening and was pleasantly surprised at the number of moths around in my garden, inc. Green-brindled Crescent, Blair's Shoulder Knot, Pale Mottled Willow, and my largest ever Blastobasis lacticolella at over 12mm long:

Found some leaf mines along Plas Crug in Aberystwyth this morning - i think the first one is Stigmella microtheriella (on Hazel), not sure about the second (on Elm i think):
and I now know not to look for moths in Holly - the leaf mine I found belongs to a fly.
Finally, what I believe is Mompha langiella landed on the window this afternoon; Ina's list suggests that it is rarely recorded in the county:

....and Two Migrants

...and from the same garden in Aberystwyth this Pearly Underwing, which was confirmed by seeing the appearance and darker veins of the underwing, and this Rusty-dot Pearl.

Carolyn & Evan

Pearly Underwing

Rusty-dot Pearl

Mixed Trapping Session

From our valley this morning we had our first Satellite and Chestnuts and from a certain garden in Aberystwyth the catch included Blair's Shoulder-knot, two colour forms of Lunar Underwing, Feathered Ranunculus and Yellow-line Quaker.

Carolyn & Evan

Blair's Shoulder-knot

Lunar Underwing - dark form

Lunar Underwing - chestnut form  

Yellow-line Quaker

Chestnuts....not 'roasting on an open fire'

Two traps at Ynys-hir last night, the Actinic doing slightly better than the MV light for both numbers and species.
The first Chestnuts we have seen this season and first Large Wainscots too. 
Others, in no particular order...  CMCarpet, Red-green C, Spruce C, Grey Pine C, Pine C. Red-line Quaker, Blk Rustic, Green-brindled Cres, Lt Emerald, Marveille du Jour.


Large Wainscot

Green-brindled Crescent
Quality of photos is not too great, sorry!

Ina & Tony

Thursday 9 October 2014

Distribution Map for the Delicate

Following Liz's capture of a Delicate while on the 'Patricia' I had a look to see what Delicates had been caught here in Ceredigion.

The last sightings were in 2006 & 2008 at Ynyshir,  IBERS (Welsh Plant Breeding Station) and Bont Goch respectively.


Wednesday 8 October 2014

Intercepted at sea

The Delicate

Sorry Sarah, this one may have been on its way to you but it was attracted by the wall light in the dining room of a small ship travelling from Milford to Ilfracombe on Sunday evening.  The passage was in the face of strong southerlies so it was released on the Devon shore next day.
You can imagine that passengers and crew were either under-whelmed or bemused by this event  although the galley slave did volunteer the fact that there had been an owl on board the previous week; that might have elicited more interest I suppose.

Thursday 2 October 2014


After Ina's request, here's an attempt at showing you the various parts of the male genitalia, used for identifying species. I've annotated a moth identified today as Bryotropha similis, which is another county first for Ceredigion, along with politella the other day. Now politella is a much more exotic looking moth (I refer to its private parts), but see if you can find the equivalent parts from the notes and names on similis. Similis was found at Ynys-hir.
Key: Aedeagus is the phallus of the male
Thorn shield: this is one of the diagnostics and is a number of spikes comprising what is termed a thorn-shield. In similis it is supposed to be up to 100, although here it is over 100.
Gnathos: This supports the anal tube and its shape is another diagnostic
Sacculus: this forms the base of the valvae, which in themselves are 2 wing-like structures.
Vinculum: In Bryotrohas these often have a knee-cap shape and the lack of one in similis is another identifying feature

So to id it as similis, I counted the number of spikes in the thorn-shield, looked at the shape of the gnathos - in this case sharply bent and wider after the bend tapering to a point, the lack of a knee on the vinculum and finally the wing pattern of the adult moth. I used the key in MBGBI volume 4(2) plus an additional publication called The Genus Bryotropha in the Western Palearctic by Karsholt & Rutten.

The first image shows the parts with names, the second is the recent politella of Liz and the third, to help, is another politella from another county but in a shape that is similar to the similis, so it might be easier to relate them all.

Why are some backgrounds blue and others fawn? I choose what to make the background in the complex process of photographing microscopic parts and in some cases I feel that pale blue accentuates the features and in others fawn does the same. Rarely I will use a pale yellow.

Bryotropha similis Ynys-hir - Ina Smith
Bryotropa politella - Liz Snell
Bryotropha politella - from Bucks with aedeagus separated

Peter Hall

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Pale Tussock

For all you out there who like pretty things!
Found by Chloe wandering around Penglanowen today.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Pine carpet and others

The catches in the garden seem to have been on the poor side this year and we were wondering if it was related to the new street lights (or the fact that the leader of the bat group has recently moved in). As a small experiment we ran a trap in the garden and one in a nearby, unmaintained meadow out of reach of the street lights. Result was garden 14 moths of 11 species, meadow 23 moths of 8 species. Only Brimstone, Dusky thorn, and Spruce carpet occurred in both traps. Highlight was the Merveille du jour (see earlier post) with Angle shades the only possible migrant. There was also a pine carpet to add to my recent carpet moths.
Archips podana (F)
Large fruit-tree tortrix

Pine carpet
Tony & Ina

In need of a haircut?

I'm currently doing some identification work on micros for a number of the group. Of course, after Dave G's micro course, I'm expecting even more in the future. The varying shapes I encounter when dissecting never cease to amaze me. Some are really plain, but others, like the attached, actually very pretty. Liz is lucky enough to be the first to encounter this species in Ceredigion, but as micros are very under-recorded, the opportunity for fame is just outside your door if you look.
Bryotropha politella
This group of moths are rather plain and dull, but internally rather nice, with politella being the smartest of them all. If you have any micro-moths that need a name, contact Ina at first and from there they make their way over to me. Peter Hall

Merveille du Jour

Had to get this in quick.  Everyone likes the pretty ones and CMCs are not often posted but this one was in such good condition I could not resist a pic!  Maybe better photos later when Tony gets his camera out.
Merveille du Jour

Common Marbled Carpet

Sunday 28 September 2014

Autumnal carpets

Last night we ran two Heath traps in mixed woodland at Ynys-hir. We had 80 moths of 26 species. On the carpet front we had Spruce, Grey pine, Red-green, Autumn green, Common marbled, and Green. Also present were Brimstone, Light emerald, Pink-barred sallow, Sallow, Autumnal rustic, Snout, Oak hook-tip, Green-brindled crescent and a Willow beauty. In the micros were Twenty plume, Acleris Rhombana and emargana, Ypsolopha ustella and parenthesella.
Acleris rhombana

Acleris emargana

Grey pine carpet

Spruce carpet

Just to compare habitats we also put a trap in the garden and got 16 moths of 11 species. Ones we did not have in the woodland were Canary-shouldered thorn, Black rustic, Light brown apple moth, and Eudonia angustea.
Eudonia angustea
Tony & Ina