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

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

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.


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.

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.


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

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.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Microscopes (1970s) Free to a Good Home

An amateur naturalist who died earlier this year left two Russian microscopes (1970s), with box of slides and associated equipment. The equipment comprises:

BM-51-2. Binocular microscope with 0.7x objective and 12.5x eyepiece. In case, with booklet and certificate.
MBR-1E microscope with eyepieces 7x, 10x and 15x. In homemade case.
A. C. Lighting Unit (in box)
Box containing microscope lenses, mirror, etc.
Tin containing slides, coverslips, watch glasses, syringe, etc.
Stand (for electric light)
Box of "Microscopic Preparations" (histological, embryological, etc. slides)

The microscopes are free to a good home if anyone would find them useful, but are not to be sold.

 Anyone wanting the microscopes would have to collect them from Aberbanc.

Please get in touch by emailing me


Sunday 9 October 2016

Merveille du Jour plus a few others

Sarah has beaten us to it with Blair's Shoulder-knot and Carcina quercana in time and quality of photo too.
Fifteen macro and two micros still left for us to record - but what the Robin was flying off with as we approached will have to remain a mystery.  Obviously it had eaten all the rare ones ;-)
We were left with a Merv though which are always good to see. Six Black Rustics in excellent condition, another favourite, and three Green-brindled Crescent.

Ina and Tony
Spruce Carpet

Blair's Shoulder-knot

Red-green Carpet

Black Rustic

Green-brindled Crescent

Merveille du Jour

Yellow-line Quaker

Common Marbled Carpet

Carcina quercana

Square-spot Rustic

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Cors Fochno

A very blustery evening turned in to a fairly quiet morning for checking the traps on Cors Fochno. We had 58 moths of 16 species, 29 of them were Pink-barred sallow, 11 Red-line quaker and 4 Silver Y were the most numerous. The others were Sallow, Canary-shouldered thorn, Black rustic, Angle shades, Lesser yellow underwing, Large yellow underwing, Chestnut, Small wainscot, Common marbled carpet, Chevron (very faded), Light brown apple moth, Rusty-dot pearl, and Epinotia sordidana/caprana.
Pink-barred sallow and Red-line quaker
Tony & Ina

Thursday 29 September 2016

Prochoreutis myllerana

This turned up in my trap on Aug 24th and I took notice because I like Nettle taps and this one was small and very bright.  Peter Hall very kindly did the deed and confirmed that it was this one and not sehestediana which has been found once before in Cere I think.
There is some skullcap down on the bog only 500m away so I'm lucky it came up to my trap instead of Tillo's Roth trap close by…though it unfortunately shared the same fate anyway.

Apparently there has been a late blooming of Anthophila fabriciana in Somerset with large numbers seen recently. I saw one a few days ago on ragwort down at the Llanon beach carpark but it wasn't as pretty as this.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Scalloped Hazel caterpillar?

I think this is the scarce green lichen form of the Scalloped hazel caterpillar.  Climbing into a crevice or down the trunk* on a birch along the railway line Cors Caron tonight so apologies for the photo: it was so dark!  It is the end of its larval period so looks fat enough to pupate.
 * Can't tell which is the front end!

Monday 26 September 2016

Leafmines - Cwm Clettwr and Cors Fochno

As mentioned in my previous post four of us went leafmining yesterday and came back with approximately fifty species from the two locations.  Not all mines, some larvae, pupae and a couple of adults too. Ten or so of these will need to be bred through to be sure of the species.
Tischeria ekebladella on Oak

Phyllonorycter sorbi on Rowen

Clouded Magpie larva on ?Elm
Does anyone have any idea on this as yet unidentified larva, still happily eating it's way through the leaf as I type.  Hairy and similar to some plume larva but a little too big I think.