15 May, 2014

Walking with moths

I woke up late yesterday afternoon bright and early yesterday morning to the sight of a single Common Marbled Carpet on my bedroom window.  Not only was this first moth to grace our halls of residence since last September, but it was also the first moth I'd seen so far this week, which considering it's now mid-May, is an unforgivable disgrace.

With the weather being nice and all, I decided to take a break from the 2,500 word essay I'm currently knee-deep in to head out into the local Worcestershire countryside, armed with nothing but a camera and a sweep net.

No listing was done, and no 'tricky' species were taken back for further examination, but I reckon that I must have encountered at least 40 species of lepidoptera within the limits of a square mile or two. The hedges and grasses were teeming with micro moth activity, and it was absolutely fantastic to see. For me, there really is no better way to clear the mind than to aimlessly wander along hedgerows in search of moths, as sad as that may sound...

Aethes smeathmanniana

Aspilapteryx trigipennella

Cauchas rufimitrella- one of many micro moths to have recently receive a name change in the latest checklist.

Alabonia geoffrella, a truly Hepburn-esque moth with a scientific name that definitely doesn't do it justice.

Phyllonorycter muelleriella- this nationally scarce species was abundant on just about every oak searched.

Micropterix aruncella- several of these minute gems were mixed in with the very abundant M. calthella.

It seemed rude not to miss out the larval stages, without which there would be no adult moth (... obviously). I don't usually focus on early stages until the autumn, when leaf-mines generally become more noticeable, but there are caterpillars of some description to be found all year around...

Coleophora serratella, feeding on a Hazel leaf within it distinctive larval case.

The colourful caterpillar of Aphelia paleana, feeding on Cleavers. 

1 comment:

Ali said...

Nice collection. Makes me think of my reserve's nice long hedge!