28 October, 2014

Durlston moths

I recently joined Steve Whitehouse and Matthew Deans for an impromptu moth-trapping session at Durlston Country Park, slap-bang on the Dorset coast. The wind was howling and the rain was relentless, but this being my first experience of coastal trapping, things couldn't have been more exciting.

Moths didn't really start arriving until after midnight (understandable considering that some had taken off from the other side of the English Channel), but the ones that did certainly knew how to impress. I was particularly keeping my eye out for Palpita vitrealis, a large and unmistakable migrant from southern Europe and a bit of an exotic show-stopper. After scouring the traps for hours without any luck, a total of 4 dropped in after between 2am and 3 am. Classic.

Palpita vitrealis


Oak Rustic

Mecyna asinalis

The Durston Castle garden- no stranger to bright lights and weird men swigging Red Bull...

14 October, 2014


It's that time of year when people like picking things off vegetation, and it's no different for lepidopterists. Leaf-mines (feeding chambers created by the larvae of insects) are at their most apparent in autumn as caterpillars feed-up before pupating in leaf-litter, ready to emerge next spring.

In the world of moths, leaf-mines are highly regarded. The patterns created and the tree species with which the mine is associated are unique to each species, meaning that larval workings provide the most hassle-free method of identifying many otherwise problematic groups (i,e. genus Stigmella & Phyllonorycter).

Some are harder to find than others, but rummage through a large deciduous tree and you'll quickly tally up a good list of species...

Stigmella tityrella on Beech

Stigmella oxyacanthella on Hawthorn

Stigmella hybnerella on Hawthorn

Stigmella anomalella on Rose

Leaf-mining at the foot of the Malvern Hills

It was foggy