Sunday, 13 April 2008

April Larval tip 1...Aspilapteryx tringipennella


I shall now post some tips of what to look for in the coming weeks as and when I get the chance depending on work and my move to Wales. Most of the tips will be related to the larval stages of micros as that is my own entomological passion. All will be of species I have found previously in Calderdale or I expect to be found in Calderdale. Its would help records for the area if people do have a look for these as in many instances I may only have found them near my home in Elland and have no idea of their distribution or otherwise in Calderdale.
The larva should now be around in some numbers in the next few weeks of Aspilapteryx tringipennella in Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata), a very common "weed " of waste ground throughout Calderdale. As can be seen from the photo (courtesy of Ian Kimber) the larvae which have over wintered in the rootstock of the plant are by now spinning closed the plant leaf near the midrib causing it to close and form a "blister". Should you gently pull open one of these you will either find a larva feeding or a pupa. If you look at the bottom of the blister and see a small hole it means the adult has emerged. If the hole is covered with fine silk it means the pupa is still inside. The adults emerge through these pre-chewed holes when they emerge. This is a very easy larvae to find as I suspect it will occur right through Calderdale wherever the plant occurs. Look first on dry sheltered spots that get at least some sunshine in early spring. I will be amazed if you do not find it.

I used to have a favourite patch of Ribwort Plantain at Cromwell Bottom on Brookfoot loop. I used to bag this species every year first in this spot. Unfortunately its now been either dug up or buried under spoil from the 4 metre wide track being created around that part of the LNR. Even more ironically the one spot in all Calderdale in which I could guarantee to the males of Ghost Moth "leking" every year awaiting females was also in the now destroyed spot previously mentioned . This is even sadder as Ghost Moth is a LBAP species in Calderdale and its not been even protected on a Nature reserve !
So in one area of a LNR which is supposed to be protected and monitored we have lost colonies of:
Aspilapteryx tringipennella
Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli
Leucoptera spartifoliella

4 comments:

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Andy C
Could you give me editing privileges as I have several useful links to upload which will help with ID'ing Plants and Larvae found.

drepana said...

Hi Paul
fascinating stuff on your Larvae id posts. i struggle to find the foodplants let alone the larvae sometimes. I will now look out for these signs on plantain.

AndyC said...

I think you now have privileges Paul.

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

New links to plant ID data bases and larval ID, etc now loaded on the front page in the links section