Wednesday, 14 May 2008

May Tips

Hi all

Sorry for my lack of contributions this month, but my proposed move to Wales is at last happening AND despite the supposed recession we are suffering my book business is booming, thus not much time for bug hunting.

Two easy to find larvae now are Orchestes fagi (bottom photo) a beetle leaf miner of Beech the mines are very distinctive AND no lepidopterous mines occur on beech before this species. You should find these now on any Beech you look over.
Top photo is of an opened grass stalk and show the larva of a tortrix moth called,Timothy Tortrix (Aphelia paleana). The larvae are around now in a wide variety of spun vegetation such as Hogweed, Plantain, etc but I most often find them in the spun together top of a blade of one the tall coarse grasses like the one shown. You should be able to find these in just about any area of rough ground in Calderdale. When you find such larval spinnings open them carefully over a container of some sort as the larvea casn move at an amazing speed and dissapear rapidly once exposed to light.

A good tip to see if the larvea you have found is one of the micro moths as opposed to a macro moth is to apply the "tickle test". You gently touch or tickle the larvea at either end, micro larvae can move back and forwards with equal speed, macro larvae tend to move forward or curl up. Two useful bits of kit to take with are a small artists paint brush (the kind you can buy for a few pence in pound shops) and some womens eyebrow tweezers. The tweezers are excellant for opening small spun bits of vegetation or nettles and the paint brush for gently picking up small larvae. I will try and get some shots of my kit bag I take out most days when bug hunting. Apart from a camera and hand lens most of my kit comes from Wilkinsons or Pound shops, so its not expensive to build up a useful field bag to take on trips.

I will try and make some time in the next few days to find and photograph some Coleophorid case which should be around now on many trees. Hopefully I can upload with some more hints and tips later this week or early next week.

1 comment:

charly streets said...

Looking forward to the coleophora pics.,they seem an interesting group to study so although I've been researching them it's always good to know which are about locally.
The four heather larvae we collected are still feeding well :-(( ,all very distinctive from one another and hopefully the coleophoras will emerge in the next few days.