Sunday, 24 August 2008

August September Tips, a few to get you started !

1245 Grapholita janthinana
Distributed mainly in the southern half of England, this moth flies during the afternoon and early evening, and is at large during July and early August. The larva feeds in the berries of hawthorn (Crataegus), spinning two or three berries together with silk. The larva then leaves the spinning and spends the winter in a cocoon before pupating. I have been looking for this species in Calderdale since I was first shown by Adrian Wander how to recognize the spun together berries at a leaf mine event a couple of years back in Lancashire. At long last I found a few berries spun together in the typical fashion this morning whilst searching Hawthorn. There are some more superb images of the larvae on Ian Kimbers website taken by Ben Smart. Paul Talbot

1246 Grapholita tenebrosana

This species is widespread in Britain, but not frequently recorded. This may because it does not come readily to light. Records are more easily made by search for larvae in rose hips, and by assembling to pheromone lures intended for G. funebrana, obtainable from Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies.

The larvae feed in August and September on the hips of Dog rose (Rosa canina), other species of rose and, occasionally, the fruits of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia). The early instar larva eats a small entry hole surrounded by a brown spot, and makes mines under the surface, which are visible as brown lines. Later instars cause the skin of the hip to wrinkle and go deep purple, sometimes with frass extruding through the sides. Larvae are shining pale yellow, tinged red dorsally. The larva leaves the fruit in October and over winters in a spun hibernaculum. Pupation, in dead wood or under bark, is from April to June.I have to admit I have never managed to rear this species from Rose Hips I have collected over the years; so perhaps it’s not that common in my area. I do however rear huge numbers of Pictured Winged flies (Diptera Otitidae) every year, so at least I get something for my trouble. I tend to pick any Rose Hips that look wrinkled or have gone a purplish colour; the healthy hips stay bright red even well into winter. Paul Talbot

The silken cases of Coleophora striatipennella can be found at the moment on Common Mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum). Usually they are attached to the end of the seed capsule, but sometimes they go right in so that only the tip of the case projects from the capsule. There is an unsolved puzzle in the life history of this species. It has two food-plants. Lesser Stitchwort starts to flower around the beginning of June, much later than Mouse-ear, but the moth can often be found flying in mid-May. These early individuals must lay their eggs on Mouse-ear. The moths continue to fly until the beginning of July. On several occasions I have had fresh specimens coming to light in mid-August, which strongly suggests a small second brood. However, I have yet to obtain August moths from cases found in July, and I never find cases in June (probably I haven't looked hard enough). So it remains uncertain whether the August specimens are a second brood or just late individuals of a protracted emergence.The only British Coleophora known to be double-brooded is C. alcyonipennella (C. frischella). Martin Corley

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) flowers are attractive to micros. Not just the species with larvae feeding on the tansy, but others (mostly Agriphila straminella) but also Argyresthias, Momphas etc. I'd be interested to hear if anyone gets anything and if so what. Best time is on a warm evening towards sunset. The flowers have a solvent smell - don't smoke near them! Martin Corley.

This week I have two micros which rather rarely come to light, but are easy to find as larvae, easy to rear and obligingly hatch in the autumn. And I have two others, both dayflying species, which have to be kept overwinter as larvae.Mompha jurassicella (formerly subdivisella) larvae feed in the stems of Epilobium hirsutum (Great Hairy Willowherb), allegedly preferring plants in waste places rather than those in wet places. Snap a stem in half. If it is plain green inside, move on and snap another one. If the larva has fed in the stem there will be a brown line running up most of the length of the stem. If you don't find signs of larval activity in the first half dozen stems, it probably isn't present. Pupation took place here about 10th August. If you keep snapping the upper part of the stem, you should be able to narrow down the location of the pupa, preferably without actually exposing it. On the outside of the stem there will be a 1 mm circle (usually at a node I think) which is the emergence hole, covered with just the epidermis. Sections of stem about 15 cm long can be stored until the moths emerge in September. The distribution of this species is still very incompletely known. The species was rediscovered and its larval behaviour discovered by Phil Sterling and John Langmaid in 1988.Acrolepia autumnitella larvae are feeding at the moment in large blotches in the leaves of Solanum dulcamara (Woody nightshade). They leave the mines to make an elegant cocoon. The moths hatch in late September or October. The larvae of the attractive little gelechiids Chrysoesthia drurella and C. sexguttella both mine the leaves of Chenopodium (Goosefoot) and Atriplex (Orache) species. The mines are quite different, drurella has a green zig-zagging or spiralling gallery mine, sexguttella has a whitish blotch mine.These plants also often have yellow blotch mines made by a dipteran, often several larvae to a blotch. Unlike most leafminers, the larvae will change leaves. This sometimes happens naturally producing incomplete mines. The larvae leave the mines when full fed and spin up for the winter. In spring they pupate, but drurella leaves its cocoon in order to pupate. I have had sexguttella emerge during the winter (I don't know when - I just found them dead at the beginning of April). They can be successfully overwintered in a suitable container in an unheated room or outhouse.Both species are mainly dayflying. Eventually I think they will be put in different genera. The similarities of life history have led to them being treated as close relatives, but there the similarity ends. Martin Corley

So perhaps I could join the 'This Week's Tip Club' and recommend thatpeople look for the larvae of palealis in the umbels of Wild Carrot. Theycan be found both by searching and by sweeping. Southern counties arethe best place to look but it is possibly breeding as far north asLeicestershire now. Tony Davies...this was some years back by Tony and they may be in Yorkshire now, though I am not sure if Wild Carrot occurs anywhere locally ?

A small but rather attractive species, having a buff ground colour streaked whitish and with darker speckling. Its distribution covers the southern half of England, with the odd record further north. It frequents generally damper habitats, and flies during June and again in August and September.The larvae feed in the seedheads of a number of plants, most notably common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) and golden samphire (Inula crithmoides).

The flowers of fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) are worth looking at for the little gelechiid moths Apodia bifractella and Ptocheuusa paupella. They can be found on the flowers in early evening sunshine.

905 Blastodacna hellerellaA fairly distinctive moth which occurs throughout England and parts of Scotland. The moth is to be found in woodland margins, parks and gardens, where hawthorn Crataegus is to be found. The adult is nocturnal, and flies during June and July, when it can be attracted by light. The larvae burrow into the berries. I thought I would try a few berries & nuts tips to try and be seasonal now that autumn is now almost upon us. Judging by the sheer abundance of acorns and Hawthorn berries locally here in Calderdale then its going to be a bumper fruiting season. I found several occupied berries on Hawthorn (Crataegus) this morning on my walk. Ian Kimber and I noted a couple of year’s back that the supposed signs of a larva inside the berries of the small blackened hole (see photo) is not always a sure sign of an occupied berry. We looked mainly at berries that looked slightly discolored or felt soft when gently (very, very gently!) squeezed and that 99% of such berries contained a larva when carefully opened. To rear through: simply collect a couple of dozen berries you think are occupied and then add a couple of dozen unoccupied berries to a net bag made from old tights or pop socks and tie to a sheltered spot in a hedge or behind the shed in the garden. In May I then simply cut open the bag, popped the by now shriveled berries into a lidded container and awaited the emergence of adults. I had 7 adults emerge in late June. I assume that the larvae pupate in leaf debris in the wild, but they seem to pupate quite happily amongst the old berries, although I did not look too closely at the time for pupa/cocoons. Paul Talbot

I have listed the name of the person who first posted these tips on UK Moths over the years but make no claim to anyone named as the originator of the tip...most of us pinched them from Tutt ! If you manage to rear any Charly would you please send me the images if you don't post them on the blog ? I have literally hundreds of such tips stored over the years so if you wish I will post some more now and then ? I will also dig out the file Ian Smith kindly sent me some years back with lepidoptera on ragwort....its stuffed with goodies and lots of it at Cromwell Bottom.


charly streets said...

Keep em coming Paul so far as I'm concerned, I don't know what other bloggers think. Just a note of caution though in that for me (and probably others), to find and identify many of the plants mentioned is an achievement in itself let alone producing adult moths. I'll certainly give some of the "easier" species a go, like the hawthorn ones, but it seems quite a steep learning curve without somebody to show the way - I'm still getting to grips with the leafminers.I'll keep you posted of any successes.

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Hi Charly
Most plants are quite easy if you get a copy of The Flora of Halifax by the Scientific Soc (Colin Duke might be able to supply them ?) as locations are given for all plants listed in the book. You can then use the links on the blog home page for free piccies of the plants. I have found a new species to me today on Common Fleabane (Pulvaria Dysenterica), I am hoping it might be 386a Tebenna micalis, but I have to do some more work on the specimens I brought back to confirm