Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Garden Dart - Confirmed

After sending a specimen of Garden Dart to Charlie Fletcher we have now had it confirmed that they are what we thought - this is quite remarkable as there are very few recent records for the whole of Yorkshire, and all of those have been in the extreme south. Over the last 3 years I have had 51 here at Pellon and Brian has had a few last year at Walsden so the challenge is now on to find some more...........


AndyC said...

it would also be a good thing to find the food plant as i am sure we could try ad protected the area.

AndyC said...

and also well done,the most regular place in yorkshire to see garden dart is in your back garden in pellon.....top moffing

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Well done Martyn & Brian. Its nice to have something scarce in Yorkshire other than moths in general :-))

As I mentioned in an earlier post I think this gives you guys a real chance of doing some good work on why it occurs in some numbers it seems in your particular area given its scarcity in Yorkshire.

PBM Allan in his book Larval Foodplants gives the following pabulum:
Purple Clover
Dutch Clover
Greater Plantain
Ribwort Plantain
Cow Parsnip (Hog weed)
and.. widely polyphagous on herbacous plants.

Its seems lack of foodplant is not the issue so what is ? A thought on this is that perhaps its the same problem that has been suggested for the decline of Garden Tiger, warm mild wet winters folowed by a prolonged cold snap in Spring kiling the newly active larvae ? The life cycle is that it overwinters as an egg and then hatches quite early in Febuary in mild years. Developing slowly and then pupating in June. Are you near any allotments Martyn as this is sugested as a good breeding ground for the species ? It might be worthwhile trying to get any females at light to lay eggs to rear through to confirm its ecology in Calderdale.

oldsoulrebel said...

Hi Paul,
yes, I'm about 100 yards from the allotments above Spring Hall Lane Reservoir

just as a matter of intrest I had 22 in 2006, 20 in 2007 and have had 10 so far this year. I usually catch 1-2 but have had 3 on two occasions. I usually get them from early August until mid-September but have had one as early as 26th July 2006 and 28th September 2006.

I used to think it was the light I was using (the round Actinic from Paul Batty) but this year I have also been using a MV on alternate nights and have caught five with this

How would I know if it was a female I caught?

I don't mind anyone having a look at any I catch but killing 1 for a specimen is enough

Brian had three last year and one this year if I remember correctly and I would think the dark Dart spp Nick Dawtrey had was probably a Garden Dart as some do appear very dark


Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Hi Martyn
I think something like 99% of all moths attracted to lights are males, not sure if this the exact number buts its mainly males at light. Thats one reason its no big deal taking the odd voucher specimen at light as most are males and thus expendable in the great scheme of things.

The females of most moths have a much wider abdomen, sort of fatter looking if that makes sense. It might be a good idea to try and find the larvae by torchlight in early spring, say March time when they come out to feed. You could then rear some through and obtain a female for the emerging moths.

I think its fascinating that it only seems to occur in some numbers here in Upper (?) Calderdale. Both Porter and PBM Allan suggest its common in agricultural areas, so why not round Charlie Fletchers stomping ground around Ripon/Harrogate where there is much farming and a milder climate ?

You guys really ought to sort out some larval hunting trips at night next season as its always the best time to find them in large numbers of most species. The only specimin of Southern Wainscot that ian Kimber and I ever had in Calderdale was found as a larvae feeding on Typha at Cromwell Bottom. I nipped off from the light for a pee and spotted the larvae by torchlight munching its way up a Typha leaf ! We never had a single adult to light.