Monday, 24 March 2014

Bagworm hunt, Hardcastle Craggs, 24.3.14.

Brian and Andy get to work. The target species, which we found, was Diplodoma laichartingella, a rarely recorded species in Yorkshire but we suspect it is locally common in the area.These case-bearing larva are perhaps best found at this time of year in the characteristic hollows, slots and recesses around the base of Beech trees. A torch and kneeling mat are a necessity rather than a luxury.

Not surprisingly other lepidoptera were found including three of these Diurnea fagellas resting on the trunks.

It wasn't long before Brian relocated some of his earlier bagworm finds deep inside the hollows, often too deep and narrow to be able to get the camera close enough for some decent shots.

I would class myself as a reasonably experienced lepidopterist but even when I knew what I was looking at I could scarcely make out anything resembling a structure made by a moth larva. They resembled what they were I suppose, dried plant and animal debris. How Brian found these originally is remarkable.

I collected five cases for rearing purposes and all five contained larva.When disturbed they simply pick up their cases and walk off with them. Talk about everything apart from the kitchen sink on their backs!

The cases typically measure up to 10mm in length. The larvae will be given moss, lichen and some dead parasitic wasps ( that I'd reared earlier) to eat.

All in all we found 7 cases from Pecket Well clough and one from Middle Dean wood.
Thanks to Andy for the lift and Brian for his fantastic field skills.


AndyC said...

Great post and pics thanks Charlie.Its a real eye opener when you see the first one.I was well pleased to find 2 .WIll be having a look in the local beech wood soon....

Winston said...

wow great spotting