As we travel widely during the summer
looking for insects to photograph, Roger Edmondson and I have decided to put a
record of our more interesting finds on this website.
New entries are not always entered in date order so please check
for changes by clicking on 'What's new' on the home page.
Back in July 2012 Roger
discovered Cosmopterix pulchrimella leaf mines on Pellitory-of-the-Wall
at a site near Mevagissey in Cornwall. We reared them through and they produced
adults just a few weeks later in early August.
While we were visiting the same site on
12th August this year Roger found them again and I decided to rear
one through to see if I could get better pictures of this small
The next day at home I was surprised to
find that there were three larvae on the small sprig of the plant that I had
brought home, and the leaf containing the original larva was almost totally
mined and the larva was sitting on its surface.
A second slightly smaller larva was
still in the mined base of another leaf and a third tiny larva was within one of
the axillary buds at the base of a leaf.
While photographing the largest (3.5mm)
larva I realised that it was chewing the leaf surface, and while I watched it
started to re-enter the mine as you can see in the three pictures below.
The day after photographing the larva
re-entering the leaf mine, I discovered it had formed a new mine in the leaf
containing the second larva, and had already mined nearly half of the leaf tip.
Top of leaf: An initial mine containing
a larva. Right of leaf: The larva in a secondary mine.
17 days later on 30th
August, an adult emerged from the larger mine in the picture above. This moth
had a forewing length of about 4mm.
The species was first discovered in
2001 in Dorset and is now found at many sites along the south coast from
Cornwall to Sussex , the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Wight and also
at inland sites in southern England. The moth was previously known from
the Channel Islands.
In captivity adults have emerged from
mines in late winter. Wild adults have been recorded in June and there are many
sightings of adults in late autumn, so the species may be continually brooded.
26th July 2017
On Thursday 20th July, Roger
and I set out on a mothing trip to Suffolk. We had booked a farm cottage for a
week at Sudbourne, which is about a mile inland from Orford Ness. Although the
cottage was booked from the 21st, we decided
to leave a day early and travel the scenic route to get there, via Dungeness in
During the evening we trapped in some
woodland near Ashford, Kent, but did not have much luck, as by midnight the temperature
had dropped to 9C and the moths were only trickling in, so we decided to
continue our journey to Dungeness and then try and get a couple of hours sleep
in the van.
We had pre-arranged to be present when
the wardens at the bird observatory were opening their two MV traps at 6.00 am.
Despite a cool windy night there were
several moths in the traps that neither Roger or myself had seen before,
including local specialities such as Ethmia bipunctella, Coleophora galbulipennella,
Cynaeda dentalis, Pigmy Footman, Langmaid's Yellow Underwing and
a Toadflax Brocade. There were also some migrants in their fridge from the
previous night, including a Pale Shoulder and a Scarce Bordered
We were already happy with the number
of new moths photographed, as we had already agreed that we would
be very pleased if we gained photos of half a dozen new macro-moths during the
After leaving the observatory we
travelled on to a local private residence where we had been told by the wardens
that we would be welcomed if we visited and said we were interested in moths. As
it happened we were a bit early and decided to return an hour later.
As forecasted we received a warm
welcome. On opening the traps we saw a large number of
Pigmy Footman and I was very pleased to be able to photograph my first Pale
Grass Eggar. Again there were migrants in the fridge. This time two Speckled
Footman and a Tamarisk Peacock (the latter moth and one of the footman were
caught by other local moth recorders).
It was still only mid-morning when we
left to continue our journey up to Suffolk. After this success we were wondering
whether we should have booked a place to stay in the Dungeness area.
After a slow journey across the
Dartford pass we got off of the M25 and travelled relatively quickly on to our
Despite poor weather (either clear cold
nights, wind or rain), we trapped every night and were rewarded with Agdistis
bennetii at three sites, Donacaula_mucronellus, two
Lackey at three sites including a female in the garden of the cottage where we were
staying, Plain Pug, Bordered Pug, a rather worn Star-wort that Roger
found by searching Ragwort blooms, Tawny Shears and two Lesser-spotted
Perhaps our most exciting night was the
warmest, but also the windiest night of the week which was the 26th
July. It was so windy that we decided that we would not leave an MV running in
the garden as we had on the other nights, but to leave a 20w compact UV
fluorescent hung up in a sheltered downstairs window at the back of the house.
On this particular night we were going
to the coast to a site where Tree-lichen Beauty had been caught regularly in the
Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae
Our first task on arrival at the site
was to find some shelter from the wind as it was blowing along the beach. We
found some scrub and set up three compact fluorescent UV lights on sheets with
egg boxes stacked around the lights. Within a short while Roger had caught the
first Tree-lichen Beauty. It was in very
good condition and we were impressed by its colour as it was a blue-green (shown
above). The pictures we had seen in books and on the internet showed a more
The first moth was followed by three
more, none of which were so blue-green. By midnight the wind had changed direction and
we were no longer sheltered, so we decide to pack up and go back to the cottage.
On our return we were amazed to see
just how successful the light in the window had been. The temperature was still
about 18C, and in the shelter from the wind the moths had flocked to the light.
Imagine our surprise at the irony of
finding two Tree-lichen Beauty at the window. Whether these were migrant
moths or local residents we will never know, but they were accompanied by
several common migrants including singles of Diamond-back Plutella xylostella,
Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis, Rush Veneer Nomophila
noctuella, Silver Y and two White-point .
White-point Mythimna albipuncta