Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Micro Larval Life

My rearing tubs have not been too successful this year, must be getting on for 70% parasitised. Great if you want to rear the parasites, but I was more interested in getting the larvae up to an identifiable instar. Anyway, I have more including a number of micro larvae from Burrow Wood on Sunday. More for ease than aesthetics, I pointed the USB microscope at them.

This one is certainly Eana incanana - feeding in spinnings on bluebell flowers.

This one is probably Epinotia brunnichana - feeding in a leaf-roll on hazel

Nah, absolutely no idea

Again, no idea. Actually this one may even be an early instar macro

Coleophorid sp. that I found feeding on oak, though here it had moved onto a birch leaf. I'm sure it must be either C. lutipennella or C. flavipennella

Also from Burrow Wood, I brought home a tenanted Eriocrania type leaf mine on birch, though by the time I got home the larva had vacated the mine. Through a process of elimination I've identified it as Heringocrania unimaculella: large blotch mine from edge of leaf with no linear gallery (so not salopiella or sparmannella), larva not grey (so not sangii), larva without swollen thoracic segments (so not cicatricella), protrusions from head-capsule visible through thoracic plate (so not semipurpurella).

Heringocrania unimaculella (=Eriocrania unimaculella)

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Genitalia News

So back in March I posted about spending time around birches on Kinchley Lane, and then in April I went out trapping at Fox Covert, Ulverscroft. On both occasions I potted Eriocrania spp. that would need gen det, but I was hopeful of getting something new from at least one if not both of these outings. Well I got the results today, and I'm very pleased indeed.

Eriocrania semipurpurella - Kinchley Lane 28/03/2019

Pleased with this one as I'd provisionally identified it as semipurpurella. There are only ten previous VC55 records; three I'm not sure of the validity and the rest are all from the same recorder where I am sure specimens will have been retained/checked.


Eriocrania salopiella - Fox Covert 18/04/2019

Even better, as effectively this is a VC55 first. There is one unconfirmed record that will certainly not be supported by a specimen or anything verifiable. Ironically, today around two hours before my gen dets came through Adrian Russell found leaf-mines of this species that he was banking on being the first confirmed record!

Eriocrania sangii (ish)- Fox Covert 18/04/2019

Or at least it probably is. Unfortunately this was a female so gen det not conclusive. I've seen sangii before so nothing lost with this one remaining unconfirmed.


Also amongst the gen dets, my garden Ocnerostoma friesei (another British Tick) was confirmed, and both of the following were new for me too ...

Phyllonorycter sorbi - Fox Covert 18/04/2019

Phyllonorycter lantanella - Fox Covert 18/04/2019


So all in all a very worthwhile batch of gen dets!

Monday, 20 May 2019

Another Tacky Tick

A new one for the garden, and me, in the trap last night ......

Tachystola acroxantha

The only one I've seen before was a partly emaciated and very dead specimen from a fly killer catch tray, which at the time was one of the first VC55 records. It's become quite common and widespread in the VC since then so probably a bit overdue.

In the same trap, another garden first - albeit just a form:

Clouded-bordered Brindle ab. combusta

And whilst I'm at it, this Muslin Moth from Saturday night is slightly abberrant, and I've seen a number of similarly marked individuals on various groups this year so perhaps an effect of the heatwave last summer?

Muslin Moth

An I guess I'll throw in this throw-away shot of a Common Swift. Not sure I've ever got a photo of this and most swifts that I'm happy with - they dither about a lot!

Common Swift

Sunday, 19 May 2019

A Five-tick Day

This morning I headed back over to Burrow Wood, the great bluebell wood near to Charnwood Lodge. I had only one intention, and that was to sweep through the bluebells in a very single-minded fashion trying to record a nice moth. I scored!

Hysterophora maculosana

I was lucky to pick one up after only three or four sweeps, but I then spent well over an hour sweeping through the wood - albeit sticking to the path - before I got another. On the way out of the wood I then netted another two in flight around bluebells in an open sunny glade. With only two previous records for VC55, both of singles, it's good to add another dot to the map. And another moth on my list!

The time spent sweeping bluebells was, though, amazingly productive. On every sweep there were masses of click beetles, loads of Phyllobius type weevils and a load of 'acorn' weevils, along with quite a few micro larvae (Eana incanana?) and a few macro larvae (??) and plenty of other bugs and beetles. It's not like there was lots of tall vegetation around the bluebells - this was all stuff actually on the bluebells.

I've potted a few clicks to try and check out, but I avoided most of the Phyllobius-type weevils apart from a small golden-green one and a couple that were brown and variegated. Turned out to be a good move as both were new for me!

Polydrysus tereticollis - two different individuals

Phyllobius argentatus

Showing femoral tooth, pale tibia, rounded scales and white hairs

I also had a plant tick in the wood. Whilst sweeping about I noticed these small yellow flowers, which I've worked out are ...

Yellow Pimpernel

I potted up a couple of acorn weevils, and confirmed both species were as expected ..

Curculio venosus - just about showing elytral 'ridge'

Curculio glandium

Showing the antennal club of Curculio glandium - narrow and tapered

Also in the wood was this stiltbug, which I actually found sitting out on hazel.

Metatropis rufescens

The other tick today was a garden hoverfly - Baccha elongata - and to be honest I think I've seen it here before but not logged it. No photo though, hopefully another one will come along when I am avec camera.

I have a few other bits but they'll wait so I don't overload this post, but before I get back to the microscopes and literature here's one especially for Seth Gibson: I don't even have to look for Scarce Fungus Weevil any more, this one landed on me whilst walking down the lane to the farm shop this afternoon!

(Really Not Very) Scarce Fungus Weevil

Clicks, bugs and cantharids waiting ......

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Not Overdue - Small Phoenix

Back in 2017 I posted about Small Phoenix being overdue, and how that was odd as it is such a common species. Last year I had the third garden record at just around the time when a brief spell of blogging enthusiasm waned .......

Anyway, I had another one last night which triggered the memory. I should be pleased that as it has turned up in consecutive years it may becoming a garden regular. Then I realised that the first two garden records were in 2001 and 2002. But it really should be on every yearlist I've ever generated here!

Small Phoenix - 14/05/2019, fourth garden record

Small Phoenix - 20/05/2018, third garden record

Monday, 13 May 2019

Mega emargination

I managed to nip over to Huncote Embankment yesterday for a very pleasant and leisurely morning, beating the living whatsit out of hawthorn, oak and hazel and sweeping grasses and vegetation. I found quite a few nice but common beetles, bugs and moths, plus a load of larvae that I'm feeding up a bit before trying to ID. However top billing goes to a very dull brown groundbug.

Megalonotus emarginatus - a nice British tick for me

Note the pale tibia, hairy and coursely punctured pronotum - especially on the posterior. Also note the large and obvious protruding corners of the pronotum on the hind margin. What you can't notice is the large single spine on the underside of the front femora, with a few much smaller and less obvious spines. Not without looking anyway.


I also had a weevil tick, Ceutorhynchus obstrictus, but that was too small and mobile for me to get a shot. Unlike this round motionless blob which was the least common ladybird that plopped out of the many beaten hawthorns ....

Pine Ladybird

The garden trap was a little busier last night, though the biggest excitement came when I turned an egg tray and just about jumped out of my skin as I'd just about poked a massive female Hornet. Hornets are regular and just about bearable 'mothing villains' (another old thread) if you're trapping in decent woodland or other suitable habitat where you might expect the odd one. I have had a couple of occasions where a trap was fizzing with masses of them which is quite scary. But, in 20 years of garden trapping this is the first one here - and I hope it's not a forbearer of more regular visits!



Other more regular moth trap fare were ...

Garden Carpet

Nutmeg - a much browner individual than I usually see. I think. I may have forgotten.

Scalloped Hazel