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

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Dayglo Snails, Larval Tales, Orchids and Garden Moths

I've got a couple of garden trap summaries to catch up on, but first some rambling nonsense about garden snails, orchids and larvae.

You may remember that last year (way back on 14/06/2009) we marked up some Garden Snails so that the kids could track them over a few days. This was initially a total failure as the snails disappeared and we forgot about them. Then in August they popped up again .. see:

Snails Pace
More Marked Mollusc Mumblings

After this I stopped noticing them again and forgot about them over the winter. On Sunday night, after the rain earlier in the day, I went out to check the moth traps and noticed a lot of snails on the lawn. A quick check and bugger me - there was Orange-spot ..

Orange-spot

After a quick photo I chucked it back into the border. Half an hour later, another trap check and more snails. Another search and unbelievably I also found Yellow-stripe and Pink-spot. No sign of Orange-stripe though.

Yellow-stripe

Pink-spot

This is obviously not unique science, but I'm pleased to have proven that:

- dayglo nail-varnish is a robust marking method for shelled molluscs
- Garden Snails are sedentary

As for their longevity, the are several conflicting possibilities ..

- colour marked snails are not more susceptible to predation
- there are not enough snail predators visiting my garden
- colour marked snails are avoided by predators (inadvertent aposematism)

If nothing else, it is amazing that in a year I have managed to avoid treading on at least 3 of 4 colour marked snails! I think we'll mark a few more up with different (more subtle) colours to see if we can establish anything more.


A bit earlier on Sunday evening after we got home from The North, I checked on the Emperor caterpillars - they were big, fat and alive but foodless and in need of a big sprig of fresh sallow. I nipped down the lane to get some, nosing around the hedgerow on the way as you do. I quickly found a Magpie Moth caterpillar on hawthorn - nice! I collected it and the sallow and headed back home. Whilst sorting the sallow I found a Common Quaker caterpillar already feeding on it. Two more larvae to try and rear through.

Magpie Moth

Common Quaker

The only emergences over the weekend were four coleophorids from the hawthorn collected on 11/05/2010. Inspection of the tarsal segments, general appearance and recheck on the cases (tri-valved) confirmed them to be Coleophora spinella (Apple and Plum Case-bearer) - a new one for me.


Yesterday evening I nipped over to Huncote Embankment with Josh to look for various flowering plants in support of his 'Naturalist' Cubs Badge. Amongst them we found just a couple of Bee Orchids. They weren't the best either, being a bit washed-out looking on the petals.

Bee Orchid

Last year on I found quite a few at the same site on 3rd June - either the winter has not been to their liking or the site is quickly becoming non-ideal for them?


Before heading north on Friday, the traps were out on the Thursday night. Not a bad catch at all with several new for the year species. Trouble was that knowing I was going to be away I didn't pot anything up for photos - nothing too unusual or exciting anyway.

03/06/2010
98 of 48sp (125W MV 45 of 31, 80W actinic 53 of 30)

First for year in garden:
0787 Bryotropha terrella 1
1333 Scoparia pyralella 1
1458 Thistle Ermine (Myelois circumvoluta) 1
1808 Sandy Carpet (Perizoma flavofasciata) 2
1827 Freyer's Pug (Eupithecia intricata arceuthata) 1
1837 Grey Pug (Eupithecia subfuscata) 1
1860 Green Pug (Pasiphila rectangulata) 1
1904 Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria) 1
1931 Peppered Moth (Biston betularia) 1
1937 Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) 1
1991 Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) 1
2280 Miller (Acronicta leporina) 1
2306 Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) 1
2321 Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha) 1
2326 Clouded-bordered Brindle (Apamea crenata) 1
2333 Large Nutmeg (Apamea anceps) 4
2384 Vine's Rustic (Hoplodrina ambigua) 1
2474 Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis) 1

Latest for garden:
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1 (prev 29/05/2000)

Highest counts:
2089 Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) 11
1819 Mottled Pug (Eupithecia exiguata) 9
1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 8
0998 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 5
1958 Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata) 4
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 4

Best of the rest:
2164 Broad-barred White (Hecatera bicolorata) 1

Sunday nights catch was surprisingly good after the rain during the day and (I understand) torrential thunder storms on the Saturday night. Again the actinic outperformed the MV - changing those tubes was probably a good move! Seeing the first LYU in the trap this year was not the best result though ...

06/06/2010
149 of 50sp (125W MV 63 of 29, 80W actinic 86 of 37)

First for year in garden:
0464 Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella) 1
0893 Mompha epilobiella 1
1082 Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana) 1
1713 Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) 1
1955 Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) 1
2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 1
2173 Lychnis (Hadena bicruris) 1

Highest counts:
2089 Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) 32
1376 Small Magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata) 10
2334 Rustic Shoulder-knot (Apamea sordens) 8
1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 7
0017 Common Swift (Hepialus lupulinus) 6
0998 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 5
1076 Celypha lacunana 5
2337x Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.) 5

Best of the rest:
0610 Elachista argentella 1
1778 May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata) 2
1827 Freyer's Pug (Eupithecia intricata arceuthata) 1
1980 Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellata) 1

Green Pug

Freyer's Pug

Silver-ground Carpet

Silver Y

1 comment:

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Relating to the Bee Orchids, the Orchid season is probably two weeks late this year and also I think due to the lack of rain in April and May the Bee Orchids are going to be down this year?