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

Thursday, 15 June 2017

(Not) Boxing Clever

Last night was excellent conditions for garden moth trapping; mild, slightly overcast and fairly still. I had big hopes. These were boosted further when I gave the traps a quick check just an hour or so after darkness fell, and immediately spotted a new moth:

Luquetia lobella
New for both me and the garden (670th species, 358th micro)

There were a few other bits, nothing too exciting, but I headed off to bed thinking I'd be inundated with moths in the morning. As it happened I was a little later emptying the traps than I'd hoped, but there were plenty of moths on the walls, fences and outside the trap so probably nothing lost. And then before I started looking properly I was immediately aware that there was a stonking black and white thing on the outside of the Synergetic trap. I can't remember the last time I saw a moth and had absolutely no idea what it could be - must be well over a decade! I couldn't mess about, and quickly boxed it up in one of my large carboard pots. It was quite a size, pretty much same as a Willow Beauty, and was certainly a pyralid. But a quick check in all my guides brought a blank. The only remotely similar thing was Diaphania hyalinata (Melon-worm Moth) - but it didn't look right with extra black markings and being too big. I grabbed a quick snap on my phone and posted onto Facebook, then got on with emptying the traps. Half an hour later it had been sorted ......

'Box Tree Moth' Cydalima perspectalis
New for me and the garden (671st species, 359th micro)

This is an adventive species from Asia that was first recorded in Kent in 2007, then in Surrey in 2008 and with increasing frequency in the south-east and London since then. It's been spreading steadily and is already a concern that it could be a major pest. A bit like Light Brown Apple Moth, only much bigger!

Sadly, the good news ends there for the above individual - I had expectations of getting a better / proper photo this evening after work only to find that it has flapped itself stupid so it has a bald thorax and has ost the tip of its right forewing. It also refuses to sit nicely on anything so I gave up. I can't knowingly let it go (non-native, potential pest etc). It was going to go to the VC55 reference collection but probably won't be worth bothering now. It is almost certain that this will be breeding in the county within the decade and likely to be become a regular garden moth anyway, so I'm sure I'll get another chance to photograph one properly.

Catching two species that are not only new for the garden but also full British ticks for me is pretty spectacular these days. And both are also good in a vice-county context. My Luquetia lobella is only the fourth VC55 record, and the Cydalima perspectalis is a VC55 first.

The rest of the trap was relatively mundane, but there were two Acleris sp. that will need gen det. I think they are both schalleriana, but one is much bigger than the other so worth checking them out. (post-script - confirmed as Acleris hastiana and Acleris schalleriana by gen. det.)

Acleris hastiana

Acleris schalleriana


Steve Gale said...

Still awaiting a Box Moth in the garden Mark, although my aims are a bit higher over the next few days - a mothing neighbour trapped an Olive Crescent yesterday...

Skev said...

I guess where you are Box Moth is the last thing you want to see! If it gets a hold here in VC55 it will defoliate hedges that have been clipped into the shape of mushrooms or chickens - but you don't want it anywhere near Box Hill. Olive Crescent - outrageous!