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

Friday, 25 August 2017

Phyllocnistis saligna - Epic Win / Epic Fail

Before this is so old news that it's not worth bothering, an update on the Phyllocnistis saligna mines that I found. Once I knew the full details of how this moth actually mines the leaves, petiole and stem, and how they pupate, I wanted to get more solid evidence to properly secure the species onto the VC55 list. So I went back to Narborough bog to have a mooch about last Saturday morning, and with relative ease I found lots of mines - vacated, tenanted and with both pupal exuviae and intact pupation folds. Much clearer evidence and species duly added to VC list - epic win!

So here's a load of photos to fully show the mines on both upperside and underside, petiole and stem, pupation folds and pupal exuviae. There's even one that I subsequently realised was tenanted ......

Vacated mine, mine running into petiole.

Vacated mine, both this and the one above show neat central frass lines.

This shows a mine running down a stem, third leaf on the left just about shows evidence of a mine on underside along edge.

Another vacated mine running into petiole.

Mine running into petiole and stem, lower leaf shows pupation fold.

This mine (I subsequently discovered) is tenanted.

Pupation fold with pupal exuviae.

Intact pupation fold.

All good stuff, and all I needed to do now was wait and hope that one of the intact pupation folds would come good with a fresh adult. I checked the leaves every morning and night. On Tuesday, after getting home around midnight from watching LCFC play away in Sheffield, there was a tiny and very lively moth flitting about in the tub. I managed to secure it in a pot and have a look with the x10 lens, and bingo - there was my adult. Epic win again! But obviously there was no way I could attempt to photograph it at that late hour, so I popped the pot in the fridge without thinking and looked forward to photographing it in the morning. Morning came, photography set setup, pot comes out the fridge and .... the blasted thing had thrown a seven. Epic Fail!

Fresh, tiny, dead Phyllocnistis saligna

Oh well. There will be others .......

On Wednesday I headed over to Watermead CP North for a spot of twitching. Both Pec Sand and Spotted Crake loitering on the same scrape over on the Wanlip Meadow side. Here's views from Plover Hide ...

I got good but brief views of the crake, but the Pec Sand was in full view constantly feeding amongst Lapwings. I tried to freehand phone-scope it, and the results were laughable ...

Pectoral Sandpiper - barely.

Anyway, back to the real point. This site is along the Soar plain, completely on the other side of the City to Narborough Bog. It is a typical water-side site with loads of willows ... so I casually looked at one and there were Phyllocnistis saligna mines! Another epic win.

So having added it to the VC55 list, I've now also found it at opposite sides of the City and (as can be seen from the above) on at least two types of willow (Crack and White I think, but don't quote me). I expect more records to follow, and it may well be widely distrbuted through the county. It would probably have gone unnoticed if a novice (ie me) hadn't looked - all of the experienced county leaf-mine recorders have probably done willow to death many years ago and not looked recently.


Gibster said...

Gripping stuff, mate. I well remember finding this in Surrey when it was almost unheard of down there. In fact, at the start of the survey (Smaller Moths of Surrey) it was known from just a single site. It was been shown to be widespread across the county by the time we finished the surveywork. I really miss those days, your blog is bringing back many happy memories. Good work, mister. Have you got ramulicola or xenia up there yet?

Skev said...

Cheers Seth. No, ramulicola and xenia not here yet ..... or no one has looked yet!