Monday, 17 December 2012

A thing of beauty is a ......

A couple of warmer nights led me to put the trap on and I was rewarded by a new moth to the site last night.  Not only is it new, but it seems to be a very early record for this moth in Shropshire.

The moth, shown below, is a Pale Brindled Beauty, and I would not normally have expected it before the new year. It was one of only 5 moths in the trap this morning. On Wednesday there were 17 moths, but only Mottled Umbers and Winter moths.

Pale Brindled Beauty

Although there has not been much flying, there are still things to look out for, namely leaf miners, so a walk up the lower part of the Mynd, where there are still a few trees with leaves on, revealed some interesting mines and blotches.

Here is a photo of an oak leaf with a mine and 3 blotches and a second photo showing the mine more clearly.

Mine/blotches on oak leaf

Stigmella mine + Phyllonorycter blotch

There was a small larvae in one of the blotches and a pupa in the other. There are confusion species for both these types so one can only be certain by keeping the leaves over winter and hoping for adults to emerge. These two are likely to be S. atricapitella and P. quercifoliella.  The mine and blotch shapes and pattern of the frass (larval droppings) are both pointers to the species within, as is the host plant. There is a very good leafminers web site.

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