Thursday, 20 February 2014

Bring on the moths

The weather so far this year hasn't exactly conducive to getting the moth trap out, when it hasn't been raining it's generally been so windy that the trap might well have had a brief aerial adventure. Finally though, this week has brought a couple of still, dry and not overly cold nights, so the trap has sprung into action.

February isn't the best time of year for moths, most species are sensible enough to wait for warmer nights later in the year, but there are a few hardy pioneers who venture out on all but the coldest nights. The first of these to find its way to my garden was the aptly named Dotted Border, followed shortly by the slightly more colourful Pale Brindled Beauty (it's all relative at this time of year!).

69: Dotted Border
Dotted Border
70: Pale Brindled Beauty
Pale Brindled Beauty
That was it for the first night of trapping, and before the trap went out again there was time for a bonus addition to the list in the slightly unwelcome form of a varied carpet beetle crawling up the bathroom wall. The larva of this attractive little beetle love munching on carpets and clothing, so I'm hoping that this was a lone wanderer rather than the start of an invasion!

71: Varied Carpet Beetle
Trouble in the form of a varied carpet beetle
The trap went out again last night, and quickly attracted the first micro moth of the year, and a new species for me, Agonopterix heracliana (or the the Common Flat-body to his friends). That was swiftly joined by a non-moth interloper in the shape of the ichneumon wasp Ophion scutellaris. Ichneumons are generally nigh-on impossible to identify without a specimen and a lot of patience, but this early in the year there are only a handful of species flying.

72: Agonopterix heracliana
Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana
73: Ophion scutellaris
Ophion scutellaris
That was it until the morning, when a rummage through the egg-boxes turned up another dotted border, and a couple of chestnuts, all a bit brown, but nice to see the moths back on the wing again!

74: Chestnut
Total: 74 Species - see all the photos here

Lifelist 1281 Species - new addition Agonopterix heracliana

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