Moths in Worcestershire VC37 in 2013
The long cold late winter and spring delayed and reduced moth emergences to a marked extent and recovery was delayed right into June. Then a long hot spell in July produced excellent moth numbers and there were some good immigrant records into the autumn. Most leaf miners were in low numbers perhaps as a consequence of the previous poor years as well as by their first generation being affected by the cold spring.
There were three new Macros:
Liz & Neil Harris had a Kent Black Arches M. albula at light at Welland on 25/7/2013 and Danny Arnold a Saltern Ear A. fucosa (01) (confirmed by Roy Leverton) at Upper Rochford on 14/8/13. The first two were probably migrants as certainly was a Crimson Speckled U. pulchella which came to Gavin Peplow’s trap in Abberton on 2/10/13 (see separate article). There was an influx of this beautiful species into southern England in 2013.
There were five new Micros:
Robert Homan found vacated mines of Ectoedemia heringella on a Quercus ilex at the entrance to Longdon Manor on 11/5/13. This species has been spreading from the south east in recent years.
Patrick Clement’s wife found an Elachista apicipunctella (02) on a Poplar trunk at Feckenham Wild Moor on 28/7/13 and he found four others similarly at rest and 32 there the next day. This species has been present in Warwickshire for many years and it has always been a surprise that it was never recorded in Worcestershire. Then Alan Prior and Steve Chappell had two at Chaddesley Wood on 3/8/13. It seems likely that it is another new arrival.
A Coleophora clypeiferella (03) found its way into Patrick Clement’s trap at the Devil’s Spittleful on 7/8/13. This species feeds on Chenopodium album and does seem to wander and come to light traps, but this is, as far as I know, the first record for the West Midlands.
I found many larval feedings of Phtheochroa sodaliana on a Buckthorn bush at Windmill Hill on 26/8/2013. I have looked at this bush over many years and never seen it there before! (04). It is a species of chalk and limestone habitats in southern England.
The last new species was a Depressaria badiella trapped at Warndon by Steve Whitehouse on 26/9/13. This moth occurs in open habitats, often in quarries and other bare rocky or sandy sites, and occurs in both Herefordshire and Warwickshire, so it was an expected record, but the suburban site was a surprise.
Mike Southall had a Four-spotted Footman on 2/10/13 at Crossway Green, and there were a good number of less rare species though the late summer and into the autumn; in fact our best migrant year since 2006. There were in total more than 40 Vestal; two Palpita vitrealis; many Dark Sword Grass; two Delicate; two Gem; a Pearly Underwing; and a lot of Rush Veneer, Rusty Dot Pearl, Silver Y, and some Humming-bird Hawk-moths recorded.
Other interesting and uncommon species:
Ben Coleman continues to record Grey Chi in King’s Heath, a species nowadays almost confined to Birmingham in VC37.
There were more records of Garden Dart mostly in the north of the county; Liz & Neil Harris had a Lunar Thorn at Welland on 5/6/13; a few Spinach are still being recorded; there were a few second brood Devon Carpets; and three Ruddy Carpets. Scarlet Tiger is now fairly common and widespread throughout the county.
The beautiful little micro Chrysoclista linneella was caught on 18/7/13 by Alan Prior at Hall Green and on 20/7/13 by Rik Smithies at King’s Heath. The larva of this species feeds in the bark of Lime trees and seems to be mainly an urban species nowadays. Prays ruficeps has now been separated from Prays fraxinella; an imago with plain brownish- grey wings devoid of markings with a yellow or orange head is ruficeps, as opposed to one with a dark head and often some darker markings visible on the fore-wings, which is the melanic form of fraxinella. The black and white ones are all fraxinella. They cannot be separated by dissection.
01. Saltern Ear. Danny Arnold
02. Elachista apicipunctella male Patrick Clements
03. Coleophora clypeiferella. Patrick Clements
04. Phtheochroa sodaliana on buckthorn. Tony Simpson