First Moth Survey on the Avon Meadows Community Wetland, Pershore, June 2011
Richard D E Stott
The Avon Meadows Community Wetland is a recently developed area of water meadows bordered by a housing estate in Pershore. This survey is one of a series of surveys to establish base-line lists of species occurring within the area.
This first survey trapped 1317 insects from 140 species. Among these species several had only been recorded a handful of times in Worcestershire previously or are restricted to wetland habitats with reedbeds. These were; Gynnidomorpha alismana (Fig. 1.), Eana osseana (Fig. 2.), Endothenia quadrimaculana, Grapholita lobarzewskii, Mythimna stramine and Mythimna obsoleta.
Avon Meadows Community Wetland is a 24 hectare site alongside the River Avon in Pershore. It was the brainchild of Wychavon District Council and the Environment Agency and was created in 2007/8. Scrapes and reedbeds have been created to a design prepared by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and cover approximately one third of the total site area. It was in this part of the Wetland that the traps were set. In environmental respects it is an unexceptional site, bounded by houses and gardens to the west and the River Avon to the east. The Management Plan for the Wetland is aimed at maintaining the historical land management pattern for the area, specifically low intensity grazing and hay mowing.
A series of surveys of particular species groups are being undertaken on the Wetland and this survey was one such, intended to provide a baseline for future survey work.
Date and Location
The survey was carried out on the night of Monday 27 June 2011 between 22h00 and 03h30 the following day. Five light traps were set out within the triangle bounded by the coordinates SO95095 46562, SO95054 46439, SO95189 46484. The site elevation is 17m aod.
Five Skinner light traps were deployed within the area defined above using 125W mercury vapour lamps. The lamps were turned on at 10h15 and off at 03h30. A number of voucher samples were taken, mainly of micro moths.
Most of the traps were set out along a path which had a scrape surrounded by aquatic vegetation on one side and on the other side scrub and mature trees backing onto private gardens. Shortly before the lights were turned off, all insects trapped were counted, and this data forms the basis for the trapped numbers referred to below.
The night was overcast with occasional thunder and a light SSW wind Force 1 backing after about 01h00 to NW Force 3. The temperature was comparatively mild at 20ºC falling to 14ºC later.
The survey was led by Patrick Clement to whom, together with Alan Prior and Oliver Wadsworth, I am greatly indebted for technical support in preparing this report. However any errors that remain in the text are mine and mine alone. Jim Preston, Dave Jeynes and myself were the support team.
In addition to the 140 species listed below there were three indeterminate records. The numbers used are those assigned to each species in the Bradley & Fletcher List of British lepidoptera. Where the appellation Worcestershire is used in the text it specifically refers to the Watsonian vice-county VC37.
Some small groups of species cannot be separated from each other without dissection but where it is believed that all species caught or within the group are common, individuals may be recorded as aggregates to avoid unnecessary killing of moths. The following are examples of this.
1020 Cnephasia sp. (two trapped): Four species within this genus have been recorded in Worcestershire. The examples trapped in this survey were not identified to species level.
2283/4 Acronicta sp. Dark/Grey Dagger (one trapped): These species are notoriously difficult to separate in the field and no specimen was taken for dissection and therefore can only be identified to genus level. Both species occur in Worcestershire.
2337 Oligia strigilis Marbled Minor type (36 trapped): Three similar Oligia species occur in Worcestershire of which O. strigilis is the most common. However this species cannot be separated from O. versicolor and O. latruncula without resorting to dissection.
Unusual Micro Moths
Four species of micro moths which are uncommon in Worcestershire recorded all of which had their identity confirmed where necessary.
930 Gynnidomorpha alismana (17 trapped) Fairly common. Possibly the 5th site in Worcestershire. Described as an uncommon local resident of pools and marshes.
1029 Eana osseana (one trapped) Uncommon. Possibly only the 3rd Worcestershire site. Described as rare and declining in Worcestershire.
1104 Endothenia quadrimaculana (two trapped) Uncommon. Possibly only the 5th Worcestershire site. Described as a rare resident in damp grassland in Worcestershire.
1249 Grapholita lobarzewskii (one trapped) Uncommon. Possibly only the 4th Worcestershire site (Fig. 3.).
Unusual Macro Moths
Two species of macro moths which are uncommonly recorded in Worcestershire as they are reedbed and wetland specialists and as such are probably under recorded.
2197 Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea (three trapped) Uncommon. Known from 11 other sites in Worcestershire.
2204 Obscure Wainscot Mythimna obsoleta (13 trapped) Fairly Common. It inhabits reedbeds and has been recorded previously from 9 other sites in Worcestershire. Nationally regarded as local although possibly under recorded.
Species of General Interest
Finally a few very attractive and large species which included four species of hawk-moth, none of which is particularly uncommon. The status assignation below is deduced from the number trapped on the night.
2057 Garden Tiger Arctia caja (two trapped: Uncommon). Examples of this locally declining species were found in a trap as I was leaving just after 3.00am (Fig. 4.).
1980 Eyed Hawk-moth Smerinthus ocellata (one trapped: Uncommon).
1981 Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi (five trapped: Uncommon).
1991 Elephant Hawk-month Deiliphila elpenor (13 trapped: Common) (Fig. 5.).
1992 Small Elephant Hawk-moth Deiliphila porcella (three trapped: Uncommon).
This is a survey of the moths to be found in an unremarkable area of water meadow in the Avon Valley. Three years ago, scrapes were created and reeds planted so that now there are permanent bodies of water. This is the first moth survey for this area and it is intended to repeat the survey, at least annually, at differing times of year.
For the most part the species recorded are common in Worcestershire. However a number of species are reedbed specialists and it is interesting to note how rapidly they have colonised this new area. At present 11 of the species recorded may be regarded as reed/wetland dependent, Mythimna straminea, Mythimna obsoleta, Plusia festucae, Coleophora glaucicolella, Coleophora alticolella, Elachista maculicerusella, Limnaecia phragmitella, Gynnidomorpha alismana, Hedya salicella, Calamotropha paludella and Cataclysta lemnata.
From the data gathered a preliminary assessment may be made of the degree of abundance of the species occurring in the area. Taking the abundance criteria set out in Harper & Simpson (undated) of the 140 species recorded, two species are very common; Apamea monoglypha and Chrysoteuchia culmella. A further eight species are common and 15 fairly common. The remaining 115 being uncommon, at least as far as the present data set allows.
It is interesting to note that using these abundance criteria four of the wetland specialists rate as fairly common; Mythimna obsoleta, Gynnidomorpha alismana, Hedya salicella and Calamotropha paludella.
Figures in brackets following the names refer to the total number trapped in all 5 traps.
14 Hepialus humulae Ghost Moth (2)
125 Emmetia marginea (1)
421 Argyresthia bonnetella (1)
424 Yponomeuta evonymella Bird-cherry Ermine (7)
450 Scythropia crataegella Hawthorn Moth (1)
504 Coleophora lusciniaepenella (1)
582 Coleophora glaucicolella (3)
583 Coleophora tamesis (2)
584 Coleophora alticolella (2)
607 Elachista canapennella (4)
609 Elachista maculicerusella (3)
758 Recurvaria leucatella (1)
773 Pseudotelphusa paripunctella (1)
844 Syncopacma larseneliella (1)
862 Dichomeris marginella Juniper Webber (1)
870 Oegoconia quadripuncta (1)
874 Blastobasis lacticolella (4)
886 Mompha ochraceella (13)
898 Limnaecia phragmitella (2)
930 Gynnidomorpha alismana (17)
937 Agapeta hamana (34)
981 Arcips rosana Rose Tortrix (2)
993 Clepsis spectrana Cyclamen Tortrix (37)
994 Clepsis consimilana (2)
1020 Cnephasia stephensiana Grey Tortrix (1)
1029 Eana osseana (1)
1036 Acleris forsskaleana (2)
1063 Celypha striana (2)
1076 Celypha lacunana (29)
1086 Hedya salicella (19)
1104 Endothenia quadrimaculana (2)
1108 Lobesia abscisana (15)
1115 Ancylis achatana (1)
1150 Epinotia abbreviana (1)
1169 Gypsonoma dealbana (1)
1175 Epiblema uddmanniana Bramble Shoot Moth (11)
1201 Eucosma cana (20)
1205 Spilonota ocellana Bud Moth (2)
1249 Grapholita lobarzewskii (1)
1257 Cydia nigricana Pea Moth (1)
1261 Cydia pomonella Codling Moth (2)
1288 Alucita hexadactyla Twenty-plume Moth (1)
1292 Calamotropha paludella (20)
1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella (246)
1294 Crambus pascuella (1)
1302 Crambus perlella (3)
1331 Acentria ephemerella Water Veneer (1)
1334 Scoparia ambigualis (2)
1338 Dipleurina lacustrata (3)
1344 Eudonia mercurella (1)
1354 Cataclysta lemnata Small China-mark (8)
1356 Evergestis forficalis Garden Pebble (1)
1362 Pyrausta purpuralis (2)
1376 Eurrhypara hortulata Small Magpie (4)
1378 Phlyctaenia coronata Spotted Magpie (3)
1390 Udea prunalis (1)
1392 Udea olivalis (3)
1405 Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl (3)
1428 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth (3)
1445 Pempelia formosa (2)
1452 Phycita roborella (2)
1458 Myelois circumvoluta Thistle Ermine (1)
1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (1)
1513 Pterophorus pentadactyla White Plume Moth (1)
1640 Euthrix potatoria The Drinker (1)
1653 Habrosyne pyritoides Buff Arches (4)
1669 Hermithea aestivaria Common Emerald (15)
1682 Timandra comae Blood-vein (2)
1690 Scopula imitaria Small Blood-vein (2)
1702 Idaea biselata Small Fan-footed Wave (1)
1708 Idaea dimidiata Single-dotted Wave (1)
1713 Idaea aversata Riband Wave (13)
1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet (1)
1742 Camptogramma bilineata Yellow Shell (2)
1803 Perizoma alchemillata Small Rivulet (1)
1817 Eupithecia pulchellata Foxglove Pug (2)
1858 Chloroclystis v-ata V-Pug (2)
1862 Gymnoscelis rufifasciata Double-striped Pug (1)
1887 Lomopsilis marginata Clouded Border (1)
1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth (2)
1907 Epione repandaria Bordered Beauty (7)
1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn (1)
1921 Crocallis elinquaria Scalloped Oak (29)
1922 Ourapteryx sambucaria Swallow-tailed Moth (14)
1931 Biston betularia Peppered Moth (7)
1941 Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty (2)
1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed (2)
1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave (4)
1958 Lomographa temerata Clouded Silver (1)
1980 Smerinthus ocellata Eyed Hawk-moth (1)
1981 Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth (5)
1991 Deiliphila elpenor Elephant Hawk-moth (13)
1992 Deiliphila porcella Small Elephant Hawk-moth (3)
1994 Phalera bucephala Buff-tip (2)
2050 Eilema lurideola Common Footman (6)
2057 Arctia caja Garden Tiger (2)
2061 Spilosoma lutea Buff Ermine (2)
2064 Phragmatobia fuliginosa Ruby Tiger (1)
2077 Nola cucullatella Short-cloaked Moth (3)
2089 Agrotis exclamationis Heart & Dart (62)
2098 Axylia putris The Flame (17)
2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder (13)
2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing (22)
2110 Noctua fimbriata Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (1)
2118 Lycophotia porphyrea True Lover's Knot (1)
2126 Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character (3)
2128 Xestia triangulum Double Square-spot (2)
2155 Melanchra persocaroae Dot Moth (4)
2160 Lacanobia oleracea Bright-line Brown-eye (42)
2173 Hadena bicruris Lychnis (1)
2197 Mythimna straminea Southern Wainscot (3)
2198 Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot (50)
2199 Mythimna pallens Common Wainscot (8)
2204 Mythimna obsoleta Obscure Wainscot (13)
2278 Acronicta megacephala Poplar Grey (4)
2280 Acronicta leporina The Miller (6)
2306 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades (2)
2314 Parastichtis ypsillon Dingy Shears (7)
2318 Cosmia trapezina Dun-Bar (3)
2321 Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches (115)
2322 Apamea lithoxylaea Light Arches (31)
2327 Apamea epomidion Clouded Brindle (1)
2330 Apamea remissa Dusky Brocade (8)
2333 Apamea anceps Large Nutmeg (1)
2336 Apamea phogramma Double Lobed (9)
2340 Oligia fasciuncula Middle-barred Minor (1)
2345 Photedes minima Small Dotted Buff (3)
2381 Hoplodrina alsines The Uncertain (51)
2382 Hoplodrina blanda Rustic (2)
2387 Caradrina morpheus Mottled Rustic (5)
2389 Caradrina clavipalpis Pale Mottled Willow (1)
2434 Diachrysia chrysitis Burnished Brass (5)
2439 Plusia festucae Gold Spot (1)
2442 Autographa pulchrina Beautiful Golden Y (1)
2450 Abrostola tripartita The Spectacle (3)
2466 Lygephila pastinum The Blackneck (1)
2473 Laspeyria flexula Beautiful Hooktip (1)
2477 Hyperia proboscidalis The Snout (1)
2489 Pechipogo strigolata Fan-foot (9)
2492 Herminia grisealis Small Fan-foot (2)
Bradley, J.D. & Fletcher, D.S. A Recorder’s Log Book or Label List of British Butterflies and Moths. (http://ukmoths.org.uk/systematic.php)
Harper, M. & Simpson, T. (undated) The Larger Moths and Butterflies of Herefordshire and Worcestershire: An Atlas. West Midlands Branch of Butterfly Conservation.
Harper, M. & Simpson, T. 2003. The Smaller Moths and Butterflies of Herefordshire and Worcestershire: An Atlas. Part 1: Micropterigidae to Scythrididae. West Midlands Branch of Butterfly Conservation.
Harper, M. & Simpson, T. 2004. The Smaller Moths and Butterflies of Herefordshire and Worcestershire: An Atlas. Part 2: Tortricidae to Pterophoridae. West Midlands Branch of Butterfly Conservation.
Waring, P. & Townsend, M. 2003. Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing.
Fig. 1. 0930 Gynnidomorpha alismana. ©P Clement
Fig. 2. 1029 Eana osseana. ©P Clement
Fig. 3. 1249 Grapholita lobarzewskii. ©P Clement
Fig. 4. 2057 Garden Tiger. ©A Prior
Fig. 5. 1991 Elephant Hawk-moth. ©R D E Stott