Welcome

My Blog's aim is to promote and encourage others to participate in the wonderful hobby that is Moth-trapping.
So why do we do it? well for some people it is to get an insight into the world of Moths, for others it is to build a list of species much like 'Twitching' in the Bird world.
The reason I do it....you never know what you might find when you open up that trap!
I hope to show what different species inhabit our Country by getting people aware of what is out there.
On this Blog you will find up-to-date records and pictures.
I run a trap regularly in my garden in Hertfordshire and enjoy doing field trips to various localities within Hertfordshire and Essex

Please also check out the links in the sidebar to the right for other people's Blogs and informative Websites.

Thanks for looking & happy Mothing!

KEY

NFY = New Species For The Year
NFG = New Species For The Garden
NEW! = New Species For My Records

Any Species highlighted in RED signifies a totally new species for my records.

If you have any questions or enquiries then please feel free to email me
Contact Email : bensale@rocketmail.com
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Saturday, 22 November 2014

A very short post

Hello all.
A quick update from the week just gone.

I ran the trap on Wednesday night (well I swapped my 125w MV bulb for a 40w Actinic because a) to try another light source and b) to save a bit of leccy in the process)
The return was just a single Sprawler, oddly exactly the same as a friend of mine in Rayleigh.

Better was 3 Emmelina monodactyla's and an Angle Shades at works 30w Security light....how odd that this attracted more in a town centre than my Actinic and MV efforts recently!

I got a report of a White Ermine just a few days ago from David Kirk in Hemel Hempstead, and a few more reports of Pale Brindled Beauties....nature definitely is totally and utterly confused this year!

I won't bore you with comparisons of epic proportions, but last year did fare better in my garden during November as this post proves 
http://bensale-essexmoths.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/moths-stay-quiet-during-chilly-nights.html



And here are some pictures to remind us of how good a year we had in Herts...


All that sorting out...Wife was very pleased









Mothing on the farm in Braughing













Part of the haul (245+ species night)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Grinding to a halt

Hello all, not much happening my end unfortunately for me with not really a sniff of much migration apart from a single Plutella xylostella.
For me it hasn't been a great year for migration with no Gem, Vestal or Dark Sword-grass and only a single Rusty Dot Pearl.
I have missed out on Dark Chestnut and Merveille du Jour now for sure, the latter I didn't trap last year either which is a terrible shame.
Only new moth for the year was a lovely Female December Moth, other than that it is very slim pickings.
More updates probably next week!

Catch Report -  06/11/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths
  
1x Feathered Thorn

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla

Catch Report - 10/11/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Sprawler
1x Mottled Umber


Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla


Catch Report - 14/11/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x December Moth [NFY]
1x Mottled Umber

1x November Moth

Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla

1x Plutella xylostella

December Moth
 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Weekly Moth Round-up

Well November is here and my Birthday is just around the corner.
I will continue to run the moth trap on the more favourable of nights, this being roughly twice a week at present.
Last week was warm and mild on several occasions.
Nothing ground-breaking considering what other people have been catching in the way or migrants but I don't expect anything good for the rest of the year now as my luck has well and truly been expended!
Scarce Umber was the only new moth for the year.


Catch Report -  27/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths
  
2x November Moth
1x Red-line Quaker

1x Brick
1x Green-brindled Crescent

1x Yellow-line Quaker
3x Red-green Carpet
1x Feathered Thorn
1x Angle Shades

Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Amblyptila acanthadactyla
2x Epiphyas postvittana

Catch Report - 30/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Scarce Umber [NFY]
6x November Moth

4x Sprawler
2x Yellow-line Quaker
1x Mottled Umber

1x Red-line Quaker
1x Green-brindled Crescent
2x Satellite

Micro Moths

5x Epiphyas postvittana
1x Hypsopygia glaucinalis
4x Acleris sparsana
2x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
2x Emmelina monodactyla


Scarce Umber

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Acleris Schalleriana study

Acleris schaleriana, a smallish sized Micro Moth of the Tortrix family, often confused with Acleris variegana and Acleris sparsana.
The status of this moth in Hertfordshire is rather sporadic with scattered records across the County, no doubt far more common than the map (2006) suggests.
It feeds on Way-faring Tree and less so on Guelder Rose.
At the front of our property we have a bush that does not seem to resemble either species, having looked through various books and online sources I have yet to find out what else Acleris schalleriana is prone to feeding on.

Records

Acleris schalleriana is a regular moth to the trap all year round though more regular in the Autumn months. My earliest record has been on the 03/01/12 and the latest (so far) on the 10/11/2013

Records in total for the 3 years at my property are

2012: 6
2013: 23
2014: 11 (so far)

Foodplant

Since finding 7 Acleris schalleriana's on the 17/10/13 over the front wall of the house, I made further investigations in the surrounding area, and found that a shrub underneath the windowsill, could have been responsible for the emergence of so manyn adults, the bush was inspected, but no caterpillars or pupa were found but extensive leaf damage was present, crumpled brown dry leaves.
I vowed to check next year at a similiar date, (he we are) and upon inspection of the bush this evening I disturbed three adults and uncurled various damaged leaves which had been spun together by a silken web.
I found 5 exited pupa and one tenanted pupa.

I have posted pictures of the bush and leaves from it to hopefully aid some identification, could this just be Way-faring Bush (Tree)? the leaves are quite smooth to the touch both sides with a distinct hairy edge with no toothing present.


Leaves from the bush












Leaf 1










Leaf 2










The bush in question












 
Exited Pupa of Acleris Schalleriana









Larval damage










Tenanted Pupa










Distribution Map (-2006 Copyright HMG)




Saturday, 25 October 2014

A new moth for me

Some better catches last week in the garden, and some nice surprises as well kept the interest up somewhat.
On Monday night the weather was relatively mild in the evening and seemed like a good night to try for a few moths.
Mottled Umber was new for the year, Brick had a great flurry with 3 individuals (not a common moth for me) and late mots continued to fly including Shuttle-shaped Dart and Carcina quercana.
Bedellia somnulentella was a completely new moth for me, a Bindweed leaf-miner, and one I intially dis-regarded as a Caloptilia.

On Thursday it was mild again and by Friday moning a whole host of interesting moths graced the trap, Buff Footman was my latest ever record, and Orange Sallow was another garden first (albeit very worn)
Lovely forms of Acleris sparsana and Chestnut were nice to photograph.

Two garden firsts in one week was definitely a reason to feel like it was all worth it.


Catch Report -  20/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths
   
1x Mottled Umber [NFY]
1x Grey-pine Carpet
1x Red-line Quaker

1x Common Marbled Carpet
3x Brick
1x Willow Beauty
1x Chestnut 
1x Feathered Thorn
1x Barred Sallow
1x Shuttle-shaped Dart
 
Micro Moths

1x Bedellia somnulentela [NEW!]
1x Acleris sparsana
1x Carcina quercana
2x Epiphyas postvittana
1x Plutella xylostella

Catch Report - 23/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Orange Sallow [NFG]
1x Red-green Carpet
3x November Moth sp

1x Buff Footman
1x Red-line Quaker
3x Green-brindled Crescent
1x Common Marbled Carpet
2x Barred Sallow
1x Chestnut
2x Lesser Yellow Underwing
2x Satellite


Micro Moths

3x Epiphyas postvittana
2x Acleris schalleriana
1x Emmelina monodactyla



Orange Sallow













Chestnut













Buff Footman













Brick












Acleris sparsana













Mottled Umber










Bedellia somnulentela




Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Last weeks moths

Hello everybody.
Last week I ran the trap on two occasions on the Thursday and the Saturday.
Both catches were quite minimalistic but a good variety was recorded.

The only new moth was a Feathered Thorn on Saturday.

November Moth sp reached a peak on Saturday as well with 7 individuals, two retained to check for possible Autumnal Moths.

Late flyers continue with Common Carpet being the most unusual of the bunch.

Still no Dark Chestnut or Merveille du Jour, both recorded in good numbers in 2012.

A brief post as I have been busy.

Catch Report -  16/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Common Marbled Carpet
1x Pink-barred Sallow
3x Satellite
1x Snout
1x Common Carpet
2x Blair's Shoulder-knot
1x November Moth sp
1x Yellow-line Quaker
1x Large Yellow Underwing
1x Barred Sallow
1x Willow Beauty

Micro Moths

2x Acleris sparsana
1x Ypsolopha sylvella
1x Phyllonorycter messaniella
2x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Epiphyas postvittana

Catch Report -  18/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Feathered Thorn [NFY]
1x Blair's Shulder-knot
1x Brimstone Moth
7x November Moth sp
1x Sallow
2x Yellow-line Quaker
1x Green-brindled Crescent
1x Chestnut
1x Angle Shades
1x Large Yellow Underwing
2x Common Marbled Carpet

Micro Moths 

1x Acleris sparsana

Common Carpet










Feathered Thorn


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Moths are on the move again despite torrential rain

Hi all.
I have run the trap on Sunday night and Tuesday night and hopefully will run it again tonight.
On Sunday night the weather was quite cool and clear and so 5 moths was the only return for a lengthy spell of Mercury Vapor light.
But...things changed mid-week and instead of clear skies we got cloudy ones but then came the rain. Undeterred by this I still braved the trap up against the house with just a few eggs trays around it, as predicted by the morning everything was drenched.
28 moths of 17 species was a surprise indeed.
Highlights were 7 Plutella xylostella's (these are having a good year in my garden) a seldom seen Brick which I missed out on last year, a year first Sprawler and November Moth and two more cryptically patterned Acleris schalleriana.
Satellite was also a season first with one Orange Satellite and one White Satellite on each wing.

Catch Report -  12/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Blair's Shoulder-knot
1x Barred Sallow

Micro Moths

1x Amblyptila acanthadactyla
1x Epiphyas postvittana
1x Plutella xylostella

Catch Report - 14/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Brick [NFY]
1x Sprawler [NFY]
1x November Moth sp [NFY]
1x Lesser Yellow Underwing
1x Satellite
2x Yellow-line Quaker
2x Green-brindled Crescent
1x Snout
1x Common Marbled Carpet
1x Pink-barred Sallow
1x Grey Shoulder-knot

Micro Moths

2x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
1x Epiphyas postvittana
2x Acleris schalleriana
7x Plutella xylostella
2x Acleris sparsana

Sprawler










Satellite












Brick











Pair of Shoulder-knots











Acleris schalleriana

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A week passes with little to report

Well we are firmly into the slow part of the year now, with flash floods, cool breezes and clear nights, but it has been mild enough to run the trap on just two occasions this past week.

On Sunday night it was mild but clear and the trap went on as usual, but waking up to find five moths in 10 hours of light trapping (1 moth every 2 hours) was solely depressing to put it bluntly, with nothing new for the year, still I expected this after such a high a few weeks back.

Ho hum, I had to wait until Thursday for another favourable night, well it chucked it down for two hours solid at around 4pm, but then it turned to light drizzle and it seemed a tad warmer, so the egg trays were lined in the trap, collar on, funnel and bulb on and away we go again, this time with a better return than Sunday night, with 8 moths of 7 species.
Still no Merveille du Jour or Brick (I didn't get any last year) or Dark Chestnut, and still getting Carcina quercana!
Results are below.

Catch Report - 05/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125x MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Common Wainscot
1x Red-line Quaker
1x Sallow
1x Large Yellow Underwing
1x Brown-spot Pinion

Micro Moths

None Recorded!

Catch Report - 09/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125x MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Large Yellow Underwing
1x Lesser Yellow Underwing
1x Angle Shades

Micro Moths

1x Acleris schalleriana
1x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
2x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Carcina quercana

Acleris schalleriana


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Westbrook Hay - Hemel Hempstead - Field - 02/10/14

Bit late with this post as I have had a busy week writing other bits and bobs and sorting through my yearly records has been no easy feat.
Last week I was joined by David and Roger for our final field trip of the year, mainly because the weather is probably sooner or later (has) going to turn awful, and as the nights draw in now I would be fighting with the rush hour traffic out of Stevenage and on the A1.
The night was pretty much perfect to start with, very warm for the time of year at about 20 degrees at sundown, although the promised cloud dissipated and we were left with a cool clear sky with a bright moon.

A few hours is all we trapped for as the moths just stopped flying by about 11pm and it was time to pack up.

We packed the three traps running off of the generator first, and found nothing much of interest apart from very late examples of Marbled White-spot, Beautiful Hook-tip and Straw Dot, highlight was a year first Merveille du Jour.

We trundled back to the old barn where we were running two more traps from the electricity power points, it was starting to feel very chill indeed and coats were done up to the chin and hats adorned.
In the second to last trap it became apparent that our efforts were all worth it. A stunning Cypress Pug was sitting on the outside egg trays around the 160w MBT Trap.
A great record and a first for all three of us, indeed it is a scarce moth that is slowly spreading from the West and South.
Full catch below, from 5 traps.

Catch Report - 02/10/14 - Westbrook Hay - Hemel Hempstead - 2x 125w MV Robinson Traps, 1x 160w MBT Robinson Trap, 1x40w Lucent Suitcase Trap & 1x80w Actinic/26w CFL Suitcase Trap.

Macro Moths


1x Cypress Pug [NEW!]
5x Beaded Chestnut
1x Beautiful Hook-tip
1x Brimstone Moth
1x Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
1x Brown-spot Pinion
2x Common Marbled Carpet
1x Grey-pine Carpet
2x Large Yellow Underwing
1x Lesser Yellow Underwing
11x Lunar Underwing
1x Marbled White-spot
2x Merveille du Jour
1x Orange Sallow
2x Pink-barred Sallow
1x Red-green Carpet
2x Sallow
3x Setaceous Hebrew Character
1x Snout
3x Square-spot Rustic
1x Straw Dot

Micro Moths

1x Acleris sparsana
1x Agriphila geniculea
1x Carcina quercana
5x Epiphyas postvittana
1x Agonopterix heracliana
1x Pandemis heparana
1x Plutella xylostella
1x Aleimma loeflingiana
5x Acleris rhombana

Cypress Pug









Merveille du Jour












Pandemis heparana





Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fall Webworm Moth - New to Britain

The Herts County moth recorder Colin Plant confirmed the strange Ermine moth today using various literature at his house and the two Male specimens he had in his collection. My specimen was also compared with spotless White Ermine, pale Buff Ermine and Water Ermine.

It is a first for Britain, a male Fall Webworm Moth Hyphantria cunea distinguished by antennae, all white abdomen with no dorsal spots, no spots on the hindwing, and spines on the tibiae, something the genus Spilosoma doesn't have.

It has been recorded in North America from Canada to Mexico, introduced accidently in Europe in the 1940's and spreading Eastwards into Central Asia, also in Japan in 1945.

The nearest record to here is known from South-West France!

Chuffed to say the least, need to write an article now for the Entomologist record.


Fall Webworm Moth








A great start to October

The trap was out on Wednesday anticipating some more Autumn moths, and come the morning the trap was not as busy as it has been but the lack of moths was made up by new moths for the year and seasonal firsts, by seasonal firsts I mean the moths that I had trapped in the Spring, namely Grey Shoulder-knot ( Last seen 29/03/14), Chestnut (31/03/14) and Acleris schalleriana (17/02/14).

Firsts for the year included Blair's Shoulder-knot, Red-line Quaker and Acleris sparsana.

Catch Report - 01/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Blair's Shoulder-knot [NFY]
1x Red-line Quaker [NFY]
1x Grey Shoulder-knot
4x Shuttle-shaped Dart
1x Yellow-line Quaker
2x Snout
1x Rosy Rustic
7x Lunar Underwing
1x Common Marbled Carpet
1x Grey-pine Carpet
1x Vine's Rustic
5x Lesser Yellow Underwing
5x Large Yellow Underwing

Micro Moths

1x Acleris sparsana [NFY]
1x Acleris variegana
2x Acleris schalleriana
1x Clepsis consimilana
1x Archips podana
2x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

Acleris sparsana













Blair's Shoulder-knot










Chestnut











Red-line Quaker













Grey Shoulder-knot

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A tricky Ermine

Hello everybody.

On Monday night I trapped in the garden as usual. 
Conditions were quite favourable with overcast skies and little wind, although we had had a downpour in the afternoon at some point this didn't dampen my spirits.
The catch wasn't bad at all with no less than 25 species.

Emmetia marginea was a new Micro moth for the garden, a Bramble feeder.

Yellow-line Quaker was the only moth new for the year, and like the Black Rustic a species that I missed out on last year...will I get a Brick to complete the trio of 'The Lost Moths of 2012?' 

It was also nice to get the stunning form of Sallow f.flavescens, a different Beaded Chestnut and a much darker form of Barred Sallow.

Now..there is a bit of confusion at the moment as to what Ermine I have caught. 
As I went out to the In the dark at 6am in the morning I suspected that it was a very late (my latest) Yellow-tail...I potted it up and then noticed it was too elongate for this and Brown-tail, plus it had neither yellow or brown on the end of its abdomen.
This could only mean either White Ermine (for which it initially looked nothing like) or Water Ermine! Which hasn't been recorded since the 1940's!
The moth was checked for the spotted hindwing markings that White Ermine has, this moth does not appear to have any markings, it is pure silky white and not worn either.
But then there is the antennae question, in White Ermine the pectinations of the antennae are uneven and longer one side than the other, in Water Ermine these are pretty much symmetrical.
My moth is asymmetrical so I am really baffled at present! See what you all think.

For starters the wing shape looks too slim and rounded for White Ermine.

I will get this dissected to be sure.



Catch Report - 29/09/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Yellow-line Quaker [NFY]
1x Ermine sp?
3x Brimstone Moth
5x Lunar Underwing
2x Common Marbled Carpet
2x Willow Beauty
1x Shuttle-shaped Dart
1x Sallow (f.flavescens)
3x Lesser Yellow Underwing
1x Large Ranunculus
1x Engrailed
1x Angle Shades
3x Large Yellow Underwing
1x Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
1x Beaded Chestnut
1x Setaceous Hebrew Character
2x Snout
1x Burnished Brass
2x Barred Sallow
2x Common Wainscot

Micro Moths

1x Emmetia marginea [NFG]
1x Clepsis consimilana
1x Mompha subbistrigella
1x Plutella xylostella
1x Blastobasis lacticolella
1x Ambylptilia acanthadactyla

Ermine sp












Beaded Chestnut











Barred Sallow












Yellow-line Quaker









 
Common Marbled Carpet













Emmetia marginea




Sunday, 28 September 2014

The dark side, returns!

On Thursday night I ran the garden trap once more and attracted various visitors to the lamp.
Large Yellow Underwing were back on the top and Large Ranunculus increased in numbers to 5 individuals.

Black Rustic was the only new species for the year, looking back at my garden records I missed out on this species completely last year, so it was nice to see it appear again.

Still getting a few end of Summer visitors and I seem to be getting a Hornet each time I trap! They are certainly having a good year as I have seen plenty about as opposed to Wasps where I have hardly seen any!

Catch Report - 25/09/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Black Rustic [NFY]
2x Barred Sallow
5x Large Ranunculus
2x Lunar Underwing
1x Grey-pine Carpet
3x Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
1x Shuttle-shaped Dart
5x Lesser Yellow Underwing
1x Setaceous Hebrew Character
19x Large Yellow Underwing
2x Pale Mottled Willow
1x Common Marbled Carpet
1x Sallow
1x Snout
1x Silver-Y
1x Square-spot Rustic
2x Vine's Rustic
1x Burnished Brass
1x Brimstone

Micro Moths

1x Carcina quercana
1x Ypsolopha sequella
1x Epinotia nisella
1x Epiphyas postvittana
1x Cydia splendana
1x Celypha lacunana

Black Rustic



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Back to the garden for some Autumnal moths

I set the trap up last night as it needed a little warmer than Sunday and Monday night, it even clouded over later on and at some point during the night we had rain as the egg trays were soaked.

Some nice additions to the garden year list with Beaded Chestnut and Green-brindled Crescent in the trap.
Pink-barred Sallow was on the fence and new for the garden, Macro No.260 since I started recording in August 2012.

Other than that it was standard fare with Lunar Underwing taking top spot and Large Ranunculus picking up in numbers.

The weather stays unsettled this week, but Thursday night is looking nice and mild on the forecast.

Catch Report - 23/09/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Pink-barred Sallow [NFG]
1x Beaded Chestnut [NFY]
1x Green-brindled Cresecent [NFY]
1x Red-green Carpet
2x Willow Beauty
2x Common Marbled Carpet
2x Pale Mottled Willow
6x Lesser Yellow Underwing
7x Lunar Underwing
1x Common Wainscot
6x Large Yellow Underwing
1x Vine's Rustic
2x Shuttle-shaped Dart
2x Barred Sallow
2x Setaceous Hebrew Character
3x Large Ranunculus
1x Sallow
2x Angle Shades
1x Rosy Rustic

Micro Moths

1x Carcina quercana
5x Epiphyas postvittana
2x Plutella xylostella
1x Celypha lacunana
1x Acleris variegana

Carcina quercana













Red-green Carpet













Beaded Chestnut













Large Ranunculus & Green-brindled Crescent











Pink-barred Sallow