Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Playing the micro game.

There were a few more moths to go through this morning, of which one was new for the garden.

The Magpie (Abraxas grossulariata)

This is regular in small numbers each year and increasing, probably because Pam's planted both red and black currant bushes, two of the food plants of the caterpillars.

Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata)

The Shaded Broad-bar is a relatively common species, I caught a few at Crayford and I saw one near the Monument 5 years ago, but this is the first I've caught in the garden. The caterpillars feed on vetch and clover, and considering the state of the lawn it's a wonder it's not common in the garden.

The Dun-bar (Cosmia trapezina)

As they get older the Dun-bar's pattern fades and only the cross lines, faintly outlined show its identity. I thought that this one was particularly well marked and fresh. The caterpillars feed on a range of deciduous trees. They are also well-known for their cannibalistic tendencies towards larvae of other moths, and to their own species in captivity.

Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola)

The air quality must be quite good round here because many trees and roofs are host to various lichens, which probably accounts for why I catch quite a few Dingy Footman each year. The caterpillars are Lichen feeders. This footman can be separated from the others around at this time of the year by the curved front edge to the wings.

Trachycera suavella

Down at the micro end of things this is one of the big boys with a wing span of about 23mm. It and it's close relative, T advenella have become reasonably common this last few days. Hawthorn and Rowan are the food plants so there are lots of suitable feeding ares close by for the caterpillars.

Catoptria pinella

When you walk through the grass and various small moths fly up the majority are in the group of pyralids collectively known as "grass moths" This one is my favourites, unlike most that are very plain the silver white pattern on this tiny moth make it stand out straight away. It's wing span is around 20mm, and while this is small, in the micro world it is still a pretty sizable animal. If the hot weather arrives the grass will be full of small grass moth of various species. My trouble that I take so long untying the macros, I never get that time to properly go through all the micros.

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