Monday, 10 September 2018

Ultraviolet Lepidoptera.

Since my night-clubbing days many moons ago I have often wondered what our British moths and caterpillars may look like when subjected to "black" ultraviolet light, in particular those which appear to have some form of luminosity already, such as the Elephant Hawk Moth, or striking patterns with white such as the Garden Tiger.

Browsing this thought on the internet a few days ago I came across a website by a Canadian guy - Brian Robin from Ontario who has recently looked into this and has the studio equipment to experiment and photograph the results.

He mainly focuses on caterpillars as this caught his attention first. Nonetheless, I found his site very readable, interesting and entertaining.  Well worth a read.

He also delves into macro photography of thin ice formation and light refraction (Birefringence), which I also found quite fascinating!

http://brianrobin.ca/ultraviolet-lepidoptera/

Does anyone out there know if UV light has been tried on moths/caterpillars in this country? I would love to see the results.

Phil McGregor.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Coed Y Dinas event report

Our penultimate event of the year was at Coed Y Dinas the MWT (Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust) wildfowl reserve near Welshpool. We have trapped here fairly regularly over recent years and found it to be an all round very good site so, we had high hopes that it would be a productive evening.

The two days preceding the event had been mostly overcast and the night time temperatures had been holding up well, so it was very good to see the same weather on Saturday evening, in fact, it was perfect mothing conditions with the minimum temperature not falling below 16.6c.

Those of us with kit were on site by 7:00pm and the traps were set up along all the footpaths. Before they were switched on we all did some dusking with the nets and a fair amount of species, especially micros, were netted - these included Epinotia tenerana, Lathronympha strigana, Acleris variegana, Celypha lacunana and Yponomeuta cagnagella; then the traps were fired up by 8:30pm.

The white sheet
Even as the last glimmer of evening light was melting away, filled pots were coming in thick and fast to the table, species included Common Carpet, Snout, Devon Carpet, Heart & Dart, Setaceous Hebrew Character, and a cracking Bulrush Wainscot. The micros didn't slow down either: Pyrausta purpuralis, Pandemis corylana, Epinotia nisella and a very nice Ypsolopha sequella.


Head shot of a Feathered Gothic
Bulrush Wainscot
Ypsolopha sequella
As darkness descended Trisha turned up with a box containing about a hundred micro moths which she wanted to run past me to id what I could. So, I had Trish's moths on one side of me and lots of moths coming in from the event, on the other side, all needing to be id'd; to say things got a tad hectic at the table would be rather an understatement, but, I ploughed my way through and kept going somehow although my brain was rather addled by the end of the evening!

A selection of species in one of the egg trays
Including; Large Yellow Underwing, Copper Underwing Agg. Flame, Flame Shoulder
and a Hornet (top left)
This site has been known to attract hornets at past events and we weren't to miss out on this wonderful insect on this occasion either. They were coming to the readily to the white sheet and especially to the trap which was set up in the meadow, in fact, they were attacking and eating some of the moths and it was in this trap that we found the wings of an Old Lady (moth that is) - there should have been a sign saying 'handle with care' when checking through this trap!

One of the Hornets
By mid-evening macros were still coming in in good numbers, these included: Centre Barred Sallow, Straw Dot, Sallow, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Barred Sallow, Clay Triple-lines, Brown-spot Pinion and Dusky Thorn. The micros also were also still very active: Clepsis spectrana, Hypatima rhombiodella, Acleris rhombana, Cataclysta lemnata and an excellent Prays ruficeps all came to the table.
Brown-spot Pinion
Barred Sallow
Clay Triple-lines
Sallow
As it drew towards midnight moth activity was on the wain, so it was decided that we should start packing up. Final species added to the list included: Yellow Shell, Angle Shades and a rather nice Acleris forsskaleana. For a full species list please click here.

Acleris forsskaleana
The only migrant species of the night was the Silver Y.  
  
Silver Y
Many thanks to members of the 'events team' for doing an excellent job as always, and thanks to Gavin for taking the photos, and to Paul (standing in for Sue) for supplying us all with a selection of biscuits during the evening.

Peter.