Sunday, 26 May 2013

Munching Micropterix

The Micropterigidae are unique in the world of Lepidoptera in that they have functional jaws! Most other moths can only consume liquids (using their proboscis) but these little guys like to munch pollen - in particular the most common species, Micropterix calthella, dozens of which can be found in early summer occupying buttercup flowers.

Last year about this time I recorded 45 of these little beauties at Glencairn Park. In similar conditions on Friday, I found just three.

Another highlight was this Heliozela (of the three Heliozela species probably hammoniella, based on the fact that its foodplant (birch) was closest, although sericiella (oak) can't be ruled out).

[EDIT 9 Jun: Actually, I wasn't really paying attention to the vegetation at the time. Only after returning to the spot for a third time did I notice the thick canopy of alder leaves above where I saw the moth - over which towers a humungous oak tree. H. hammoniella would be the least likely - it was probably resplendella!]

I found more suspected November/Winter Moth caterpillars, two again on beech (U#269/270) bringing the total to 8, but also a very similar one on hawthorn (U#275) along with a tortrix larva (U#276) on an adjacent leaf. I might go and retrieve the tortrix to rear.

[EDIT 9 Jun: I'm fairly sure they're Winter Moth! The hawthorn tortrix has now pupated.]

[EDIT 29 Jun: The hawthorn tortrix emerged, revealing itself to be a Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis cerasana)!]

U#275 - Geometrid larva on hawthorn
U#276 - Tortrix larva on hawthorn

Daytime Report 24 May 2013

Flying / on vegetation | @ Glencairn Park J3075, HVC39
Updated 9 Jun

  Green-veined White: 6
  Orange-tip: 6 (male)
  Heliozela resplendella: 1 probable [N] [Y] 
  Winter Moth: +3L (U#269/275)
  Pandemis cerasana: 1L [eY] (U#276)
  Micropterix calthella: 3 [Y]
  Grapholita jungiella: 2

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