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Gloucestershire Moth Report 2011 Moth recording has continued to be a popular activity in Gloucestershire with many people recording in their gardens and a smaller number recording away from home. Most recording is made running light traps. There are far fewer records derived from day-time observation as might be expected. Only a small percentage of records are larval and very few of those are carried through to breeding out the perfect specimen. Digital photography now plays an important part in helping with identification and also disseminating to a wider audience the extraordinarily beautiful forms that exist in the moth world. Despite all the activity that is taking place Gloucestershire is very much under-recorded being a large county with extensive areas of woodland in the west and north, and very thinly populated rural areas in the east. Parts of the Forest of Dean have never seen a moth trap and even where a regular and well supported trapping programme has taken place such as at Lower Woods, the extensive GWT Reserve near Wickwar, there is still much to discover. In the year under review several sessions have been held in Woodchester Park south of Stroud, Breakheart Hill Quarry south of Dursley and Dymock Wood near the M50 in the north of the county. The chart below shows numbers of records made in the last five years. The apparent dip in numbers in 2011 is, I hope, temporary. At the time of writing my report a year ago I had had 13542 records for 2010. The number stands now at 18764 and there may be more. I expect more 2011 records will reach me in due course that will level the numbers. All moths Macros Micros 2007 8860 5953 2907 2008 9723 6934 2789 2009 14274 10201 4523 2010 18764 12792 5972 2011 16774 10847 5927 The weather in 2011 After a period of very cold weather the season got off to a remarkable start with a very warm April. Conditions were so good that some species emerged up to four weeks earlier than normal. (Later in the year this resulted in second and even third generation adults in species not normally producing these). Unfortunately this early promise did not continue and the summer turned out to be average only. Things brightened up in the autumn when a period of warm winds from a southerly direction brought many migrants to our shores and the numbers reaching Gloucestershire were more than we normally see. MACROMOTHS Top 28 most widespread macro-moth species 10km Code Taxon Vernacular Records 2441 Autographa gamma Silver Y 43 1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 42 1727 Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet 42 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 41 2050 Eilema lurideola Common Footman 41 1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 41 1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 41 2089 Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart 41 2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 41 2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 41 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow 2111 Noctua janthe Underwing 41 1724 Xanthorhoe spadicearia Red Twin-spot Carpet 41 1742 Camptogramma bilineata Yellow Shell 41 2126 Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character 41 1991 Deilephila elpenor Elephant Hawk-moth 40 1713 Idaea aversata Riband Wave 40 1994 Phalera bucephala Buff-tip 39 1702 Idaea biselata Small Fan-footed Wave 39 2321 Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches 39 2306 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades 39 2343 Mesapamea secalis Common Rustic 39 2199 Mythimna pallens Common Wainscot 39 2188 Orthosia incerta Clouded Drab 39 2477 Hypena proboscidalis Snout 39 2474 Rivula sericealis Straw Dot 39 2198 Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot 39 2318 Cosmia trapezina Dun-bar 39 2044 Eilema griseola Dingy Footman 39 Records for all migrant macromoths were as follows: Silver Y (67), Humming-bird Hawk-moth (25), Vestal (12), Dark Sword-grass (10), Small Mottled Willow (5), Small Marbled (3), Pearly Underwing (2), and singletons of Bordered Straw, Portland Ribbon Wave, Rannoch Looper, Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Ni Moth, Delicate, Four-spotted Footman, Gem, White-point, Flame Brocade and Clancy’s Rustic. The last two have not been recorded in Gloucestershire before, but unfortunately they are unconfirmed as there was no supporting evidence. The rather tattered Portland Ribbon Wave was also a first for the county and appeared in the Mangotsfield, Bristol garden of Denise Whittle on 2nd June followed four days later by only our second county record of a Rannoch Looper. Notes on selected macro-moths other than migrants in alphabetical order by common name Clouded Buff This handsome moth can be found in Cinderford Linear Park and in 2011 was found away from Laymoor Quag for the first time. Cream-spot Tiger (Local) All my few records for this species had been from the south and west of the county so it was a great surprise when John Widgery found a larva on Cleeve Hill in the north of VC33 on 22nd October 2011. This is the only record for VC33. Double Line The sudden appearance of this moth in several places in 2010 was not a freak event as there were four further scattered records in 2011. Double Lobed Until 2011 all records of this moth had been east of the Severn. One was trapped at Milkwall, Coleford by Susan Dewsbury on 22nd June and another here at St Briavels on 27th July. Forester Moth (BAP species) The chance discovery of this moth in Cinderford Linear Park in 2008 has led to several sightings there. A careful search in 2011 established that the moth is present throughout the full length of the Park, a distance of approximately 3 km. Moseley Green some 4 km further south has similar habitat and it is hoped to mount a search there in 2012. A new site was discovered on the edge of the Cotswold Water Park by John Martin. Hoary Footman (Notable Nb) Perhaps the most unexpected macro record in 2011 was the discovery of a colony of this species in Breakheart Hill Quarry by Steve Chappell. On the night in question, 24th July 2011, Steve had Hoary Footman (12) and Scarce Footman (7) and could readily separate the species when comparing them together. The only other records are very old ones from the Bristol area. Hornet Moth (Notable Nb.)The amazing reappearance of this moth in 2008 after a gap of 62 years unseen has continued to provide records. There were seven in 2011 from four different people. Large Wainscot I usually receive three or four records each year of this moth which is quite common. I have included it in my list this year as I have had no fewer than 24 records in 2011. Light Feathered Rustic (Notable Nb.) This species has only been reported from three places in recent years. It is recorded regularly at Ringhill Farm on Haresfield Hill by Roger Pearce where he had up to six on eight different dates in 2011. Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Notable Na.) Until 2011 we had one record post-1950 when a larva was found in 1993 at a site north of Bisley. Matthew Oates has had two sightings at a site in the Stroud valley which suggests that this elusive insect is still resident in the county. Northern Drab (Local) Peter Hugo trapped one of these at Sherborne on 10th April 2011, the first record for three years which seems to be the interval between records. Pine Hawk-moth First recorded in the county in 2006 we now have five records with one in 2011 from Laycombe Ditch Wood south-east of Dursley. All are from the Cotswolds. It is curious that there are no records (yet) from the Forest of Dean though my earlier remarks about how under-recorded it is must be borne in mind. Plumed Prominent (Notable Na) Recording of this rare moth, which flies in November, is now a regular feature of the programme since Peter Hugo re-discovered it at Withington Woods in 2005. In 2011 recording was concentrated on the Chedworth Reserve where it was found last year. It was found on four separate dates and along the length of this linear reserve. On 12th November thirty- one individuals were recorded altogether. Silver Cloud (Notable Na) This moth was regularly recorded in the Severn Vale, the national stronghold, but seems to have declined with a handful of recent records only from the north of the county. Small Argent & Sable Virtually the only recent records for this pretty little moth are from Cinderford Linear Park at the south end where it was found again in 2011. There must be other sites as the food-plant is not uncommon. Small Brindled Beauty Until two or three years ago this early species was not recorded every year. Latterly there have been six or seven records a year which suggests an increase in the population. The Streak This species flies in October and records in the last ten years have only been from Rick Benson-Bunch near Newent, and from my garden here at St Briavels. Waved Carpet (Notable Nb) This species appears to be restricted to the Wye Valley area and the valley east of Stroud. I only have twelve records, going back to the 1950s. Guy Meredith found one in Siccaridge Wood on 11th July 2011. White-line Snout (Notable Nb) I was beginning to fear that we had lost this moth as the last records had been in 2003. Happily, Guy Meredith trapped one at Lancaut on 26th July 2011. Wood Tiger This was only recorded from two sites in 2011, Cleeve Hill and Ringhill Farm on Haresfield Hill where a colony appears to have become recently established. It has a flight season of several weeks in mid-summer. I hope the dearth of records is because the many sites that we have have not been visited and not because it has declined. MICROMOTHS The table on the next page shows the 20 most widespread micromoths defined by the numbers of 10 km squares in which they have been recorded. 10km Code Taxon Vernacular Records 1304 Agriphila straminella 42 385 Anthophila fabriciana 40 1405 Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl 39 67 Stigmella plagicolella 39 1305 Agriphila tristella 39 1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella Garden Grass-veneer 39 1076 Celypha lacunana 38 303 Parornix anglicella 38 937 Agapeta hamana 38 1376 Eurrhypara hortulata Small Magpie 36 342 Phyllonorycter coryli Nut Leaf Blister Moth 36 1398 Nomophila noctuella Rush Veneer 36 464 Plutella xylostella Diamond-back Moth 35 1011 Pseudargyrotoza conwagana 35 1338 Dipleurina lacustrata 35 1392 Udea olivalis 35 111 Stigmella microtheriella 35 1344 Eudonia mercurella 35 658 Carcina quercana 35 1388 Udea lutealis 34 Migrant micromoths in 2011 As has been indicated earlier in this report, there were more migrants than usual in 2011. Numbers of micromoth records were as follows:- Diamond-back (21), Rusty-dot Pearl (17), Rush Veneer (6), Oxyptilus laetus (2), Tebenna micalis (1) and Palpita vitrealis (1). As will be seen in the table on the next page, O.laetus and T.micalis are new county records. Recorders identified by initials on the table on the next page Gordon Avery (GRA), Steve Chappell (SC), George Davis (GD), Matthew Hollands (MH), Robert Homan (RH), Peter Hugo (PDJH), Neale Jordan-Mellersh (NJM), Guy Meredith (GHJM), Tony Perry (TP), Alan Prior (AP), Roger Ward (RW), Mark Young et al (MY) and Pavlo Zaltowski (PZ). Name Stage Site Date Recorder Comment 20 Ectoedemia decentella Adult Bristol 02/07/2011 NJM New to VC 34 21 Ectoedemia sericopeza Mine Cheltenham 30/06/2011 RH New to VC33 and Glos 21 Ectoedemia sericopeza Mine Bristol 27/07/2011 RH New to VC34 107 Stigmella regiella Mine Lower Woods 19/09/2011 GHJM New to VC34 124 Tischeria dodonaea Mine Forest of Dean 05/11/2011 GHJM Several records 145 Nemophora minimella Adult Oakridge 14/08/2011 GHJM Second record since 1953 219 Nemapogon ruricolella Adult Dymock Wood 04/07/2011 GHJM Confirmation of vague early record 243 Tinea dubiella Adult Cheltenham 03/08/2011 GHJM Confirmation of vague early record 365 Phyllonorycter comparella Mine Twyning 26/09/2011 RH New to VC33 and Glos 386 Tebenna micalis Adult Slimbridge 26/08/2011 AP New to VC34 and Glos 512 Coleophora binderella Adult Lancaut NR 26/07/2011 GHJM First confirmed county record 588 Coleophora salicorniae Case Severn Beach 29/09/2011 GHJM New to VC34 and Glos 724 Metzneria lappella Adult Gloucester 02/06/2011 GRA New to VC33 729 Isophrictis striatella Larva Forest of Dean 13/10/2010 GHJM New to VC34 736 Monochroa lucidella Adult Forest of Dean 06/08/2011 GHJM Notable Nb. First record for 10 years. 755 Stenolechia gemmella Adult Breakheart 02/09/2011 SC First record since 1962 806 Gelechia nigra Adult Chedworth 09/09/2011 PDJH Third county record 832 Caryocolum blandella Adult Charlton Kings 03/06/2011 RW New to VC33 841 Sophronia semicostella Adult Dursley 25/06/2011 SC Second record since 1919 879 Batrachedra pinicolella Adult Dymock Wood 04/07/2011 GHJM First record since 1955 885 Mompha conturbatella Adult Forest of Dean 20/07/2011 GHJM First record since 1991 933 Phalonidia gilvicomana Adult Painswick Beacon 10/06/2011 PZ First record since 1996 956 Cochylidia implicitana Adult Thrupp 22/08/2011 PDJH Third county record New to VC33 followed by three more 964a Cochylis molliculana Adult Charlton Kings 05/08/2011 RW records in VC33 974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana Adult Gloucester 14/07/2011 PZ Second county record 1026 Exapate congelatella Adult Breakheart 22/12/2011 SC First record since 1920 1050 Acleris boscana Adult Cambridge 21/03/2011 SC New to VC34 1051 Acleris logiana Adult Eastcombe 11/11/2011 TP Second county record 1101 Endothenia ustulana Adult Lower Woods 29/06/2011 GHJM First record since 1998 Endothenia 1104 quadrimaculana Adult Ashleworth Ham 22/08/2011 MY Second record since 1938 1123 Ancylis laetana Adult Lower Woods 03/05/2011 GHJM First record since 1917 1146 Epinotia rubiginosana Adult Cambridge 01/07/2011 SC First record for 10 years. 1147 Epinotia cruciana Adult Dymock Wood 04/07/2011 GHJM First record since 1999 1228a Pammene ignorata Adult GHJM Now known from four sites in Glos 1275 Dichrorampha flavidorsana Adult Cheltenham 29/07/2011 GHJM First record for 10 years 1336 Eudonia pallida Adult Rare until 2010, now 24 recent records 1373 Paratalanta pandalis Adult Beechknapp 21/05/2011 GHJM Notable Na. First record since 1996 1403 Diasemiopsis ramburialis Adult Cheltenham 15/06/2002 RH New to VC33 and Glos 1408 Palpita vitrealis Adult Eastcombe 11/11/2011 TP Rare migrant 1461 Assara terebrella Adult Parkend 27/08/2011 GD Third record since 1936 1492 Oxyptilus laetus Adult Cheltenham 30/06/2011 MH New to VC33 and Glos 1492 Oxyptilus laetus Adult Forest of Dean 02/07/2011 GHJM New to VC34 1520 Hellinsia osteodactylus Larva Breakheart 10/09/2011 GHJM First record since 1975 Comments on some micro moths 21 Ectoedemia sericopeza. The mine is in the winged samara of Acer platanoides and is not immediately obvious. Having found what to look for Robert then made these two records in both our vice-counties. 365 Phyllonorycter comparella. This species has been spreading in Worcestershire having been thought extinct until recently. Tony Simpson, the Worcestershire recorder, told Robert Homan where he might find the mines. Having found it in several places in Worcestershire Robert finally was successful in Gloucestershire. 386 Anthophila fabriciana seems to have suffered a population crash. Commonly known as the Nettle Tap this species could be found virtually anywhere that there are nettles (see table of widespread micromoths). In 2011 there were only two records, likewise in 2010, whereas in 2009 there were 47 records and I have 402 altogether. 386 Tebenna micalis. This migrant was found on a very wet trapping evening at WWT Slimbridge. 588 Coleophora salicorniae This species requires careful searching of glasswort, a saltmarsh species, on which the case can be found. Several visits were made to suitable habitat before this record was made by Guy Meredith. 964a Cochylis molliculana This relatively recent addition to the British list has spread rapidly and from our first records in South Gloucestershire in 2009 and 2010 it has appeared in Cheltenham and Gloucester with five records altogether in 2011. 974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana. This species is given as common on heaths and moors. Our first record was bred out from a nectarine in Cheltenham and the second appeared in the middle of Gloucester, where up to three have been seen. We are fairly confident about the identifications so it would seem that this species has changed its habits. 1228a Pammene ignorata The first record was in 2006 when Guy Meredith found this species at Lower Woods. It was then only the second record for Britain. Being similar to other Pammene sp dissection is required. It has now been found in several places in Gloucestershire and also elsewhere in the country. 1492 Oxyptilus laetus This is a rare migrant and the few records are mostly from southern counties. There was a small influx this year and it so happened that we had one record from each vice-county. RECORDERS I am grateful to the following for supplying two or more records. David Anderson, Gordon Avery, Juliet Bailey, Phil Barden, Simon Barker, Rick Benson-Bunch, Mike Boyes, Michael Bradley, Chris Britton, Jon Brock, Geoff Butler, Graham Champken, Steve Chappell, Peter Cranswick, Ken Cservenka, George Davis, Tim Davis, Susan and David Dewsbury, Alastair Driver, Jeremy Doe, Peter Fitchett, Derek Foster, Dave Grundy, Michael Harper, Ken Heron, Robert Homan, Peter Hugo, Neale Jordan-Mellersh, David Iliff, Mary Anne Jones, Andrew Lodge, John Martin, Jacquie Matthews, Mike McCrea, Guy Meredith, Joan Oakley, Matthew Oates, Steve Owen, Mark Parsons, Roger Pearce, David Perkins, Tony Perry, Vic Polley, David Priddis, Alan Prior, Hilary and Hugh Purkess, Joanna Rutherford, Philip Sansum, David Shenton, Bob Smith, Chris Tracey, Colin Twissell, Roger Ward, Roger Wasley, Bob Wills, Denise Whittle, John Widgery, Paul Wilkins, Ruth Wollen, Robert Woods, Beryl Woollett, Mark Young and Pavlo Zaltowski. The following deserve special mention for extensive recording away from their homes. Steve Chappell, Peter Cranswick, Robert Homan, Peter Hugo, Guy Meredith and Roger Pearce. In addition to a prodigious amount of recording, with dissections as necessary, Guy Meredith has refined the mapping programme at http://www.gloucestershire-butterflies.org.uk/Guys_maps/mothmap.html so that it now offers even more information about the distribution of Gloucestershire Moths. This has had over 2500 ‘hits’ so far and is an up to date reference resource. Thank you, Guy! Instead of arranging some photographs in an Appendix as last year I have made up two PDF files one with some macromoth photographs and the other with photos of micros. These will be attached separately to the email carrying this report. Roger Gaunt, St Briavels, 5th February 2012.
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