Sunday, 1 May 2016

April's butterfly and moth sightings

April in Newhaven was a poor month for moths and butterflies. I operated my moth trap on 22 nights out of 30 during the month. Forty four species were recorded; a total of 304 moths and butterflies were seen. 

For comparison, my personal ten year average in April is sixty three species and 619 sightings of individuals. Almost all species in April 2016 were seen in numbers below their ten year average, with the exceptions of Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) and Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa), which were both slightly above average but still only seen in low numbers (24 and 10 respectively). Butterflies were also below average in number, with only Peacock (Aglais io) being seen in something approaching good numbers with 58 individuals counted (43 of which were seen in one day at Well Bottom near Tarring Neville).

April saw the start of the 2016 transect-walking season at Newhaven's Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve. This, too, has been slow - the slowest start of all the six years that the walk has been performed.

The highlight of the month was the chance finding of a single Phyllonorycter rajella on the inside of my office window in Lewes on 14th. This appears to have been the first Lewes record since before 1849 and the first adult seen anywhere in Sussex since 1984 - 32 years ago.

Another highlight was a single Acleris cristana form fulvovittana, which was attracted to my garden on the night of 11th.

Species summary, April 2016 (44 species) (all adults unless stated below)

125W Robinson trap at home (29 species)

Case-bearing Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella)  1
Common Slender (Caloptilia syringella)  1
White-shouldered House Moth (Endrosis sarcitrella)  2
Sulphur Tubic (Esperia sulphurella)  1
Common Flat-body (Agonopterix heracliana)  1
Ruddy Flat-body (Agonopterix subpropinquella)  1
Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  24
Tufted Button (Acleris cristana f. fulvovittana)  1 - new site record
Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)  1
Narrow-winged Grey (Eudonia angustea)  2
Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla)  6
Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)  1
Frosted Green (Polyploca ridens)  1
Streamer (Anticlea derivata)  2
Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  14
Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)  1
Puss Moth (Cerura vinula)  1
Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon)  1
Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta)  1
Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda)  3
Powdered Quaker (Orthosia gracilis)  1
Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)  28
Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)  5
Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  53
Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta)  1
Mullein (Shargacucullia verbasci)  1
Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)  24
Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa)  10
Silver Y (Autographa gamma)  3

Fieldwork (15 species)

New Holm Oak Pigmy (Ectoedemia heringella)  mines on Evergreen (Holm) Oak (Quercus ilex)
Green Long-horn (Adela reaumurella)  1
Garden Midget (Phyllonorycter messaniella) mines on Evergreen (Holm) Oak (Quercus ilex)
Firethorn Leaf Miner (Phyllonorycter leucographella)  0
Common Alder Midget (Phyllonorycter rajella)  1
Fox Moth (Macrothylacia rubi)  2 dead larvae
Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria)  1
Common Heath (Ematurga atomaria)  2
Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)  1
Small White (Pieris rapae)  8
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)  7
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)  7
Peacock (Aglais io) 58
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)  21
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)  2

Phyllonorycter rajella (Common Alder Midget)
Esperia sulphurella (Sulphur Midget)
Tufted Button (Acleris cristana f. fulvovittana)

Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria) at Well Bottom

Frosted Green (Polyploca ridens
Puss Moth (Cerura vinula)

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