Friday, 17 July 2015

Large Heath and Indian Meal Moths

Large Heath, Coenonympha tullia  ab. lunaris
to view a gallery with more photos, click here
On Sunday July 5 we left Sheffield to visit Penny, George and Dan outside Hull. On the way we stopped at Crowle Moor where I hoped to find the Large Heath again. We had previously seen it at this reserve on July 9  and July 11 2010 when we attended Dan and Gabi’s wedding. It necessitated leaving Sue in the car so we agreed I would have 30 minutes to find the critter. There were plenty of Ringlets, Large Skippers, Garden Grass-veneer moths and Blue-tailed Damselflies. I had given up on the Large Heath, and was within 50 meters of the car when a large white moth flew up beside the path. I watched it settle on the leaf of a tree. It closed its wings and I was astonished to find myself looking at a Large Heath. It was bigger than the previous specimens I remembered from five years before and also lacked any orange colouration on the forewing. It had settled on a head-high branch across a deep ditch and I took a series of shots, slowly pulling the branch towards me. It obligingly stayed where it had settled.
Two posts about Crowle Moor Large Heaths:

addition to this post made on 15 April, 2016:

I learned today that this Large Heath is a very rare aberration called ab. lunaris which is unique to this area of the country.

I am grateful to Pete Eeles of for introducing me to the following article:
Br.J.Ent.Nat.Hist.,18: 2005 'The first record of multiple allelomorphism in a British butterfly: Coenonympha tullia ssp. Polydama' by R.D.G. Barrington & M.C. White.

In the article the authors state: (I have paraphrased): "two very local colour forms have been found in an isolated population on the Humberhead Levels. They are best described as butterflies in which the wing markings are unaffected, but which lack the typical 'cinnamon' ground colour of the typical Humberhead specimens.

ab.lunaris: the cinnamon ground colour has been replaced by shades of grey. Between 1982 and 1998 49 individuals were recorded at an approximate ratio of 1 in 400."

  We arrived at Lilac Tree Farm and enjoyed a roast lunch which George had prepared. I roamed the garden and found various moths: Plum Tortrix, Common Nettle-tap, Dark Strawberry Tortrix and saw tiny froglets around the pond. We then drove to York to stay with Keith, Janet, Tom and Charlotte and enjoyed another fine meal. An Indian Meal Moth (aka Larder Moth) was photographed in the kitchen, apparently a common feature in the area.
Crowle Moor:
Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans
Garden Grass-veneer, Chrysoteuchia culmella
Looks like there are two moths on this image but I only saw one and cannot see any signs of a second one apart from two rear ends of right wings.

male Large Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus
Red Soldier beetle, Rhagonycha fulva
male Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus
Southern Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza praetamissa
spider - id needed
Yellow Rattle, Rhinanthus minor
Froglet, Rana temporaria 
Common Nettle-tap, Anthophila fabriciana
Dark Strawberry Tortrix, Celypha lacunana
flies mating, Meiosimyza decempunctata
fly - id needed
fly - id needed
Plum Tortrix, Hedya pruniana
Indian Meal Moth, Plodia interpunctella
Indian Meal Moth pupal case
Common Froghopper, Philaenus spumarius
Harlequin Ladybird larva, Harmonia axyridis
male Hoverfly, Helophilus pendulus
Magnolia tree
Mock-Orange, Philadelphus species

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