Saturday 31 August 2019

Poplar Hawk-moth eggs hatch

Poplar Hawk-moth instar larva eating willow leaf
Following the reports of Long-tailed Blue sightings in Sussex that have been grabbing the headlines, I have a long-tailed story to tell. It started on August 21st when the Poplar Hawk-moth laid about 40 eggs in the container I used to show the kids at the Halewick Park, Lancing event (see previous post). I added willow leaves to the container so that the larva would have something to eat when they hatched, which they duly did on 28th. They were slim 9mm miniatures of the large Hawk-moth larvae we are used to seeing, with characteristic long tails. They ate part of their egg, then whizzed about the container but didn't feed on the leaves. I was worried, and added some weeping willow leaves. Then some goat willow. Finally they were feeding on all 3 varieties. I added some poplar leaves for good measure, and these went down very well. So far so good, my little ones seem content with drying leaves and are growing - 10mm now, a 10% increase in a few days! Not looking forward to their school and teenage years, when they will be demanding more space and more food... Moths have continued to flock to our balcony light including a female Orange Swift and a Cypress Pug.
Later I visited Kithurst meadow and enjoyed the view and butterflies.
Poplar Hawk-moth larva eating its egg, surrounded by unhatched eggs

Poplar Hawk-moth eating egg

Poplar Hawk-moth instar larva 9mm eating willow leaf, Laothoe populi

Poplar Hawk-moth eggs
Poplar Hawk-moth instar larva 9mm

Brimstone Moth, Opisthograptis luteolata

Chinese Character, Cilix glaucata

Common Wainscot, Mythimna pallens

Marbled Green, Cryphia muralis

Marbled Green

Narrow-winged Grey, Eudonia angustea

unidentified Noctuid moth

Shuttle-Shaped Dart, Agrotis puta

Square-spot Rustic, Xestia xanthographa

Vine's Rustic, Hoplodrina ambigua

Kithurst meadow

Kithurst meadow

Small White

underside of Common Wave
Cypress Pug, Eupithecia phoeniceata

Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana

Setaceous Hebrew Character, Xestia c-nigrum

Hawthorn Shieldbug, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale at Littlehampton west bank.

Monday 26 August 2019

Mother of Pearl, Orange Swift and other moths

Mother of Pearl, Pleuroptya ruralis
The warm windless evenings have brought some interesting moths to the balcony the past few days: Common Wainscot, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer, Garden Carpet, Light Emerald, Mother of Pearl, Small Dusty Wave, Bright-line Brown-eye, Cabbage Moth, Common Plume, Elder Pearl, Lime-speck Pug, Marbled Green, Pearl Veneer, Rusty Dot Pearl, Shuttle-Shaped Dart, Willow Beauty plus a new one: Orange Swift.
Bright-line Brown-eye, Lacanobia oleracea

Cabbage Moth, Mamestra brassicae

Common Plume, Emmelina monodactyla

Common Wainscot, Mythimna pallens

Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer, Agriphila geniculea

Elder Pearl, Phlyctaenia coronata

Garden Carpet, Xanthorhoe fluctuata

Light Emerald, Campaea margaritata

Lime-speck Pug, Eupithecia centaureata

Marbled Green, Cryphia muralis

Orange Swift, Triodia sylvina

Pearl Veneer, Agriphila straminella

Rusty Dot Pearl, Udea ferrugalis

Shuttle-Shaped Dart, Agrotis puta

Small Dusty Wave, Idaea seriata 

Willow Beauty, Peribatodes rhomboidaria

The Nutmeg, Anarta trifolii

Thursday 22 August 2019

Willow Emerald Damselfly and a Comma larva

Willow Emerald Damselfly, Chalcolestes viridis
We visited Woods Mill on 16th where I found a Comma larva. On 17th at a metal detecting dig I saw many black larvae on the leaves of a crop which turned out to be Turnip Sawfly larvae. On 19th during a walk round the Whiteways meadow I spotted a well worn Silver-washed Fritillary. On 21st I attended a kids event at Halewick Park, Lancing on behalf of Butterfly Conservation and met enthusiastic families who enjoy nature walks. Hopefully I was able to enthuse them about butterflies and the importance of conservation. Afterwards I visited Woods Mill and spotted a Sussex rarity, the Willow Emerald Damselfly, for the first time. At Beeding cement works I found a tiny Pea Moth (Cydia nigricana) on an Everlasting Pea flower  plus a couple of Cochylimorpha species moths (9mm long) on the clump of pea plants.
Comma 5th instar larva, Polygonia c-album

Woods Mill
Turnip Sawfly larva, Athalia rosae
acorn of Pedunculate Oak, Quercus robur 

Silver-washed Fritillary male, Argynnis paphia

Field Scabious, Knautia arvensis

Halewick Park

Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus

Pea Moth, Cydia nigricana at Beeding CW

Cochylimorpha species at Beeding CW

Ragwort Flea Beetle, Longitarsus jacobaeae at Beeding CW

Small White, Pieris rapae

Wall male, Lasiommata megera
Woods Mill
Mirid bug, Apolygus lucorum

Ruddy Darter male, Sympetrum sanguineum