Saturday 6 July 2024

Darned Scoparia/Eudonia things!

This post kicks off with a whole pile of these ghastly Crambids which are a pain to identify. Any help would be very much appreciated. I'll likely take a good few samples for dissection, I have one or two in the fridge. However, if you know what any of these are, or can confirm or correct my presumptive identifications please do comment below (if you don't want to comment publicly please FB Message me, or email.). Please refer to the #numeral and apologies for these being out of order. Many, many thanks. The more I look at these the more confused I become, on the whole!

#2 Eudonia mercurella

#1 Eudonia mercurella Corrected Eudonia lacustrata.

#4 Eudonia truncicolella or lacustrata

# 3 Eudonia truncicolella

#5 Eudonia mercurella, corrected to Scoparia ambigualis

#6 Eudonia pyralella Corrected to Scoparia ambigualis.

In other business Spotted Flycatcher is becoming regular in the garden. I've seen both Osprey and Kingfisher again on the patch. Interestingly, the Common Gulls have disappeared and Lesser Black-backed Gulls are regularly around 30, stealing the sheep feed.

Elephant Hawk-moth was nice (and easy to identify) in the traps on election night, when the rain came in earlier than expected, so I didn't catch much in total.


Elephant Hawk-moth.

And Clouded Buff was exceptionally nice.

Clouded Buff.

I've dissected three minors Oligia sp as they are not reliable from external characters.

All were females, and one dissection my solution was a bit strong and everything of use disappeared. But the other two worked and proved Marbled Minor.



Marbled Minor, female.

Most valuable record of the week; I poked about in Oak Trees and in a spider's web found a long dead "thing". I thought it was an Ichneumon, but on sticking it under the microscope found it was a cranefly that mimics Ichneumons. Not only that it was nationally scarce Ctenophora pectinicornis. According to NBN mine, when verified, will be the most northerly UK record, rather chuffed.




Bits of long deceased Ctenophora pectinicornis.

I'm still battling with botany! And it helps with finding interesting insects. Here's today's find.



Grypocoris stysi.

The dog and I were nearly taken out by, or maybe nearly took out about eight cyclists, as we were in the verge/road edge when taking the photos. It could have been rather messy. In the garden, on the Buddleia was another addition to my spider list (and garden list). I'm still slowly adding things to my PSL. I think I've got enough here to claim Araniella cucurbitina.



Cucumber Spider, Araniella cucurbitina, the genitalia don't seem to stick out enough for the very similar confusion species, A. opisthographa.

 

Saturday 29 June 2024

Post-covid

Having managed to avoid this very unpleasant, and sometimes tragically serious, illness for all these years I seem now to be in the recovery phase of a bout. Whilst whatever variant we are now dealing with is unpleasant it is fortunately not as serious an illness as it once was. I'm not very good at being unwell though and a large dose of grumpiness has accompanied the fever. Activity has been considerably reduced. Follows a set of substandard images from the light traps as I can't be bothered to edit them properly, and they'll do for iRecord.

Angle Shades.

Barred Red

Brussels Lace

Buff-tip

Coxcomb Prominent

Foxglove Pug

Light Emerald

Mottled Beauty

Peacock

Scalloped Shell

Small Clouded Brindle (NFM)

Tawny Barred Angle (NFM)

The one light trapping session produced more than 40 moth species. There are a few micro and macro dissections to do to complete the list. A Bryotropha, a Coleophora and a Dicrorampha being the micros needing dissection. A couple of "Minors" require dissection for the macro list.

 A late Northern Cockchafer headed the beetle list.

Showing the tooth on the 3rd antennal segment.

Northern Cockchafer Melolontha hippocastani just prior to take off,.

Male appendage.

I thought this was probably quite a late record for this species. There have been a few other beetles, a good few awaiting my attentions as I haven't much felt like setting up the photos and doing fiddly dissections.`


Orange Ladybird Halzia sedecimguttata.

The weevil Otiorhynchus singularis

 The Orchid Beetle turned up in the garden.

Orchid Beetle Dascillus cervinus

There were some water beetles in the light traps, which I need to tackle, Ceutorhynchus typhi was on the kitchen window ledge and I came across a Malthodes in a nearby verge. I did have a go at this that keyed to Malthodes flavoguttatus, but it was a female so the outcome is I believe slightly in doubt.


Malthodes, female, feasibly flavoguttatus.

I've been working on the plant list within the garden, not the cultivars, the plants that can reasonably be considered to be wild. So far the list is 46 but there are a couple or three grasses that I'm struggling with.

Recovering from covid I've sat about in the garden a fair bit. Spotted Flycatcher sat briefly on the gate and the behaviour of the Robins was interesting. Every-now-and-then taking a break from feeding the offspring by sunbathing and preening.





Robin

Not wishing to pass the covid on I didn't go to the pre-meeting for the hustings which are taking place here on Monday. I would like to vote Labour, and maybe I will, but the important job in this constituency is to keep the Tories out so I may have to vote SNP, just to be sure. It would be nice if we can have no Tory MPs at Westminster for Scotland. For various reasons, including not supporting independence, I'm not a great fan of the SNP. However, I have voted for them in the past. In our elections, where there is proportional representation for the Scottish Parliament, it is worth voting Green (despite Scottish Greens being a pro-independence party), but for Westminster, "Kick out the Tories" is the order of the day. The whole Reform situation is very concerning in England, they won't get many votes here, thankfully. There are some useful comments on the various manifestos on the Wild Justice website - https://wildjustice.org.uk/general/our-general-election-guest-blogs-an-introduction-index-and-reference-point/

Sunday 16 June 2024

Keep up!

Being a bit of a pedant about documenting records keeping up with iRecord, in particular, is hard work. I'm quite behind.

However, I have managed to finish my review of the Orkney micro-moths, hopefully that will be of use. There are still quite a few loose Orkney ends to tidy up.

Anyway, here in Perthshire I'm a bit challenged with identification problems, and I've hardly run light traps as it's been quite cold.

Tenthredopsis nassata, female.

This rather lovely sawfly was in the roadside verge not far from the house. Obsidentify suggested Tenthredopsis scutellaris. On checking NBN that's quite a rare species, a little research revealed that T. nassata was more likely, particularly as this was quite a large animal, probably at least 12mm long. Trying to key this from a photo is nigh impossible, however, T. coquebertii can be ruled out on the colouration of the head and size ruled out scutellaris. I should really have taken the specimen.

This fungi is quite common round and about.

Puccinia urticata.

It seems straightforward until you investigate a little further and discover that there are umpteen micro-species. My feeling is that life is too short to try to take this further, whether or not I should PSL tick this is another matter (it is ticked at the moment).

Nearly every day I have a good wander around The Ross patch. Until yesterday Redstart had proved quite elusive, being heard twice on the patch. The hound and I wandered up the estate road, Reed Bunting was singing, and there on the fence behind it, where I'd not heard Redstart previously, was a Redstart.

Redstart in Oak Tree.

Nice views and rubbish photos were obtained. And it was only the second time I'd located Reed Bunting. I wandered a couple of hundred metres up the track, and there was another Redstart. This one was in and out of the trees and on the boulders beside the roadway. My only explanation for this is that eggs have hatched and young are now needing to be fed so the males are more active feeding, and thus more visible.

Also this week excellent views of Garden Warbler, a Goosander with seven chicks, Grey Wagtail with young, but I think nothing new.

Blue Tits were feeding young in the garden.


Blue Tits.

  There are at least two pairs of Common Sandpipers, one pair on each river.

Common Sandpiper.

On the mammal front Daubenton's Bats are very active by The Ross bridge with Soprano Pipistrelles nearby along the back road. A fawn showed with a Roe doe on the estate.

Roe fawn.

The one light trap session produced a nice Brussels Lace, and the only other moth of interest escaped before I pressed the shutter button.

Brussels Lace.

I finally got around to identifying the tiny beetle that I'd found on the kitchen window ledge, it turned out to be Anthrenus fuscus. An interesting species, only found in Scotland in 1993. Before I vacced in the kitchen I took the pooter and had a bit of a more careful look along the window ledge. Nine more A. fuscus, some Dolychopidae, which I've yet to attempt, a Sylvicola cinctus, which I had to dissect, and an interesting, brightly covered Chrysomelid cereal beetle. Unfortunately there are two species that are pretty much identical externally, more dissection required.



Oulemma duftschmidi, male (fortunately).

I followed the instructions for dissection on UK Beetles and eventually got the bits out clean. At this point it's not immediately obvious what to do next. Fortunately for me the flagellum, which can be hidden in amongst all the male bits, was partially extruded, and it matched the appropriate illustration. There are very few records of this beetle in Scotland, so a good result.

Anthremus fuscus, a small thing at 2.4mm but fortunately quite easy to identify, due to the antennae which are distinctive.


I had another wee look at the Community Woodland. The raspberry bushes were heaving but it was the beetles which most entertained with Orchid Beetle and another member of a tricky species pair Oedemera lurida. Males of this pair are easy enough, but first figure out if the beetle you have is male or female.

Oedemera lurida, a female.

I took a specimen, but unfortunately the image didn't turn out as well as I hoped, although I think I can see an indent in the last sternite.

Female, Oedemera lurida, showing the indent in the last sternite.

However, I found the species again later in the week, and a male was clearly interested in a female, width of femur 3 = femur 2, at any rate not significantly expanded, so this confirmed the id. Not that easy though.

I've very kindly been sent some statistical information about this species pair which is helpful for the separation of them in the field (thank you BP). Body/thorax/head length means for males and females:

Oedemera virescens: males 8.9mm and females 9.2mm  Oedemera lirida: males 7.3mm and females 6.8mm 

This data should be applied with caution as there is quite a bit of variation within each species, however, it is interesting that in O. virescens males average smaller than females whilst in O. lurida males average larger. In the pair I observed two days ago the male was clearly the larger animal. In the field this information may be handy. In O. virescens the male has the hind femurs swollen, they are clearly larger than the femurs of the mid legs. There's a useful French paper on the Oedemeridae here - https://tinyurl.com/53zk4fnz

Oedemera livida, male is on the left.

Dascillus cervinus, Orchid Beetle.

Also at the Community Woodland a couple of nice moths.


Chrysoteucha culmella.

Micropterix calethella.

A few things yet to do, some beetles from the river gravels,and a few puzzling Platycheirus hoverflies, as well as a tiny Empid. A few plants to follow up on as well, plants where I need to go back with book in hand to check the details. Hopefully the weather will perk up a bit....