Notice Board 2021

The notice board is one of the principal modes of communication for those interested in VC32 moths. I am keen to keep this resource active throughout the year and will be happy to post interesting sightings or issues. In general, at the time of recording I would like to hear of moths that are UK BAP species, new to the county, very localised or rare, or which have not been recorded since 2000. Additionally any exceptional or interesting captures, i.e. very high numbers, species seen out of season and unusual extremes of variation or melanism etc. will be welcome.

All other records can be submitted at the end of the season for inclusion in the central database.

Site Images: We are keen to complete the species illustrations on the site, additionally some of the earlier photographs now look below par and could be improved. If anyone has photographs of the species that we have not yet pictured, or clear improvements, and does not mind us using them to fill some of our gaps will they please let the County Moth Recorder Mark Hammond know. Any photographs used will of course be acknowledged.

The up to date grid square coverage map is now available by clicking onto:
Request for Information/Records from the County Recorder

IDENTIFICATION AND NOTICE BOARD ENTRIES: Any member of the group is able to handle identification queries on moths at any of their stages and if in doubt will refer the matter on for a second opinion. At the outset the insect should be retained and a realistic photograph provided to confirm the identity. Due to the limitations sometimes imposed by photographic images of moths it is not always possible to identify difficult species from a photograph alone. Basically there is always a preference for a moth in the hand. Accordingly if there are still doubts the actual insect should then be seen by either Mark Hammond, Philip Horsnail, Pete Sharpe or John Ward who will act as determinors.


2021 Records and Notices:

13th December 2021
A great argument for running moth traps throughout the winter months: a single Exapate congelatella has been recorded in Easton Hornstocks. This is the 2nd VC32 record of this species, the only other being of a single adult seen in or near Gretton in November 1941.

9th November 2021
A few retrospective records to report, following a large batch of dissections from a single garden trap site in Oundle (TL09):
New to VC32: Cotoneaster Webworm Athrips rancidella - five moths recorded on four separate occasions between 25th July and 8th August 2021. This species was hitherto only recorded in the south London/Surrey/Kent area, and thus appears well away from all other known records.
Coleophora conyzae - 3rd VC32 record taken on 19th July 2021
Argyresthia semitestacella - also 3rd VC32 record, noted on 28th July 2021

2nd November 2021
Further leaf-mining success to be reported, with another 1st VC32 record. Numerous mines of Phyllocnistis xenia were recorded on the outskirts of Peterborough (TF20) on sucker growth of Grey Poplar. The moth was first noted in the UK in 1974 in Kent, but has since expanded its range throug the south-east and into neighbouring Cambridgeshire.

30th October 2021
A second Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula has been recorded in a garden light trap, this time in Nassington (TL09).

27th October 2021
Several mines were recorded in fallen leaves of Black/hybrid Poplar in North Peterborough adjacent to Star Pit NR (TF20), proving to be those of Ectoedemia hannoverella - another new species to VC32.

26th October 2021
A single Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula was recorded in a garden light trap in Denton (SP85). This is the first VC32 record. The species has evidently increased its range in recent years, being recorded in other southern counties, including Bedfordshire. Really shows the benefit of keeping moth traps running during autumn and winter.
Addendum: Also recorded for the first time in Cambridgeshire/VC29 on 29th October.

17th October 2021
A productive day at Farethinghoe NR (SP54) has yielded approximately 30 mines of Phyllonorycter strigulatella have been located on Grey Alder. This is the 5th VC32 record. This species only utilises Grey Alder, a plant which appears to be fairly uncommon in the county. In addition to this, a single mine of Bucculatrix cidarella were also noted on Common Alder, within the same stand of Alder as a previous record in 2014, and thus the 3rd VC32 record.

13th October 2021
A new county record noted whilst looking for leaf-mines: Bucculatrix ulmifoliae with several seen on Elm in Grafton Park Wood (SP98). Initially recorded only in Surrey, this species has recently been noted in some of the neighbouring counties and is thus worth looking for on Elm, as the moth is apparently expanding its range within the UK. The mines are depicted here:

12th October 2021
A couple of very unseasonable records taken in garden light traps:
Coronet Craniophora ligustri recorded in Denton (SP85). The latest record I can see in the database is 2nd September (2020). The BC Atlas of Larger Moths of GB & I shows that the majority of records cease around mid-August, with a small tail to the end of August.
Common Pug Eupithecia vulgata to light in Higham Ferrers (SP96). Another species which is usually finished flying in August. There are a couple of late records in the database thus: 21st September 2018; 23rd October 2009

29th September 2021
A single L-album Wainscot Mythimna l-album has been recorded in the Pitsford Reservoir moth traps. This constitutes the 6th VC32 record, but also the 3rd record from Pitsford. It is of course very difficult to demonstrate that a moth is resident unless larvae are found, but this certainly raises the possibility that it might be breeding locally. Looking at the entry for this species in the recently published Atlas of Britain and Ireland's Larger Moths, it seems that the cluster of records in VC32 is quite a long way away from other records, most of which appear around the southern and eastern English counties, with some others along the southern coast of Wales. If the species was demonstrating stronger migratory tendencies, then I would expect the spread of records to include other, more central, counties. One to look out for!

14th September 2021
A couple of retrospective records to note following on from some recent dissection activity:
Three Phyllonorycter hostis (males) recorded to the NIG pheromone lure at Cogenhoe (SP86) - two on 2nd July 2021 and another on 9th July 2021. These represent the 2nd and 3rd VC32 known/confirmed records.
A single example of Haplotinea insectella was recorded to light at the same site as above on 2nd July 2021. This is the 3rd VC32 record.

11th September 2021
A single Cydia amplana was recorded in a garden light trap in Kingsthorpe, Northampton (SP76). This is the first time that this primary migrant has been recorded in VC32.

4th September 2021
A presumed vagrant Heath Rustic Xestia agathina was reported to a garden light trap in Nassington (TL09). Given the paucity of naturalised Hather in the county, records of this moth most likely derive from garden plantings. This example is only the 6th all-time VC32 record.

19th August 2021
Another single Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa was recorded at Delapre Abbey (SP75), this time to sugar. The 6th VC32 record.

3rd August 2021
A daytime sighting of the locally rare Nemophora fasciella, seen nectaring in a Sywell garden. This is actually the 6th VC32 record, but only the 2nd site. The moth may well be under-recorded as it is quite small and only usually seen by day. The larvae feed on Black Horehound which appears to be quite widespread throughout the county and thus one to be on the look-out for.

2nd August 2021
A further examnple of Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa was seen at light at Easton Hornstocks (TF00), making this now the 5th vice-county record.

29th July 2021
A 4th VC32 record of Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa was recorded to light at Pitsford Reservoir (SP77). This record follows two seen in 2020.

22nd July 2021
A single Elachista gleichenella was seen and photographed by day at Farthinghoe NR (SP54). This is the 5th county record for this rather glitzy moth.

16th July 2021
Two separate reports of Anarsia inoxiella have been received: one at Farthinghoe NR (SP54) and another at Duncote (SP65). The species has only been recorded four times previous to this year (2019 and 2020).

16th July 2021
Traps run in a meadow near Oundle (TL08) recorded six Monochroa palustrellus, which I believe is the 3rd VC32 record and so far the only one of multiple individuals.

15th July 2021
A second VC32 record of Haplotinea insectella was recorded in a garden light trap in Thrapston (SP97). The only highlight in a very small catch, both in terms of species and number of moths.

14th July 2021
Reported to the NBRC team via their on-line record system, one Nemophora metallica seen on Scabious. This is only the 6th VC32 record.

14th July 2021
A further record of a single Bedstraw Hawk-moth Hyles gallii recorded to light in Helpston (TF10).

2nd July 2021
Likely indication of further migration activity: a single Bedstraw Hawk-moth Hyles gallii was recorded to light in a Higham Ferrers garden (SP96)

1st July 2021
A very welcome record of a single Cloaked Pug Eupithecia abietaria, which was taken in a garden light trap in Northampton (SP76). This is the 8th VC32 record, but more significantly, is the first one seen for nearly 30 years, with the last record being in Geddington Chase, Geddington Chase and Yardley Chase were the two main sites for the moth, not that it was ever frequent. The larvae feed on mature Norway and Sitka Spruce, and Noble Fir. Despite having run light traps within habitats apparently fairly rich in these mature trees, I have never recorded the moth in VC32. Literature though does indicate that it only comes sparingly to light traps.

28th June 2021
Signs of migrant activity reported in the form of a single Rannoch Looper Macaria brunneata being taken at light in Northampton (SP76). I did see at least one more reported elsewhere on social media. This also represents the 1st county record for this species.

24th June 2021
A single Brachmia inornatella was taken in a garden moth trap in Thrapston (SP97). Following two records in 2018, this is the 3rd VC32 record of this predominantly wetland species.

2nd June 2021 - additional record
A single worn Aethes williana was netted on the Harrington Airfield quarry site (SP99) and subsequently confirmed by dissection (male). The 6th all-time VC32 record, but only the 4th since 2000, with two others noted from this same site in recent years.

5th June 2021
A single Cydia cosmophorana was taken to light in private woodland near Kettering (SP98). This is only the 5th county record which seems to be recorded only very sparingly at light traps.

5th June 2021
Hot on the heals of the sighting on 2nd June, a further singleton of Grapholita lunulana has been recorded, this time at Swaddywell Pits (TF10, 5th VC32 record), thus adding another known site for this species.

2nd June 2021
A couple of very hot hours on the old quarry at Harringworth Airfield (Spanhoe, SP99) yielded a singleton of Grapholita lunulana, which is the 4th VC32 record at what is thus far the only known site in the county that supports this primarily northern species. Extensive searching of the Wild Liquorice plants there also returned a single Grapholita pallifrontana - the first of the year as far as I am aware. I had anticipated seeing more at the site, but maybe they are only just on the wing (given the recent cold/wet spring weather).

30th May 2021
Another new species for VC32: Phyllonorycter hostis. This species has recently been recorded in nearby counties and two individuals were recorded to the NIG pheromone lure at Old Sulehay (TL09, dissected to confirm). I strongly suspect that this is another under-recorded species which will be seen to be more widespread with the use of lures. Worth looking for the mines on Apple trees in the coming few weeks, and trying lures again for the second generation around August.

28th May 2021
A new species for the Vice-county: Pammene suspectana has been recorded to the FUN lure at Northampton (SP76, twice, with a further specimen recorded on 29th May) with a further two more to the same lure at Castor Hanglands (TF10) on 29th May. This species seems reluctant to come to light, and thus it is likely to be under-recorded. The use of commercial lures may well improve our understanding of this species and show it to be much more widespread than previously thought.

19th May 2021
Another slightly belated report: I collected two small, unidentified larvae on 17th April 2021, as they "abseiled" down on silken threads from Norway Spruce, amongst a sizeable plantation on a privately-owned airfield site (SP98). One emerged today, proving to be Epinotia nanana. This represents the 5th VC32 record, and provides light relief from the otherwise very slow start to the season!

21st April 2021
A belated record of Bucculatrix cidarella to report. The adult emerged from a pot of over-wintered Common Alder leaf mines (retained for various Phyllonorycter species) collected in August 2020 from along the Nene at Thrapston (SP97) and which clearly went un-noticed at the time of collection! This is the 3rd VC32 record for the species.

17th April 2021
A single adult Epinotia pygmaeana was apparently attracted to the Emperor Moth pheromone lure (EMP) in amongst a Norway Spruce plantation in private woodland near Kettering (SP98). The moth was attracted around noon on a sunny day, which is correct for their flight-time. The moth is otherwise rarely encountered as the adults tend to remain at tree-top height and rarely attracted to light overnight, possibly accounting for the paucity of records. This species has been noted to be attracted to the EMP lure on The Continent and this is evidence to support that finding. The species is noted as being rare in the county, with only 5 previous records, and only 1 record since 2000. It may be worth trying this lure, and maybe others (e.g. FUN, MOL, SKI, etc) in suitable habitat to see if the moth is actually more widespread that thought.

21st March 2021
The first new species for VC32 for 2021: mines of Elachista poae were found just inside VC32 near Peterborough (TF00) on Reed Sweet-grass.

20th March 2021
Another interesting use of pheromone lures to report. I placed three different lures out within a 30m radius in amongst some Oaks in Fermyn Woods from about 2pm (lures being FUN [G. funebrana] , SKI [G. lobarzewski] and MOL [G. molesta] - all available from ALS). I recorded a total of 26 Pammene giganteana, being very evenly spread through the three different lures. To date the moth has been recorded mostly as singletons either by day or to light and is noted as being rare in VC32. I think that the use of any of these lures in suitable habitat (even try gardens), especially on sunnier afternoons or overnight, might show the moth to be much more widespread than first thought. The same lures may also be used to record P. argyrana in a couple of weeks, and maybe other related Tortrices too. if you do try this method, please let me know of successes and failures.

6th March 2021
I believe that the bulk of 2020 records have now been submitted, so I have penned a short review article, which can be downloaded here: Moth Review of 2020. As ever, I hope I have included evrything of interest! Please pass on if anyone else is interested. There have also been a few website updates, mainly to include some very useful comaprison images kindly borrowed from the Northumberland Moths web pages, courtesy of Tom Tams. Suffice to say that if you do still have any records lurking in the filing system, I accept these at any time.

4th March 2021
Butterfly Conservation have published an updated version of their report on moth populations in the UK. This is available for download here: State of Britain's Larger Moths 2021 report

8th January 2021
A belated Happy New Year wish to all, and to request for any outstanding moth records for 2020 (or indeed any others you may have lurking from previous years) to be sent to Mark Hammond as soon as possible please. As of today, I have received records from about 30 recorders (including some from iRecord) and the total number of 2020 records stands at a shade under 30,000. Too early to look for trends within these data, but I will not be surprised to see a relative paucity of e.g. woodland specialists - given that many people would have been restricted to garden-trapping due to the pandemic situation.