Saturday, 14 August 2010

Plan C

En-route to my chosen photography spot (plan A) for today we got stuck behind a slow-moving tractor, so I chose an alternative location. When we arrived there our usual parking spot (plan B) was occupied, so we moved on to location 3 (plan C). It seemed that we were destined to find something special, and so it turned out: two new species for me, one of them a first county record.

Psychoides filicivora is a micromoth that eats the spore-bearing sori of ferns, primarily Male Fern. The larva gathers the contents of the sori and constructs a shelter from them. The shelter is the brown spore mass to the left of the midrib below. You can see where the sori have been removed from the frond to the right of the midrib:
Psychoides filicivora was first discovered in Ireland in 1909 and has moved to western Wales and England, mostly in coastal areas.

My second new discovery was the macromoth Haworth's Minor, which is usually found on Ragwort if the moth is out before dark. This is a very local species which feeds on Cotton Grass as a larva. As it happens, the nearest Cotton Grass is close to plan B where we normally park the car, perhaps 500 m. away.

I also got a rather nice shot of this Ichneumonid just as it landed. Notice the black stigma on the wing, which is a rather good diagnostic for Ichneumonids.

Sneezewort is also very local: I only ever see it in a couple of very small patches:
Finally, we can see that autumn is rolling in. These are the seeds of Common Sedge:


The Weaver of Grass said...

Your shots and your information are always a delight to read Stuart - there speaks a true naturalist. I have aphobia about moths but I have to say that that shot of the moth on the ragwort is a real beauty.
Incidentally - if you look on my blog list one of the sites is BT The Country Gardener. This lady lives in Ireland too. Yesterday she put a hairy caterpillar on her blog and asked if anyone knew what it would become. I suggested that she sent you the photograph, as you would be sure to know. Hope you don't mind.

Yoke, said...

Love the adult of the P. filicivora. Perhaps you happen to be there, wherever the adult decides to fly in time to come. who knows!

BT said...

Hello Stuart, I've been sent to you by Weaver!! We live in County Clare and have recently become very interested in moths. On a recent walk, I found some intriguing caterpillars and Weaver suggested I send a photo to you.. Ah I've just read Weaver's comment!

Loving your blog Stuart.

Stuart said...

Hello BT. Welcome and thanks for the nice comments. Your caterpillar is the Buff Tip, a moth that I showed a little while ago on

All the best.