Sunday, 16 August 2015

Tattynure bioblitz

A return trip to one of my favourite locations. The land is being very sympathetically 'encouraged' for support of wildlife, and it's showing. The site is yielding either first Irish, first Northern Irish or scarce species in good numbers, and I always expect to find something new.

One particular area is very good for leaf miners. I found the micromoth Stigmella magdalenae, which is the second NI record, and the first since 1995:

Mine of the micromoth Stigmella magdalenae on Rowan

On the same tree I also found Stigmella nyrandriella:
Mine of Stigmella nyrandriella on Rowan

The main difference between these two species is the frass pattern: very narrow in magdalenae and more dispersed in nyrandriella.

Both new to my Species Index.

Some leaves on Bog Myrtle are very small, but I noticed mines on even the smallest leaves. It's Stigmella salicis, which mines Willows and Bog Myrtle:

Mine of Stigmella salicis on Bog Myrtle
I deliberately left my fingers in the shot for scale: the mine is around 15 mm. from left to right, and the adult moth is 4-6 mm. wingspan.

Also new to my  Species Index.

Another stunner is the parasitic fly Tachina grossa. This fly is one of the largest flies in Europe, and is larger than most queen bumblebees. These parasitise larger moth larvae: the host must be large enough to support multiple larvae of this huge insect.

The parasitoid fly Tachina grossa
Also new to my  Species Index.

I'm not quite sure if the epithet 'grossa' refers to its size or its appearance.

As an aside, I'll mention that the fungal season has well and truly started in Northern Ireland. We found several mature fungi in good condition.