Llanelli Naturalists Newsletter - Winter 1991/1992
Ian Morgan

The amount of time spent on moth trapping by the author in 1991 slumped considerably due to other commitments, but again Barry Stewart (BS) provided a host of interesting records. 0thers too, were quite active during the season with significant hatches of records received for example, from Andrew Lucas and Daniel Raynor.

One of Barry's regular trapping stations was the back garden of his home at Water Street, Kidwelly 22/409074 where the surrounding habitat comprises pastoral farmland, scrub, gardens and the small town of Kidwelly with its medieval castle. Noteworthy captures at this site were a dog's tooth Lacanobia suasia 28/5, white pinion-spotted Lomographa bimaculata 28/5, lesser treble bar Aplocera efformata 29/5, marbled coronet Hadena confusa 31/5, campion H. rivularis 31/5, small elephant hawk Deilephila porcellus 3/7, Brussels lace Cleorodes lichenaria 26/7, marbled green Cryphia muralis muralis  26/7 and a large ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta on 4/10 & 12/10. Not far away, the deep wooded dingle, wet carr and pastures around Cwm Clydach 22/444075 provided records of the coronet Craniophora liqustri peacock moth Semiothisa notata and scarlet tiger Callimorpha dominula (all 5/7) and a slender brindle Apamea scolopacina on 15/8.

Barry also spent a couple of nights trapping further inland in the limestone ashwoods at Coedydd Carmel 22/603165, where the green arches Anaplectoides prasina 17/7 and a small waved umber Horisme vitalbata 21/5 were captured; the latter's larvae feeds on traveller's joy Clematis vitalba which grows hereabouts. Beating of this plant also provided several pretty chalk carpets Melanthia procellata on 15/7, a species that is very local in SW Wales due to the scarcity of it's foodplant. Nearby, the bog and acidic quartzite outcrops at Cors Carmel 22/593156 yielded the annulet Gnophus obscuratus (which is rather scarce away from the coast), neglected rustics Xestia castanea and a few bleached pugs Eupithecia expallidata on 19/8 (all BS). The caterpillars of the bleached pug feed on goldenrod Solidage virgaurea which commonly grows on the bare quartzite slopes. Only a few hundred metres away on 2 August, near Garn-big 22/584157 on the same outcrop, the author was fortunate to find the colourful caterpillars of the star-wort Cucullia asteris again feeding on goldenrod which profusely lines the rough pathway at this point. This species, which has only been recorded at a few Welsh sites, also occurs on saltmarshes where the larvae feed on sea aster. Another inland record of interest were the grey mountain carpets Entephria caesiata that were regularly flushed from herbaceous vegetation on the precipitous slopes above Llyn-y-Fan fach 22/805215 by the writer and N.R. Thomas on 1 August.

0n the coast, some other noteworthy records by BS were the rosy waves Scopula emutaria and round-winged muslins Thumatha senex disturbed from saltmarsh herbage near Penclacwydd 21/530984 on the evening of 17 July, and the earlier (30/5) record of a mother shipton Callistege mi from adjacent grassland.

Round-winged muslins were also caught by BS at Pembrey Saltings 21/42-99- 29/7 together with a brown-veined wainscot Archanara dissoluta; the surrounding dunes provided excitement on 21 and 30 August when several grass eggars Lasiocampa trifolii trifolii were light-trapped. The grass eggar is a scare and local species which occurs on sand dune systems on the coast of southern England. Lancashire and south Wales, as well as on the Dorset heaths.

The Phragmites marsh and fen pasture at Ffrwd Nature Reserve 22/419024 also gave good results for BS; double kidney Ipimorpha retusa 2/8, southern Mythimna straminea Webb's Archanara spargani and large wainscots Rhizedra lutosa on 4/9, and a Svensson's copper from Coed-y-Marchog 22/423023. an open oakwood that overlooks the Reserve.

In the "Butterfly Ride" 22/395018 of Pembrey Forest, BS caught a scallop shell Rheumaptera undulata and a scarce burnished brass Diachrysa chryson  August, the latter now being a yery local species, found in a few southern English counties and SW Wales; its larvae feed on hemp agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum (which grows on damp parts of the "Butterfly Ride").

Andrew Lucas embarked on a trapping programme in 1991 to ascertain the potentially rich moth fauna of Celli Aur Country Park 22/59-19- and his first season of trapping was rewarded by the capture of an oak hook tip Drepana binaria on 18 May, a slender brindle Apamea scolopacina on 17 July and, on the same date, a scarce silver lines Bena prasinana - handed in by a visitor who found it resting on his car in the car park! The scarce silver lines is a very local inhabitant of oakwoods and the Celli Aur indiyidual constitutes a new county record for Carmarthenshire.

Another recorder (whose 1991 results are awaited) is Robin Howard, who is currently engaged on survey work of British Coal sites near Llandybie. One noteworthy result that is at hand is the Blair's shoulder knot Lithophane leautieri hesperica trapped near Glyn-glas 22/60-14- on the night of 15 0ctober. This species, whose larvae feeds on various cypresses, has been colonising southern Britain since the first specimen was recorded on the Isle of Wight in 1951: the Glyn-glas individual was a new county record for Carmarthenshire.

Finally, there were only two migrant records of note - the convolvulus hawk¬moth Agrius convolvuli watched feeding at tobacco plant flowers in a garden at Rhandirmwyn 22/78-43- on 18 September (reported by Dafydd Davies), and another caught be pupils of the Graig School, Pwll 22/488009 on the 26th of the same month (reported by JRE & K. Walters).

Acknowledgments Thanks are due to the following for submitting records: Alison Cox, Dafydd Davies, J.R. Ellis, Julian Friese, Lin Gander, Luke Gravett, Robin Howard, George Hutchinson, Andrew Lucas, Richard Pryce, Daniel Raynor, Eileen Harvey, K.A. Sheridan, Barry Stewart and Pippa Whitton. Particular thanks to Julian Friese, George Hutchinson and Barry Stewart for their regular, unprompted quality contributions. Readers are kindly requested to note that, for inclusion in the annual Llanelli Naturalists Newsletter summary of the year's recording, records are required by the end of October /preferably a month earlier).

References

Barker, T.W. (1905) A Handbook to the Natural History of Carmarthenshire. W. Spurrel & Son, Carmarthen.

Brunker, J (1959)    A half-century of natural history. Trans. Carms. Antiquarian and Field Club 1:194-199, 4:70-73

Thomas J. & Lewington, R (1991) The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland. Dorling Kindersley and the National Trust.