Llanelli Naturalists Newsletter - September 2006 - No 7
Jon Baker

For the second year running I’m afraid to say that not a great deal of moth survey work was carried out in the county during 2002. Yet again I was not well for much of the summer, and few other observers were trapping within the county. However I am very appreciative of the efforts of those who were, and who submitted their data to me for inclusion in the county database. David Poulter continued to run a trap at Pentre Poeth, as well as visiting a couple of other sites. Ian Morgan did some trapping around the Llanelli area and elsewhere. Alan Clarke sent me his data set from his Llandeilo garden. Sam Bosanquet contributed a selection of mainly daytime observations during his many visits to the county to survey Bryophytes as well as accompanying me on a few visits to Pembrey. Barry Stewart made a few trips across the border as per usual. And Rosemary Winnall made a visit to the county and made a full submission to me of her results. To all these I am indebted and I would like to apologise also for the oversight last year when I forgot to thank David Poulter for his submissions, which I had mislaid by mistake amongst my files.

For my part I did do a lot of mothing in the spring, mainly in Pembrey Forest, where I am carrying out a three-year survey. Sadly from June onwards I was not as able to continue this work as often as I would have wished. However I am hopeful that I will be well for 2003, and am looking forward to a busy year of trapping and daytime surveys.

I have now completed work on the County Databases and Lists which give a much clearer picture of the status of moths within v.c.44. Once my Pembrey project is finished in early 2004, I will hopefully begin work on the Atlas of Carmarthenshire Moths.

MOTH HIGHLIGHTS of 2002

All records below are mine, unless otherwise attributed. There were 23 new species added to the county list this year, and these are emphasised in BOLD type. In addition to these I am listing significant records of scarcer moths. The number reference is the Bradley and Bradley taxonomic number.

3. Micropterix aureatella: A copulating pair swept from Bilberry at Nantgwyn (SN3623) on 18th June. Photographed.

Micopterix aureatella © Jon Baker

9. Eriocrania sparrmannella: Swept by day in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 1st May. Photographed and specimen retained. A local species associated with Birch.

110. Stigmella betulicola: Caught at Pembrey Forest (SN4001) on 3rd May. Photographed and specimen retained. A birch-feeding Nepticulid.

266. Bucculatrix nigricomella: Caught at Morfa Farm (SN3919) on 16th May. Photographed and specimen retained. This species lives on Ox-eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare, and was caught not far from the A40 where this grows in abundance. Assumedly it has spread along the road corridor from the east and is probably to be found all along it.

328. Phyllonorycter junoniella: A tenanted mine found on Cowberry at Llyn y fan Fach (SN8021) on 2nd July (Sam Bosanquet). The mine was kept and the imago emerged on 7th July. A locally common species with a mainly western and northern distribution in Britain.

337. Phyllonorycter hilarella: An adult swept at Crwbin Quarry (SN4713) by JSB and SDSB on 11th May. Photographed and released. A common species found on Willow.

344. Phyllonorycter strigulatella: Three swept from Grey Alder in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 1st May. Photographed and released. One previous county record (1974 in SN6320) of this scarce species, that is only found on Grey Alder Alnus incana.

Phyllonorycter strigulatella © Jon Baker

360. Phyllonorycter kleemannella: Beaten in Pembrey Forest (SN3604) on 11th May by SDSB and JSB. Photographed. A species associated with Alder. Although marked in MBGBI as recorded in v.c.44, there is no previous record on file.

364. Phyllonorycter geniculella:  Beaten in Green Castle Woods (SN3916) on 28th April. Photographed. Feeds on Sycamore.

373. CURRANT CLEARWING Synanthedon tipuliformis: Two attracted to pheremone lures at Morfa Farm, Johnstown (SN3919) on 17th July.

Currant Clearwing (Synanthedon tipuliformis) © Jon Baker

443. Cedestis subfasciella: Caught at Pembrey Forest (SN4001) on 6th May. Photographed and released. Feeds on Pine.

483. Epermenia chaerophyllella: An adult to light at Johnstown (SN3919) on 18th July. Photographed and released. Feeds on Hogweed and other Umbellifers.

517. CLOVER CASE-BEARER Coleophora alcyonipennella: An adult swept by day in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 13th July. Feeds on White Clover. Photographed and released.

560. Coleophora paripennella: Cases and mines were found on 11th May by JSB and SDSB at both Crwbin (SN4713) and Pembrey Forest (SN3604 and SN3803).

593. Elachista regificella: Mines found and identified on its foodplant, Wood Rush (by SDSB) at Pentre-Cwrt (SN3839) on 14th April.

595. Elachista biatomella: Caught at Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 22nd July. Photographed and specimen retained.

667. Semioscopis steinkellneriana: Came to MV in Pembrey Forest on 20th April (SN3803) and on 10th May (SN3902). Photographed and released.

713. Agonopterix angelicella: Larval spinnings found at Pembrey Forest (SN3604) on 11th May (SDSB and JSB), and an imago caught in Pembrey (SN3902) on 22nd July. Photographed.

778. Bryotropha umbrosella: Caught in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 1st June. Photographed. This species feeds on mosses, usually in coastal sand-dunes.

789. Bryotropha domestica: One found indoors in Johnstown, Carmarthen (SN3919) on 22nd June. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on mosses.

840. Thiotricha subocellea: Caught in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 22nd July. Photographed and specimen retained. This species feeds on Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare.

898. Limnaecia phragmitella: Larvae found in Typha heads by IK Morgan, SDSB, B Stewart and Sandra Stewart at Machynys (SS5198) on 1st April and 4th June.

1186. Epiblemma sticticana: One caught by day at Crwbin Quarry (SN4713) on 11th May by JSB and SDSB. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on Colt’s-foot Tussilago farfara and Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans.

1462. Pempeliella dilutella: The 2nd county record and the first imago was caught at Llanelli (SN4901) by IKM on 22nd July. This species feeds on Wild Thyme.

1661. ORANGE UNDERWING Archiearis parthenias: One seen around the top of Birch in woodland south of Cynwyl Elfed (SN3825) on 16th April is only the 2nd county record.

1681. CLAY TRIPLE-LINES Cyclophora linearia: One to light in Pembrey Forest (SN4001) on 6th May is only the 5th county record. This species is associated with Beech woodland.

Clay Triple-lines  (Cyclophora linearia) © Jon Baker

1720. GEM Orthonoma obstipata: One to light on 1st June at Morfa Farm (SN3919). The only notable migrant of the year. The 17th county record.

1745. MALLOW Larentia clavaria: Recorded on 14th October at Pwllau (SN6629) by Alan Clarke. This is only the second county record of this species, which feeds on Mallow and Hollyhock.

1749. DARK SPINACH Pelurga comitata: The 5th county record was caught at Llanelli (SN4901) on 22nd July by IKM. This species feeds on Goosefoot and Orache and is associated with open ground. Four of the county records are from the southeastern coastal area.

1779. RUDDY HIGHFLYER Hydriomena ruberata: Four on 6th May to light at Pembrey Forest (SN4001) and two more on 15th May (SN3902) are only the third and fourth records of this species in the county. Photographed and released.

1804. BARRED RIVULET Perizoma bifasciata: Two caught at Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 22nd July are the first substantiated record for the county although there are 7 pending records in review, all from the north of the county. Photographed and released.

1821. VALERIAN PUG Eupithecia valerianata: The fourth county record and the first in ten years was caught at Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 22nd July.

1861. BILBERRY PUG Pasiphila debiliata: Larvae found at Stradey Woods (SN4802) on 5th May by IKM. This is only the fourth site in the county where this species has been found.

1964. ANNULET Gnophos obscuratus: A larva of this species was found at Wharley Point (SN3309) by IKM on 8th May (confirmed by B Stewart). This is only the 5th county record and the third site.

2017. SMALL CHOCOLATE-TIP Clostera pigra: The only previous record of this species was in Pembrey Forest in 1995. Three records this year all from Pembrey confirm that it breeds there, with a gravid female to light on 10th May (SN3902), a larva found on Creeping Willow on 13th July (SN3803) and another adult to light on 22nd July (SN3902). Photographed.

Small Chocolate-tip  (Clostera pigra) © Jon Baker

2470. SMALL PURPLE-BARRED Phytometra viridaria: Caught by day in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 16th June. Only the 7th county record, most of which are from Pembrey. Photographed and released.

Small Purple-barred (Phytometra viridaria) © Jon Baker

2003

I sincerely hope that 2003 will be remembered as a peculiar year in a decade’s time. The alternative is a frightening prospect, for if it becomes merely the norm or one of a succession of more disturbed years I can only see it being a very worrying thing. Biological recording can give a very clear picture of how climate is changing, and the freakish results from 2003 should give reason for concern. To put it into perspective: over the last decade, by looking at “emergence dates”, those being the date on which a species is first noted in its imago form, we can see that species are appearing earlier and earlier, year on year. During 2002 many species of moth emerged earlier than had ever been witnessed in Carmarthenshire before (despite, it has to be said, a downturn in the amount of recording done). Then came 2003 and the record books were re-written. Of the near 500 species of macro-moths for which an “Earliest Emergence Date” is kept, over 25% of them were thoroughly eclipsed, in many cases by a week, two weeks, even a month. These comparisons range back to the late 60s when date specific recording of moths began to be collated in Carmarthenshire.

Can nature adapt? When species, which historically have appeared at the end of May are appearing in April, what effect does this have on the delicate ecosystem? It is outside the scope of this report, or indeed my expertise to answer this question, but I think it is one we should all be aware of. Are the predators of the insects keeping pace with their shift in season, and what effect is it having on the foodplants of the larvae?

I will be keen to see how 2004 unfolds.

2003 was notable in other ways that are far more positive. I put a great deal of effort into trapping Pembrey Forest throughout much of the season (although sadly, due to illness was not able to trap in late Autumn). I personally recorded 693 species of moth in the county, and a further 54 species were reported by other observers. This resulted in a great number of new species being added to the county list, as well as some notable records of scarce species in the county. Two other resident trappers contributed data – Ian Morgan, who had some notable data, mainly from the Southeast of the county and David Poulter at Pentre-poeth. Dave Grundy collected some good data from Brechfa whilst undertaking Nightjar survey work and Andrew Graham from Merionethshire scored some impressive records at Pembrey on a couple of visits. Thank you once again to Sam Bosanquet for accompanying me on several surveys, especially for his invaluable help and knowledge in identifying leaf-mines. The combined effort extended the county list by 45 species. The v.c.44 List now stands at 1062, although a dozen or so of those are under review.

NEW SPECIES ADDED TO THE v.c.44 LIST DURING 2003

All records below are mine, unless attributed. An asterisk after the species number denotes a record I have not seen the specimen of.  The number reference is the Bradley and Bradley (2000) taxonomic number.

10*. Eriocrania salopiella: An untenanted leaf-mine found in Pembrey Forest (SN30) on 16th June (Andrew Graham). A local species associated with birch (Betula spp.). This record is interesting as it occurred in the same location as the record of the closely related Eriocrania sparrmannella listed in last year’s report. The two species are indistinguishable on the basis of mines alone, but the fact that this mine was untenanted by 16th June suggests salopiella over sparrmannella. This led to a reassessment of the record from the previous year, which was determined by J Langmaid from a photograph of the imago. On this basis, the sparrmannella record has now been pended, awaiting further reference, although it seems almost certain it will turn out to be salopiella too.

34. Ectoedemia ocultella: One to MV light at Nantgwyn (SN3623) on 29th May. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on birch (Betula spp.)and found throughout Britain.

128. Phylloporia bistrigella: One on 13th July in Pembrey Forest (SN3803). Photographed and specimen retained. Another birch (Betula spp.)species found locally throughout Britain.

267. Bucculatrix maritima: At least 10 to light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 24th August. Photographed and released. Feeds on sea aster (Aster tripolium) and is common round the coasts of England and Wales.

407. Argyresthia dilectella: To light on 25th June in Carmarthen (SN3919). Photographed and specimen retained. A fairly widespread species that feeds on juniper (Juniperus spp.) and cypress (Chamaecyparis spp.) and is therefore often associated with gardens.

472. Digitivalva pulicariae: To light on 27th July in Pembrey Forest (SN3803). Although this species was listed on the national database for Carmarthen, there was no source record known, so it is good to now have one. Photographed and released. Lives on common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), which is very common at this site.

518. Coleophora mayrella: On four dates between the 13th June and 11th July in Pembrey Forest (all in SN30). Feeds on white clover (Trifolium repens). A widespread species of short grassland, which flies by day but also comes to light. Photographed and a specimen kept.

530. Coleophora lixella: Two to light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 8th July. This striking species lives on thyme (Thymus spp.) and is therefore local to areas that support the foodplant. Photographed and released.

533. PISTOL CASE-BEARER Coleophora anatipennella: Three in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 14th June. Feeds on rosaceous trees, especially blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). Photographed and released.

581*. Coleophora taeniipennella: Pembrey Forest (SN3901) on 17th June (Andrew Graham). Identified through examination of genitalia, specimen kept. One of several very similar species living on rush (Juncus spp.), which require dissection for confirmation of identity. Widespread in damp places wherever the foodplant occurs.

Coleophora lixella © Jon Baker

583*. Coleophora tamesis: Pembrey Forest (SN3901) on 17th June (Andrew Graham). Identified through examination of genitalia, specimen kept. As with the above, one of several very similar species, living on jointed rush (Juncus articulatus) that requires dissection for confirmation of identity. Local throughout Britain wherever the foodplant occurs.

640. Batia lunaris: To light on three occasions at Pembrey (SN40 and SS49) on 8th, 9th & 14th July. Photographed and released. Feeds on lichens, dead bark and in old galls. Locally common in the southern half of Britain.

726. Metzneria metzneriella: One to MV light in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 25th June. Photographed and released. Feeds on common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) or saw-wort (Serratula tinctoria). Fairly common throughout Britain.

730. Apodia bifractella: In Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 18th August. Photographed and released. Lives on common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), ploughman’s spikenard (Inula conyzae) or sea aster (Aster tripolium). Widespread and fairly common in southern Britain.

748. Ptocheuusa paupella: One on 25th June in Pembrey Forest (SN3902). This species lives on common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) and other plants. Photographed and released. A local species in south Wales, commoner in southeast England.

760. Exoteleia dodecella: Reported from Pembrey (SN3901) on 17th June (Andrew Graham). Specimen retained. A species that is associated with Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris) and widespread throughout Britain.

765. Teleiodes vulgella: Recorded on 25th June and 13th July in Pembrey Forest (both SN30). Photographed and a specimen kept. Feeds on hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) or blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). Widespread and generally common in England and Wales.

770. Carpatolechia proximella: Recorded twice at Pembrey on 30th May and 14th June (both in SN30) and also at Brechfa Forest on 10th June (JSB & Dave Grundy).

Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on birch (Betula spp.) and Alder (Alnus spp.) and is widespread and common throughout Britain.

779. Bryotropha affinis: One to light on 3rd August in Carmarthen (SN3919). Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on mosses. Widespread and common in southern Britain, scarcer in the north.

813. Scrobipalpa salinella : One in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 18th August. Photographed and the specimen retained. A coastal species feeding on various species, especially glassworts (Salicornia spp.). Local.

829. Caryocolum marmorea: One in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 28th May. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on mouse-ears (Cerastium spp.) Mainly coastal in sandy habitats.

866. Brachmia blandella: To MV light on heather moorland near Moelfre (SN3334) on 15th July. Photographed and released. Feeds on gorse (Ulex spp) or insect galls. Widespread and fairly common in southern Britain.

904. Spuleria flavicaput: Two to MV at Nantgwyn (SN3623) on 29th May. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.). Widespread and fairly common as far north as central Scotland.

915. Scythris picaepennis: Swept during the day on 12th June in Pembrey Forest (SN3804).Photographed and specimen retained.  Feeds on common bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) or wild thyme (Thymus polytrichus). Sporadic distribution throughout Britain, and as with all members of this family, under-recorded.

968. Cochylis nana: Recorded on three dates between 30th May and 15th June, all in Pembrey Forest (SN30). Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on birch (Betula spp.). Widespread and generally common in Britain.

1016. Cnephasia longana: One to MV on 2nd July in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199). Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on a wide-range of low plants. Common and widespread around coasts and on chalk downs.

1133. Epinotia bilunana: Recorded on seven dates between 30th May and 13th July, all in Pembrey Forest (SN30). Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on birch (Betula spp.)

1146. Epinotia rubiginosana: One to MV on 28th May in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199). Photographed and released. Feeds on Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris) so had presumably wandered from the forest. 

1153. Epinotia sordidana: One on 17th September in Pembrey Forest (SN30). Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on alder (Alnus glutinosa).

1180*. Epiblema tetragonana: One taken on 19th June in Pembrey Forest (SN30) by Andrew Graham. Specimen retained. Feeds on rose (Rosa spp.)

1207. PINE LEAF-MINING MOTH Clavigesta purdeyi: One on 27th July in Pembrey Forest (SN3803). Photographed and released. This species was on the v.c.44 list but with no specific record, so as with D. pulicariae (above), it is good to now have one confirmed. Feeds on Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris).

1211. Rhyacionia pinicolana: To MV in Pembrey Forest (SN4001) on 9th July. Photographed and released. Feeds on Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris).

1212*. SPOTTED SHOOT MOTH Rhyacionia pinivorana: To MV at Pwll (SN4601) on 29th June (Ian Morgan, det: Barry Stewart). Feeds on Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris).

1245. Grapholita janthinana: Swept by day at Wharley Point (SN3309) on 12th July. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on hawthorn (Crataegus spp.).

1259. Cydia fagiglandana: One to MV in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 27th July. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on beech (Fagus sylvatica).

1273. Dichrorampha petiverella: One in Pembrey Forest (SN4001) on 14th July. Photographed and released. Feeds on yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and tansy (Tanacetum vulgare).

1281. Dichrorampha simpliciana: One in Pembrey Forest (SN4001) on 14th July. Photographed and released. Feeds on mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).

1283. Dichrorampha montanana: One in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 30th June. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and tansy (Tanacetum vulgare).

1316. Catoptria falsella: One to MV in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 25th August. Photographed and released. Feeds on mosses. Local and rather uncommon.

1329. Donacaula forficella: Recorded on six dates (eleven individuals) between 14th June and 14th July, all in Pembrey Forest (SN30 & SN40). Photographed and released.  Found in reedy ditches, feeding on common reed (Phragmites australis), reed sweet-grass (Glyceria maxima) and sedges (Carex spp.). Locally common throughout southern Britain.

1403. Diasemiopsis ramburialis: Recorded at MV light on 17th June in Pembrey Forest (SN3901) by Andrew Graham (specimen retained) and swept at dusk 18th August in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) by JSB (photographed and released). A rare migrant with very few welsh records.

1437. Acrobasis consociella: One on 9th July in Pembrey Forest (SN3803). Feeds on oak (Quercus spp.). Fairly common throughout Britain.

1455. Dioryctria simplicella: Recorded on four dates between 30th May and 25th June, all in Pembrey Forest (SN30 & SN40). Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on pine, especially Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris). Less widespread than D. abietella.

1473. CACAO MOTH Ephestia elutella: One taken, though many more observed in the Mount Antique Centre in Carmarthen (SN4120) on 7th September. Specimen retained. A serious pest in warehouses storing cacao and tobacco. Obviously something in the antiques centre was also suitable!

2480*. BUTTONED SNOUT Hypena rostralis: Allegedly, larvae were obtained from roadside hops (Humulus lupulus) by Nichola Davies, on 20th July (SN3613) and 21st July (SN6210). I have not had opportunity to verify these records.

OTHER NOTABLE RECORDS OF 2003

743 species of moth were recorded in the county during 2003, that being the highest total ever seen in a year – despite a notable lack of observers. Many very scarce species were seen and there were several new populations of some of our most local species discovered. I have not the time to list all of those, and indeed my report on The Moths of Pembrey, which I am currently writing will cover over 700 species in depth. Probably the highlight for me was the discovery of a strong population of Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra. There is only one previous record of a single from the county, so to find a viable population was very pleasing.

MIGRANT MOTHS IN CARMARTHENSHIRE DURING 2003

2003 was also an exceptional year for rare migrant moths, which whilst not being of such biological significance as our native species, certainly liven up a night’s trapping! In addition to the rarer species listed below, there were also extremely large numbers of the more regular migrants – Silver Y Autographa gamma, Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis and Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon. I did not receive a great many records of Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum, but this is probably due to a lack of interface with the general public, who tend to be the observers of these day-flying and obvious moths.

Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella) © Jon Baker

1403. Diasemiopsis ramburialis: See above.

1716. VESTAL Rhodometra sacraria: One at Pwll (SN4601) on 14th September (Ian Morgan), three to MV light in Pembrey Forest (SN30) on 17th September and one to MV in Carmarthen (SN3919) on 21st September. Twenty-three previous records. An uncommon migrant. Photographed.

1720. GEM Orthonoma obstipata: One netted by day on 18th April at Wharley Point (SN3309) and one at Pwll (SN4601) on 29th June(Ian Morgan). Seventeen previous records. A scarce migrant.

1972. CONVOLVULUS HAWK-MOTH Agrius convolvuli: Three records of this scarce migrant – 12th August in Llandovery (Kaye Allott), 13th August in Llanelli (SN5001) (Robert Williams) and a larval record on 3rd October in Pwll (SN4701) (Richard Pryce and Kath Cottingham). There are four previous county records from the last 40 years. Photographed.

1973. DEATH’S-HEAD HAWK-MOTH Acherontia atropos: A larva was found on 15th August at Drynllwyn (SN4408) (per A Stevens). This represents the 2nd modern County record (the first was in 1998 and there is an old 1883 record too). A very rare migrant. Photographed.

Death’s-head Hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) larva, Dygoed, Maesybont, 16th Aug. 2003 © Richard Pryce

1990. STRIPED HAWK-MOTH Hyles livornica: There were two records this year, the first at Llwynhendy (SS5398) on 21st June (Thomas and Ian Morgan) and one to MV in Pembrey Forest (SN30) on 17th September (JSB). These are the only modern records of this spectacular and rare migrant in v.c.44, although there is a 19th Century record from Laugharne. Photographed.

2119. PEARLY UNDERWING Peridroma saucia: Singles recorded at Pembrey Forest (SN30) on 25th August and 12th September. Eleven previous records. An uncommon migrant. Photographed.

2203. WHITE-SPECK Mythimna unipuncta: Two at Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 2nd September, one in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 12th September, one in Carmarthen (SN3919) on 18th September and two in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 21st September. Twelve previous records (eleven of which were from 2000). An uncommon migrant. Photographed.

2385. SMALL MOTTLED WILLOW Spodoptera exigua: Singles in Pembrey Forest (SN30 & SN40) on 25th June, 30th June, 8th August and 25th August. Five in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 24th August. Two at Pwll (SN4601) on 25th August (Ian Morgan). Just two previous records. A scarce migrant. Photographed.

2400. SCARCE BORDERED STRAW Helicoverpa armigera: Two in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 25th August and one at Nantgwyn (SN3623) on 1st September. One previous record from 1988. A scarce migrant. Photographed.

2403. BORDERED STRAW Heliothis peltigera: At least two netted at dusk on 30th June in Pembrey Forest (SN3902). Six previous records. An uncommon migrant. Photographed.

2432. NI MOTH Trichoplusia ni: Singles to MV light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 2nd July and 24th August (both photographed). One previous record (1996). A rare migrant.

2004

Thankfully the pattern of ludicrously early emergence dates set in 2003 slowed somewhat in 2004, with just 35 species of macro-moths beating their previous “earliest record” dates. Still, there is an ongoing trend towards earlier and earlier dates and I continue to remain deeply worried as to what effects this will have on our ecosystem.

698 species of moth were recorded in v.c.44 during 2004. Of these 27 were new additions the list. There were some equally nice “seconds” and appearances by species that had not been seen in many years. Over 5000 records were received. It was especially good to have several new contributors living in under-recorded squares, with Martin Lovell and Julian Wormald in SN53, and Arnold Johnson in SN42. Thanks also go to all those who found time to send me records, including: Barry and Sandra Stewart, Dave Grundy, Deborah Sizer, Dorian Baverstock, Elizabeth Goodyear, Ian Morgan, Jill Arnold, Kelly Thomas, Martin White, Paul Parsons, Richard Pryce and Sam Bosanquet.

Special thanks to Sam Bosanquet for all your encouragement and friendship, Ian Morgan for your support and John Langmaid for all your advice and expertise.

NEW SPECIES ADDED TO THE v.c.44 LIST DURING 2004

All records below are mine, unless attributed. An asterisk after the species number denotes a record I have not seen either the specimen of or a definitive photo.  The number reference is the Bradley and Bradley (2000) taxonomic number.

13. Eriocrania semipurpurella: Tenanted leaf-mines found at Bryn Withan(SN5507) on 2nd May (JSB and Sam Bosanquet). One of several similar species associated with birch (Betula spp.). Widespread across Britain.

40. Bohemannia pulverosella: Recorded at Carmel Woods (SN5916) on 2nd and 3rd of May (JSB and Sam Bosanquet). Photographed. A leaf-miner of apple (Malus spp.) that is common in southern Britain.

64. Stigmella continuella*: Received through the Gall Society following a field trip they made to Carms (det: J Robbins). A leaf-mine found on 5th August at Penybanc (SN6111). This species lives on birch (Betula spp.) and is locally common throughout England and Wales.

85. Stigmella suberivora*: Untenanted leaf-mines found on holm oak (Quercus ilex) in the grounds of Laugharne Castle (SN3010) on 2nd May (Elizabeth Goodyear). A species that is spreading north and westwards.

117. Stigmella confusella: An adult beaten from birch (Betula spp.) at Llangynog Quarry (SN3316) on 6th May. Photographed.

143. Nematopogon metaxella: Recorded on three occasions, In Pembrey Forest (SN3803, SN3902) on 7th and 13th June, and also at Coed Gwempa, Woodland Trust NR (SN4311) on 28th June. Photographed. This species feeds on decaying leaf matter and is moderately widespread throughout England and Wales.

146. Adela cupriacella: A specimen of this pretty Longhorn was discovered in the collection of Ian Morgan by myself and Sam Bosanquet. It was taken on 2nd August 1988 at Llety-wen, Cwm-du (SN628303) by Ian, and had remained unidentified for nearly 20 years. Feeds on Scabious (Knautia, Scabiosa, Succisa). Specimen remains with IKM, and photographed.

217. Nemapogon wolffiella: A surprising record as it was the only thing attracted to a VES Clearwing Lure on 11th June at Nantgwyn (SN3623). Lives on fungus (Hypoxylon multiforme) and dead wood. Photographed. A local and uncommon species.

271. Bucculatrix albedinella: Recorded in Brechfa Forest (SN5133) by myself and Dave Grundy et al on 26th June. Feeds on elm (Ulmus spp.), although this was not evident at the site. Photographed and released. Widespread in southern Britain.

310. Callisto denticulella*:Another record received through the Gall Society of a mine found on Malus domestica. Although MBGBI vol.2 indicates a previous v.c.44 record, none was on file. This record from Pontyberem (SN5010) on 6th August will therefore go down as a first record on my database. A widespread and common species.

322. Phyllonorycter muelleriella: Recorded as an imago at Nantgwyn (SN3623) on 5th June. Photographed and specimen retained. Feeds on oak (Quercus spp.). A moderately uncommon species.

352. Phyllonorycter schreberella: Leaf mine on elm (Ulmus spp.) at Coed Gwempa, Woodland Trust NR (SN4311) on 24th September. Photographed. Locally common in southern Britain.

354. Phyllonorycter emberizaepennella: Leaf mine on honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) at Coed Gwempa, Woodland Trust NR (SN4311) on 24th September. Photographed. Fairly widespread but local throughout Britain.

416. Argyresthia glaucinella: Recorded at Coed Gwempa, Woodland Trust NR (SN4311) on 28th June. It lives on oak (Quercus spp.) or horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), feeding on the bark and is local in open woodland throughout Britain. Photographed.

631. Cosmiotes freyerella: Recorded at Carmel Woods NR (SN5916) on 18th May. Photographed and specimen retained. Although there are previous claims of this species in v.c.44, they were not supported by specimen or photo. Feeds on various grasses and is widespread throughout Britain.

642. Batia unitella*: Reported from Brechfa Forest (SN5133) at MV light by Dave Grundy et al. on 26th June. Sadly, I had left earlier so did not see this specimen. Feeds on dead wood and is locally common in England and Wales.

1106. Lobesia reliquana: Recorded by day at Nantgwyn (SN3623) on 7th May. Photographed. This pretty little Tortricid lives on oak (Quercus spp.), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and birch (Betula spp.) and is locally common in southern Britain.

1193. Eucosma tripoliana: Several netted at Pembrey (SN3605) on 1st August by Sam Bosanquet, one of which was kindly brought to me. Photographed.

Feeds on sea aster (Aster tripolium) and is locally common in coastal areas throughout Britain.

1237. Pammene germmana: One to light in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 7th June. Photographed and specimen retained. Identification confirmed by John Langmaid. Feeds on oak (Quercus spp.) and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and is a local species.

1268. Cydia coniferana : As with the above, one to light in Pembrey Forest (SN3803) on 7th June. Photographed and specimen retained. Identification made by John Langmaid. Feeds on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) or Serbian spruce (Picea omorika).

1324. Pediasia aridella: Recorded at Penclacwydd (SS5398) by Barry Stewart on 18th July. Photographed. This coastal species lives on saltmarsh-grass (Puccinellia spp.) Local around southern coasts, but under-recorded due to habitat.

1335. Scoparia ancipitella*: Four to MV light at Coed Tregyb, Woodland Trust NR on 27th June (Dave Grundy et al.). Although this group can be tricky Dave was confident of the identity of these well marked individuals. A scarce species, said to have its strongest populations in mid-wales.

1370. Sitochroa palealis: One to MV light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 28th July. This pretty pyralid lives on wild carrot (Daucus carota) and is local in southern Britain. Photographed.

1416. Pyralis lienigialis: Probably the biggest surprise of the year was when I visited Arnold Johnson at Bronwydd (SN4123) to be shown a moth he had caught in his garden on 12th July. This is the first record for Wales - indeed, this species has only ever been recorded infrequently in a small area in the southern midlands. Photographed and specimen retained. Its biology is imperfectly known, but it is thought to be associated with grain stores.

1469. Euzophera cinerosella: Recorded by Barry Stewart at Penclacwydd (SS5398) on 18th July. Photographed. Feeds on wormwood (Artemesia absinthium) and is a very local species in southern Britain.

1655. POPLAR LUTESTRING Tethea or: One to MV on 4th June in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) and two more on 7th June (SN3803). Photographed.  Feeds on aspen (Populus tremula) and occasionally other poplars. A local species.

2271. ORANGE SALLOW Xanthia citrago: A larva beaten from Lime (Tilia spp.) at Green Castle Woods (SN3916) on 17th May. Bred through to imago, photographed and released. A widespread and moderately common species. The scarcity of the foodplant (Tilia spp.) probably accounting for its previous absence from the county list.

Orange sallow (Xanthia citrago) © Jon Baker

ADDITIONAL NOTABLE RECORDS OF 2004

The following species of county importance were also recorded during the year. Once again, the records are mine unless noted and a* indicates I have not seen either a specimen or photograph.

373. CURRANT CLEARWING Synanthedon tipuliformis: 15 attracted easily to pheromone lures at Johnstown (SN4019) between 9th and 13th June. This is the site where I recorded them in 2002. Photographed.

381. LARGE RED-BELTED CLEARWING Synanthedon culiciformis*: One was seen briefly, but sadly not caught, on 16th June by Ian Morgan, at Pontnewydd (SN4407). This represents the 2nd v.c.44 Record.

676. Depressaria pulcherimella: One came to light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 28th July. Photographed and released. The only previous county records were in July 1975 in Carmel Woods. Feeds on carrot (Daucus), burnet-saxifrage (Pimpinella) and pignut (Conopodium).

1384. Phlyctaenia stachydalis: Recorded at light at Drefach Felindre (SN3438) on 14th June. Photographed. All previous county records were in SN32, so this represents a second 10km square for this rare species.  Feeds on woundwort (Stachys spp.)

1718. OBLIQUE STRIPED Phibalapteryx virgata: One to MV light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 21st August, is only the 2nd county record of this scarce species. Photographed. The previous record was in 1987 at SN4300. Lives on Lady’s bedstraw (Galium verum).

1877. WAVED CARPET Hydrelia sylvata: As Carmarthenshire seems to be the best place for this scarce species, a fair amount of effort was made during 2004 to fill in some “blank 10km squares”. It was fairly easy to find in deciduous woodland wherever it was looked for, with records from SN30, 31, 32, 33, 41, 42, 53, 62 and 72 during the year. Photographed.

1879. SERAPHIM Lobophora halterata: One was attracted to MV light at Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on the 24th May. With previous county records only from Rhandirmwyn and Cenarth Woods in 1988, this is a notable record. The species feeds on aspen (populus tremula) and occasionally other poplars. Photographed.

1970. GRASS WAVE Perconia strigillaria: Following the three singles from Pembrey Forest in 2003 (the only known county site), there were another four records from the same site including 12 to MV at SN3902 on 4th June. Broom (Cytisus scoparius) is probably the foodplant at this site. Photographed.

1972. CONVOLVULUS HAWK-MOTH Agrius convolvuli*: One was seen by Ian Morgan et al, nectaring on the evening of 3rd September at Pwll (SN4601). This is the 9th occurrence in the county in the last 50 years.

1990 STRIPED HAWK-MOTH Hyles livornica*: One was trapped on 19th June at Rhydcymerau (SN5739) by Julian Wormald (per Martin Lovell). This is the 3rd in the space of 12 months, following the two in 2003. The only previous county record being in the 19th Century. Photographed.

2017. SMALL CHOCOLATE-TIP Clostera pigra: Recorded on three occasions at Pembrey (SS4199 and SN3902) between the 28th July and 4th August. Seven of the previous eight county records are also from Pembrey. Photographed.

2031 WHITE SATIN MOTH Leucoma salicis: One came to MV light in Pembrey Forest (SN3902) on 31st July. Photographed. This is only the 2nd County record after one in 1989 at Penclacwydd (SS5398). Another species that prefers aspen (Populus tremula) as a foodplant that turned up unexpectedly at Pembrey in 2004 (see Seraphim, Poplar Lutestring).

2045. HOARY FOOTMAN Eilema caniola: On 12th August Sam Bosanquet and I made a trip to Carmarthenshire’s most westerly coastal cliffs at Telpyn Point (SN1807). Sadly the forecast we had seen got it wrong and the weather made the trip a short one. Still, in the half hour of wind and drizzle, we did have 4 of these to MV. Photographed. This is only the 2nd county record, following the obviously displaced one seen inland at Nantgwyn (SN3623) in August 1997.

2051. FOUR-SPOTTED FOOTMAN Lithosia quadra: Another five were seen at Pembrey Forest (SN3902) where they were discovered in 2003, proving an ongoing population at the site. Photographed. Elsewhere one was seen further along the coast at Pwll (SN4601) on 7th September by Ian Morgan.

Four-spotted Footman (Lithosia quadra) © Jon Baker

site. Photographed. Elsewhere one was seen further along the coast at Pwll (SN4601) on 7th September by Ian Morgan.

2090. CRESCENT DART Agrotis trux*: One was seen at Penclacwydd (SS3918) on 25th July, by Barry and Sandra Stewart. There are 5 previous modern records for this species – all from the same area and same observers, though this is the first since 1996.

2152. WHITE COLON Sideridis albicolon: One came to MV light on 6th June in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199). Photographed. There are two previous modern-day records of this species – 1996 at SS5399 (B and S Stewart) and 2003 at SS5098 (I Morgan, det: B Stewart).

2214. CHAMOMILE SHARK Cucullia chamomillae: I received a photograph of a larva of this species, found at Machynys (SS5097) by Tony and Viv Lewis (per I Morgan) on 19th April. The comment alongside the photo suggests that the observers have seen this species “several times” along the Llanelli coast. There is only one good previous record for this species – Ian Morgan’s from 1989 at SS5399. I hope to be making some effort this year to locate this species at other sites.

2217. STAR-WORT Cucullia asteris: Two came to MV light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 28th July. Photographed. This follows the one seen in 2003 in Pembrey Forest (SN4001) and suggests a useful population in the area. Previously only recorded at Carmel (SN5815 in 1991, IKM) and Betws (SN6411 in 1997/8, Steve Lucas).

2331. SMALL CLOUDED BRINDLE Apamea unaminis: There are very few good records of this species on file. So one on 14th June at Drefach Felindre (SN3438) was a nice find. Photographed. This species feeds on a variety of grasses, preferring damp woodland.

2357. LARGE EAR Amphipoea lucens: One came to MV light in Pembrey Burrows (SS4199) on 21st August. Photographed and reluctantly dissected for confirmation. With so few confirmed to species Amphipoea records for the county, I am afraid I will be occasionally dissected interesting specimens to try and get a clearer picture. Although both fucosa and crinanensis have been claimed in the past, neither is supported by evidence.

2482. WHITE-LINE SNOUT Schrankia taenialis: A real end of season bonus came on 4th October when I found one of these feeding at ivy on Llansteffan beach (SN3510). Photographed and released. There are two previous county records, both from July 1990. Interestingly, one of these was just across the Tywi from Llansteffan, at St Ishmael (SN3608).

White-line Snout (Schrankia taenialis) © Jon Baker

MIGRANT MOTHS IN CARMARTHENSHIRE DURING 2004

As is so often the case following a good migrant year, 2004 was very poor following the record-breaking numbers and diversity in 2003. Aside from the above records of Convolvulus Hawk-moth and Striped Hawk-moth, there were just 5 Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis, 5 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, a few Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum, a couple of probably migrant Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum, 7 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon, 5 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia and the regular Silver Ys Autographa gamma. Let’s hope 2005 swings back the other way!