Thursday, 27 September 2012

Ectoedemia albifasciella

There are four species of Ectoedemia which mine the leaves of deciduous oak but this is the only one around at the moment (many will already be vacated). If the larva is still present it has a pale head.

The mine typically starts as a narrow linear gallery that follows a vein and is later absorbed into the blotch but the linear frass can still be seen. The gallery occasionally doesn't follow a vein as can be seen on two of the mines in the leaf below.

Stigmella plagicolella

It seems to be an awful autumn for Nepticulid mines so far. Hopefully things are just running late. One of the few species which seems to be reasonably easy to find at the moment is Stigmella plagicolella. This is also one of the easiest mines to identify as it is the classic 'tadpole' mine, with a narrow gallery leading to a blotch. It is found on Blackthorn and related species of Prunus.

Acrolepia autumnitella

It's been a long time since my last post, for which my apologies to the (very) small group who follow this blog. There's lots happening at the moment and I regularly submit pictures to the Sussex Moth Group web site so do keep an eye on that, although I appreciate you won't know what I've submitted recently and there isn't room in the caption to cover information about specific identification features!

Anyway I'll try to post at least some of the pictures on here to give you some things to go and hunt for. Do mention this blog to anyone you think might be interested, the more people there are reading it the more pressure there is on me to actually post stuff!

Anyway, I'll kick off with Acrolepia autumnitella. This is a good one to look for at the moment as you can breed the adult through very quickly and with minimal effort.

The larva mines Bittersweet (aka Woody Nightshade) Solanum dulcamara. It is an unusual mine for a Lep. as almost all frass is ejected and the mine therefore looks rather like some fly mines. If the mine is tenanted, the larva is clearly not a fly maggot! The picture above is an early mine, that below is almost full size. Note that there are characteristic patches where there is still a thin layer of green within the mine.