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10 July 2017

10 July 2017 – A Leaf Miner

Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)

The traps are starting to attract more diverse species. The many moths caught are looking more colorful and vibrant.

One of the moths trapped was the Swallow-tailed moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria). It’s a common species throughout Britain, besides northern Scotland, but they only fly for a short period in July. Its scientific name, Ourapteryx, describes its wings as oura means ‘tail’ and pterux means ‘wing’. The second half of the binomial, sambucaria, means ‘elder’ – the foodplant as described by Linnaeus. The Swallow-tailed moth however, does also feed on other trees and shrubs such as Hawthorn and Blackthorn, but it prefers ivy (Hedera helix).

Shandy Hall gardens has had Swallow-tailed moths before, but we were unable to get a good photograph until now as the moth is eager to fly at the slightest disturbance.  This one stayed still for just long enough.

(Phyllonorycter sp.)

This Phyllonorycter sp. was another moth found in our trap. At first, I believed it was a Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae as it was the only similar looking Phyllonorycter species on the Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight website. However, that was not enough to validate my assumption because there is a plethora of Phyllonorycter species which look very similar. The best way to determine the correct species (apparently) is to look for the leaf mines of the larvae – little pathways just under the surface of a leaf.  Its name Phyllonorycter is appropriate as it means ‘leaf miner’.

(Aleimaa loeflingiana)

The Yellow Oak Button (Aleimma loeflingiana) was also in our trap. It can be difficult to recognize Aleimma loeflingiana due to its variety of patterns. Aleimma means ‘oil’ which was named after the forewing patterns which look as if they have been smudged. The Swedish botanist Pehr Löfling has his name woven into the second part of the scientific name. Löfling was a student of Linnaeus at university and he was chosen to serve as a botanist in the American colonies. 

The larvae of Aleimaa loeflingiana feed on oak (Quercus). The Yellow Oak Button is also a new species to Shandy Hall which bumps the number up to 416!

Post : Walter Chen [UPenn intern]