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15 July 2011

12 July 2011 – Two new species

The identification of a Smoky Wainscot (Mythimna impure) and Agriphila straminella take the number of different species found at Shandy Hall to 167.  The total will be checked carefully as the number is achieving significance.

Mythimna is named after a town on the island of Lesbos and impura,  

meaning unclean or dirtied, refers to the ‘fuscous suffusion’ on the hindwing.  ‘Straw-coloured field-lover’ is Agriphila straminella and it looks like the field it loves must be on Mars as this moth is most peculiar.


Meanwhile the caterpillars grow, shed their skins, eat more dandelion leaves, grow, shed their skins, and so on.  Piles of frass decorate the bottom of the box and they need cleaning out and feeding every morning – the first job of the day.  The photograph shows two odd ones from the original 85 (now mysteriously reduced to 65). The one at the top is markedly smaller than all the others and the one beneath has a dislocated body.  Will they survive?  Do they know about Darwin?