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13 June 2015

13 June 2015 – Unrecorded Firethorn

Firethorn Leaf Miner (Phyllonorycter leucographella)

The Firethorn Leaf Miner (Pyllonorycter leucographella) was the first moth that Dave Chesmore spotted when he visited Shandy Hall for the first time approximately six years ago.  A number of these moths were living in the Pyracantha growing against a wall and although I had noticed there were insects in the foliage, I hadn’t realised they were moths. I was impressed when I discovered (with a magnifying glass) how beautifully marked they were.  Today, while I was tidying the same bush with secateurs (we have Coxwold Open Gardens tomorrow and are open for visitors and attendant scrutiny) I noticed a couple of Firethorn Leaf Miners fly out.  Then it struck me that the Shandy Hall mothblog might be incomplete – the blog didn’t exist until 2011 and I couldn’t remember if it was included. Looking back over the records the Firethorn was not mentioned, so the photograph above was taken and a proper record has been made.  

This micro-moth was first recorded in Britain in 1989 which means that Westwood and Humphreys does not include a drawing.  Where the meaning of the scientific name is concerned the description is straightforward – ‘leaf digger with white writing’.  The white marks on the orange ground of the moth’s wings are spectacular but need magnification to see properly. Click on the photograph and it will bring it a little closer.

That’s another species recorded for Shandy Hall but not one trapped in the dark night.  3pm on an afternoon in early Summer brought this moth to light.