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19 June 2017

18 June 2017 – They Toil Not

(Eucosma campoliliana)

There are both good and bad sides to this heat wave. The good is that there is greater moth activity so more likelihood of moths coming to our trap. The bad news is that I may have developed sunburn from my long walk on Saturday. From our trap, which was set up Saturday afternoon, it was evident that the number of moths being trapped is increasing. I’ve been told that there can be hundreds later in the year. While we didn’t get any monstrously big moths like the hawk-moths, we had a large variety of smaller ones, including a number of micro moths.

One was Eucosma campoliliana. Eucosma means ‘graceful’ or ‘well-adorned’; campoliliana means ‘a field of lilies’. It references the biblical verse and chapter Matthew 6:28 and describes the beauty of the moth. The distinctive features of Eucosma campoliliana are the black and brown spots on its chalky, white wings, almost like drops of paint on a blank canvas.

The larvae feed on the seeds and stems of ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). In the United Kingdom, ragwort is considered a weed and is not particularly liked due to it being poisonous when consumed by animals such as horses, sheep, and cows. However, it is important ecologically to many insect species, thirty of which feed only on ragwort and of those, ten are rare or threatened.  There are no Ragwort plants in the garden at Shandy Hall so this moth must be in search.

Eucosma campoliliana (or Marbled Bell) is another new species for Shandy Hall which makes our count 410.

(Eucosma campoliliana) – close-up

Other moths included : Ghost Moth, Small Magpie, Middle-barred Minor, Green Carpet, Spectacle, Silver Y, Beautiful Golden Y, White Ermine, Buff Ermine, Straw Dot, Metzneria metzneriella, Green Pug, Common Pug, Silver-ground Carpet, Heart and Dart.