24 August 2014
24 August 2014 – Moth Koyaanisqatsi?
|Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella)|
The nights have been chilly over the last week and although traps have been set in the York Museum Gardens and at Shandy Hall we have seen only a very few of the usual suspects that are to be expected at this time of year. The beautiful Centre-barred Sallow has been seen on two occasions in Coxwold along with Feathered Gothics, Flame Shoulders, Flounced Rustics, Square Spot Rustics, Large Yellow Underwings and Straw Dots. A lone Poplar Hawk (freshly emerged from its pupa) added another to the significant total of that species this year.
In the gardens in York, however, there is a sight to be seen. There are two chestnut trees near the Marygate entrance, both magnificent mature specimens. I’ve noticed a number of tiny moths flying around one of these trees – the one with brown and curling leaves. (The other tree [a red chestnut] seems untroubled and untouched.) On closer inspection it appears there is hardly a leaf that is unaffected by the mining of tiny caterpillars – the Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella). The caterpillars feed between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. The adult moths seem to be most active at 7.am when I arrive at the gardens – the image above shows them in flight. This moth was first recorded as a new species in Macedonia in 1985 and it arrived in England in 2002. It seems it has no natural predators in this country…
A number of moths use the chestnut as a food source – Brown-tail, Yellow-tail, Common Emerald, Feathered Thorn, Engrailed and Satellite to name but a few. Now, attacked by the Leaf Miner, the chestnut tree suffers another onslaught. Can it support so many species? Is this an indication of ‘life out of balance’?
It’s warmer this evening – we’ll see if there is anything to be found in Coxwold. A return to the Museum Gardens on Thursday morning all being well.
|Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner|