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24 September 2017

24 September 2017 – Ivy and Ash and Thorn

Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra) with ivy

It was warmer last night – following what seems like weeks of rain and chill.  Perhaps we have a micro-climate here in Coxwold.  The Hambleton Hills seem to conspire with the Howardian Hills and funnel wind and rain down a narrow corridor that keeps the trees moving pretty much all the time.  This morning was still, peaceful and a pleasure.Not too many moths though.  Beaded Chestnut and Lunar Underwing and a couple of different species of Carpet moths all looking fresh and cleanly marked.  The brooding presence of the Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra) was good to see having only seen it once before.  The adult moth feeds on the flowers of the ivy which provide one of the last sources of nutrition for the hover flies, butterflies, wasps and bees. 

Dusky Thorn (Ennomos fuscantaria)

The Dusky Thorn (Ennomos fuscantaria) has appeared before but not on Shandy Hall’s list. An example of this species was trapped by Martin Huxter a couple of years ago when we trapped in his back garden and I remember wondering when it would turn up here.  Well, here it is.  The scientific name derives from the Greek ennomos – lawful.  Fuscans refers to the ‘purplish fuscous suffusion in the subterminal area of the forewing’ – that pair of smoky curtains on the wings in the photograph.The caterpillar feeds on ash.  I tried to photograph the adult on a spray of ash leaves but it was too impatient to oblige.  It beat its wings so vigorously they became a blur and I had to abandon the idea.

The Dusky Thorn adds another species to the list at Shandy Hall which now stands at 423.