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25 August 2015

25 August 2015 – Thief in the Garden

Cloaked Minor (Mesoligia  furuncula)

The last overnight trap in the Yorkshire Museum Gardens produced two species that are both new to me – the Cloaked Minor (Mesoligia furuncula) and Ysolopha sylvella.  I am waiting to hear from Stuart Ogilvy to determine if they are new to the gardens as well.  

The Cloaked Minor identification needed Charlie Fletcher’s expert eye – I thought it was a Tawny Marbled Minor (Oligia strigilis).  The moth flies from late July to early September and the caterpillar feeds on grasses including Tufted Hair-grass and False Oat-grass.  The scientific name means ‘little thief’.  The one we caught is fresh from the chrysalis and the markings are beautifully detailed.

Cloaked Minor varieties (illus)

The illustration shows both dark and pale varieties of the Cloaked Minor moth.  

The plant is Milk Parsley.

Ysolopha sylvella

A micro moth with clear and distinct markings is always welcome – you generally recognize it if you have seen it before. If you haven’t then there is a good chance that the Field Guide to Micromoths will contain an illustration and present you with that gratification that comes with identification.  The Ysolopha sylvella above could have walked straight out of the pages of the Field Guide – but still there was a possibility that it could be Ysolopha alpella

Choetochilus sylvellus (19) Hypsolopha asperella (11)

In British Moths and their Transformations (1845)an earlier classification can be found and the common name was the Wood Autumn.  Fig 11 was the Chequered Hook-tip.  Is alpella a later version of asperella?  I am completely stumped.