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28 July 2016

28 July 2016 – Pleasant-Looking Pod Lover

(Caryocolum blandella)

Another uncommon moth found! 

The Caryocolum blandella, despite its distinct appearance, took a long time to identify because it did not appear in the sources I normally consult. A black ‘seatbelt’ wraps around its basal part; it dilates towards the tornus and is interrupted in the middle by the white ground color. The distal edge of the ‘belt’ merges with two black dots. Another set of dots that comes in at about two-thirds swim in a bronze tint. A white ‘V’ appears just below. 

It is named after the plant family Caryophyllaceae, which includes its foodplant. Karuon means a nut or a pod, and colo, to inhabit. Blandus means pleasant-looking. It is closely related to C. blandulella, which is only active in the sand dunes in Kent and Hampshire.

Red Campion

One of the food plants is the Red Campion.  Ever present, the flowers are now nearly all finished and the pods are crammed with seeds.  A beneficial plant for both the quarry and the moths that live there.

Holly Tortrix (Rhopobota naevana)

The Holly Tortrix (Rhopobota naevana), by contrast, has a rather muddy appearance that blends in with the rest of the tortrices. What got my hopes up for a new species for Shandy Hall was the shape of the tip, which looked like someone had given it a good pinch so that air could puff up the rest of the body. But I could not make much out apart from that. There seems to be a blotch at one-half that joins with the costa and the body:head ratio looks to be atypical. 

‘Rhōps’ is Greek for a shrub and ‘boskō, bot-‘ means to eat – named after the larvae’s feeding habit. ‘Naevus’, a mole on the skin, refers to the disc of dark scales on the hind-wing of the male.

Post: Tung Chau