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3 August 2017

3 August 2017 – New Moth as Farewell

(Acleris aspersana)

Despite the ominous clouds and rain, my last moth trap yielded amazing results. The number of moths increased immensely compared to the past few traps and the number of species rose as well. No matter the outcome, I would have been excited and grateful either way. In fact, there has never been a day during these past two months where I was not looking forward to working on moths.

The Ginger Button (Acleris aspersana) had me especially ecstatic. I will admit, not finding any new moths created some disappointment, but finding this one has eradicated all those feelings. When first spotted, I thought it was probably another worn tortrix moth that I had already seen before. However, I decided to capture it as there was a sense of unfamiliarity. This turned out to be a lucky decision. Compared to other members of the Acleris genus, Acleris aspersana is smaller in size. It likes grasslands and heaths and is common nationally but scarce locally. Its scientific name aspersana means ‘sprinkled’, which describe the several variations of patterns the moth might have. Some may have patterns resembling netting and linear lines.

The larvae of the Ginger Button live inside the rolled leaves of various herbaceous plants. Some of these include the European Crab Apple, Cinquefoil, Blackberries, Strawberries, Burnet, Meadowsweet, and Goat’s Beard. There’s some Goat’s Beard (Spiraea aruncus) in our garden which might be the origin of our tiny moth but the meadowsweet is a possibility too – the quarry is full of it.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

A new species to Shandy Hall, Acleris aspersana is moth number 421! A great way to end my journey here in England.

Acleris aspersana (2 male, 3 femalewith Campion

I just wanted to mention how grateful I am for this opportunity. Despite studying computer science, growing up, I have dreamed of being a zoologist. While I didn’t get to explore the Amazon rainforest searching for reptiles and amphibians, this experience has allowed me to tap into my inner love for animals and help fulfill a dream of mine. Maybe I’ll even become a lepidopterist in the future. I also wanted to thank everyone I have met throughout my time here at Shandy Hall. All the workers and volunteers have been amazing and I will truly miss this wonderful place.

Final post : Walter Chen [U Penn intern]