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7 May 2018

7 May 2018 – A Head of Wool

Eriocrania subpurpurella

At the time of writing this moth needed to have its identity determined by Charlie Fletcher – a man who knows his moths.  To begin with I thought it might be a worn Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella) as its wings were shiny in the sun and I remembered the sparkly clouds of tiny, day-time moths in the Museum Gardens in York a couple of years ago.  That particular moth is on the wing in April and May so it was an option, but the moth in the photograph has short antennae and a line of dots along the fore-wing.

If it was a member of the Tortricidae then I would have thought I would have spotted it somewhere in the usual sources: Manley or Lewington, Yorkshire Moths or UK Moths, but I still couldn’t find it. 

But (thanks to Charlie) we have it – Eriocrania subpurpurella. A common moth but one that is new to the gardens at Shandy Hall.  I clicked back on the Yorkshire Moths website and, using the link, I invite you to do the same.  Enter a search for Eriocrania and then scroll down that entry until you see a group of images.  There you will see the Las Vegas version of this moth and perhaps understand why they can be difficult to identify. I fear the little one that was trapped last night is from humbler stock than the Yorkshire Moths example.  Its scientific name means ‘purplish woolly-headed one’ and indeed the woolly head is visible in the photo.

Eriocrania subpurpurella and Yellow Fumitory

Recorded on Plate 120 of British Moths and their Transformations by Humphreys and Westwood, the moth can be seen adjacent to the flowering stem of Yellow Fumitory (Pseudofumaria lutea), which grows in abundance here in the garden.  I can’t find evidence that it is a food plant – broom is mentioned in one source – but the proximity of moth and plant in the illustration may indicate there is a connection of some sort.

We can now record 427 different species to the garden in Coxwold.

Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis)

When the Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) was recorded on the blog in 2014 it was a complicated entry.  The moth can be found in Humphreys and Westwood but listed under the different scientific name of Nola strigulalis which refers to the markings (strigulae) on the wings.  Four years ago I hadn’t realised how many moths get re-named as lepidopterists adjust their understanding of groups and families.

Other species last night included the Muslin Moth, Clouded Drab, Garden Carpet and the tiny, impossible not to recognise, piece of perfection called Pseudoswammerdamia combinella, looking exactly the same each time it is seen.

(Pseudoswammerdamia combinella)