Check out this amazing micro moth!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 29 May 2010 08:24




On Friday the 29th May I had a very long day's entomology starting at Friston Forest at about 10.00 am through to Eridge Rocks at about 11.30 pm. In this part of the blog I will just deal with the Friston Forest session. We set up a series of timed invertebrate surveys in the project area to show the effects of the grazing there. One specialist concentrates on flies, bees, ants and wasps, another looks at beetles and I do moths, butterflies and dragonflies. The sites will be visited once a month from April to September. There are five defined areas that we search for 45 minutes each visit and these areas reflect different micro-habitats and management within the wood. At the end of the year, the list for each area will be compiled and the assemblage of invertebrates analysed by resource needs. I recorded this nationally scarce (Nb) micro moth known as the Orange Conch Commophila aeneana. The larvae feed on the roots of ragwort. It is probably the most impressive tortrix I have ever seen, the strange, raised black-and-blue scales give the impression the moth is extruding droplets of oil. I saw lots of Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers. Grizzled was the most abundant and frequent butterfly! We recorded the Nb soldier beetle Rhagonycha lutea and I saw the tiny longhorn beetle Tetrops praeusta. Towards the end of the survey, we disturbed this young Badger which we first thought was injured. It had clearly not had much contact with humans as it was very tame and then it suddenly ran off, nothing wrong with it at all. I have never seen a Badger in the day, a great photo opportunity!

5 Response to "Check out this amazing micro moth!"

Graeme Lyons Says:

According to Colin Pratt's data base, this is only the fifth ever East Sussex record of this moth known from only three sites. Awesome!

Anonymous Says:

Hello Graeme
I just took a photo of the same fantastically freaky micro at Tempsford in Bedfordshire today (on ragwort). I Googled 'orange micro' and found your Orange Conch photo (and link to your blog). What an incredible creature. Just checking id with the recorder as unsure if recorded in Beds.
Best regards from Mel Lloyd

Graeme Lyons Says:

It's quite spectacular isn't it? There really is nothing like it. I know someone who lives in Tempsford, small world!
Graeme

Anonymous Says:

Honestly, I thought I was seeing things. Was so excited ran back to car in desperation to get home to Google and email the recorders.

Possibly a new 10km square record! Just heard back from recorders (they are very, very efficient in Beds).

Great blog. (I did some surveying with you a few summers back at RSPB on the heath). Best wishes, Mel.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Hi Mel
Sorry, I remember! Crikey, that must have been 2007 I reckon. I wonder how the heathland restoration is doing at the Lodge? I left the RSPB in March 2008 to start working for the Sussex Wildllife Trust as their ecologist and I've been here ever since. Very content I am too. Hope you are well.
Graeme

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