Violet and dangerous

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 28 March 2011 22:23

There are more Hairy Violets in flower at Mill Hill than I think I have ever seen.  As well as the violets, there were a few invertebrates there that are associated with them. I spotted a couple of tiny Violet Weevils Orobitis cyaneus which can roll themselves up to look just like a violet seed.
There was also a beautiful little orange and black micro moth that after some effort I finally managed to photograph. There were lots of them actually. I think it's Pancalia schwarzella and one of the food plants is Hairy Violet. It wasn't until later that we realised there were probably two species present, the other being Pancalia leuwenhoekella, with obvious white sections to the antennae, which also feeds on Hairy Violet. Both would be new ones for me. However, considering schwarzella is pRDB2 (both photos) and leuwenhoekella is Nb I will get a second opinion. Watch this space! The greatest lesson I learned today though was not to try to attempt Mill Hill without my walking boots, I very nearly ended up at the bottom several times.

6 Response to "Violet and dangerous"

Martin Harvey (kitenet) Says:

Thanks for the violet weevil tip-off, I must go and look for that. And good luck with the Pancalias, I've never been able to convince myself that I've found anything other than leuwenhoekella, but it's always worth checking out.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Hi Martin
No problems. Is the Violet Weevil quite scarce then? It certainly is a smart looking thing.
Graeme

Martin Harvey (kitenet) Says:

Don't know if the violet weevil is scarce, probably not, just one of the many species I've not got round to seeing yet! All I need is a few more lifetimes ...

Graeme Lyons Says:

Well it turns out it is P. schwarzella! I may have gone there looking for Dotted Bee-fly but I got two Nbs and a pRDB2 out of it so I think it's worth a visit for more than just the Violet Weevil. Let me know if you want a grid reference.

J Everitt Says:

Went up there today Graeme, I counted 11 schwarzella and 3 leuwenhoekella. Also another tiny micro im working on an id for! Cheers for the tip off!

Graeme Lyons Says:

Cool! The tortrix that is very common up there at the moment, and on the chalk generaly, is Ancylis comptana. A re Pyrausta despicata too but that one is easy. I bet it's the first one you have!

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