Pandora's Box

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:32


Introduced species are the second greatest cause of extinction. So it was bittersweet to catch the first Boxworm for a Trust reserve today at Southerham, this seems to be one of the most rapidly expanding introduced species right now. There were lot of migrants too, such as the smaller Palpita vitrealis you can see next to it. I used to think this was a real rarity. There were two of those in the trap last night too. So this image really conveys how much our moth fauna has changed, and continues to change, through Human behaviour. I'd never heard of either of these moths 20 years ago.

Until today, I've only seen two Boxworms (in London) so I was pretty surprised to the melanic form, what an incredible moth. It has a purple sheen not unlike the Purple Emperor.

Probably the best migrant was a single Small Mottled Willow. I've only ever seen a handful of these.

There was also a Vestal.

A Delicate.

Several L-album Wainscot and White-points too. I guess you can't really call them migrants now being pretty well established.

More aliens though. On the wall of the office was the first Western Conifer Seedbug for Southerham. A species from the other side of the Atlantic originally, it's now very well established. As verifier for Sussex records of Heteroptera in iRecord, nine records have come in today alone across Sussex! There was only one other shieldbug record in the same batch. This has been the trend for the last four or five weeks. I'm amazed at how many people who's names I don't recognise are recording this bug. iRecord really is a great way of capturing these records. So it might be another invasive but it's another big, impressive, eye-catching beast so at least it's getting people recording wildlife.

Finally I was showing Alex some of these species in the fridge when I noticed a tiny piece of symmetry in amongst the mud on the floor of the kitchen Symmetry = invertebrates. It was only a lifer for me!!! Finally, a mouse spider! Scotophaeus blackwalli. Also a new record for any Trust reserve leaving us on 10,147 species. I wonder why I have not seen this synanthropic species until now. It is certainly not common in Sussex.

1 Response to "Pandora's Box"

Gibster Says:

Amazing to think that just ten years ago you'd have been crazy to think you'd ever see that lot in Sussex, nevermind all in the same day! Sad but exciting too. Oh, and symmetry = microscopic algae, not inverts ;)

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