Moth pheromone & light trapping

Ian Sims came out yesterday to do a bit of light trapping and, even though it was set to be one of the hottest days of the year, he thought it was worth also bringing clearwing moth pheromones to see if we could lure in some of these incredibly elusive moths. They are very rarely seen because they do not come to light and are day-flying around their food plants. They look like little wasps so are very hard to spot – unless you happen to have a set of the moth’s pheromones.

It turned out to be much easier than I thought and within 30 minutes we had an Orange-tailed Clearwing (Synanthedon andrenaeformis) from Wayfairing Tree and then on an old Crab Apple we caught a Red-belted Clearwing (Synanthedon myopaeformis) too! I had always wondered if we still had the Orange-tailed because I’d been shown the marks on Wayfairing Tree bark caused by the larvae by Brian Baker many years ago but never seen a moth in my life.

The light trapping didn’t disappoint either with 212 species seen during the day and night – micros and macros. In Ian’s words:

A very good night indeed. Notable micros are Yponomeuta irrorella (2),and Depressaria douglasella (1). On the macro front I was pleased to see dark green fritillary (10+), marbled coronet (1), royal mantle (5 or 6), cypress carpet (1), what I think is a pauper pug (1), shaded pug (5 or 6), what I think is a satin beauty (1) & red-necked footman (2). Given the lack of pines (& leylandii presumably) on the site, a singleton pine hawk and cypress carpet are a bit odd here, as is the singleton true-lovers knot, with larvae on heather which you won’t find on chalk either! 

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