Moth Survey – 16th July 2014

Equipment for moth survey

Equipment for moth survey

Background
For those new to moth surveys, a large moth trap (see inset) was used over night with its big bulb lit up to attract the moths. The vast majority are active at night. They can enter but not leave, so next morning they are all resting – ready for identification – on cardboard egg boxes that are left inside the trap.

Our survey
A window of time was agreed in late July – not a fixed date. This has the supreme advantage that we could pick our night when conditions were right – light to no wind, warm and dry. We had Dr Tim Freed do the survey – a top expert who has surveyed several of the royal parks.

The location
Tim carefully chose an area of long grass with diverse species of grass and flowers– not overlooked by too many houses, and close to trees – native species. He set up the trap after the cemetery had closed.

What he might expect to find
Any of the common moths in southern England in summertime (along with flies, wasps and lacewings) native to neutral grassland and with trees nearby. We have over 2500 species in Great Britain, including many micro-moths.

The survey
Tim returned at around 6am and took out each egg box in turn to identify the moths now motionless on it.
Those too difficult to identify onsite (some of the micro-moths) were placed in a test tube in the shade. They needed to be prepared for identification. Some need a mild anaesthetic in order to examine partially hidden hind wings. The more difficult identifications need further preparation and a microscope to distinguish between similar species. This takes time and is taken into account when professional surveys are costed.
A small group – who had helped to arrange the survey – gathered later, to look at a few of the more ‘beautiful’ specimens and to make notes and take a few photos.

Results
Tim was genuinely excited by his findings – the first survey of its kind in Margravine cemetery, made possible by its initiation, support and funding from the Friends of the cemetery.

To quote Tim after his final count:  ‘Your cemetery appears to have a very interesting and unique moth fauna.’

HIS SCIENTIFIC REPORT FOLLOWS:

***************************************************************************************

 

MARGRAVINE CEMETERY – MOTH SURVEY                                                                                         Dr Tim Freed

A moth survey was carried out in the cemetery on the night of 16th July 2014 operating a Robinson-pattern moth trap utilising a 125 watt mercury-vapour lamp. A Pyrex bowl was placed over the lamp to protect from precipitation and a white sheet was placed beneath the trap to assist with collection of moths that did not enter the trap.

The trap was placed adjacent to herb-rich grassland at grid ref. TQ 2402378115 a little to the north-west of the Field Road gate. Power was sourced from 77 Claxton Grove via cable running over the cemetery wall.

The lamp was lit at dusk just after the cemetery was closed to the public. The trap was blocked and the catch sorted at 0545 hours the following morning.

Conditions were very good for moth activity. The temperature was 23 degrees Celsius at 2200 hours falling to a minimum of 19 degrees overnight, with light cloud cover increasing and a moderate SW wind at dusk becoming lighter and moving NW by dawn.

Results:

A total of c.606 moths comprising 113 species were recorded (see sheet ’16 Jul 2014’ on the accompanying Excel file) including four which have Nationally Scarce B status, 87 having ‘Common’ status, 18 having ‘Local’ status and 3 which are classed as Migrants. (The status of Prays ruficeps has not yet been classified). Sixteen species were confirmed or identified by dissection and microscopic examination of the genitalia.

Nationally Scarce B moths recorded in Margravine Cemetery 16/07/14 (Species occurring in 31 to 100 10km squares in Great Britain):

Code Family and Taxon Status National distribution General Habitat Foodplant and requirements
35.032 GelechiidaePexicopia malvellaHollyhock Seed Moth B Widespread but possibly declining; now found mostly in south-east England grassland, gardens and saltmarshes larvae feed on seeds of marsh mallow and hollyhock
35.099 GelechiidaeGelechia senticetella  B A naturalised adventive (first Middx record 1998) spreading out from south-east England gardens and parks larvae feed on juniper and cypresses including Lawson’s Cypress
35.157 GelechiidaeRecurvaria nanella B mainly in southern England, occasionally north to Yorkshire, and in northern Wales orchards, gardens, woodland and hedgerows larvae mine the leaves, buds and flowers of apple, pear and blackthorn
49.280 TortricidaeGypsonoma oppressana B Recently designated nationally scarce, occurring sporadically throughout England woodland edges, parks, gardens and commons larvae feed on buds of mature poplars

 

Discussion:

Reviewing the results systematically, there is a noticeable assemblage of species more commonly found in dry pasture, acid grassland and coastal habitats. Interestingly, historic and modern records of several species originate from localities close to the River Thames. In particular, the following fall into this group: Monochroa lucidella, Caryocolum fraternella, Coleophora striatipennella, Coleophora argentula, and Dichrorampha vancouverana. M. lucidella has apparently been recorded only once before in Middlesex and is generally very rare in western London. It is possible that the very strong westerly winds preceding the survey could have blown this moth from another site, possibly the London Wetland Centre or Lonsdale Reservoir where its larval foodplant, common spike-rush, grows. Likewise only a few Middlesex records exist for C. fraternella, a species of dry grassland and heath whose larvae feed on stitchwort and mouse-ear. Both C. striatipennella and C. argentula are uncommon in the inner London area; the former’s foodplant is lesser stitchwort and the latter feeds on yarrow. Timothy Tortrix Aphelia paleana is also rare in inner London; the last record is thought to have been of several specimens taken in Regent’s Park in 2003. E. cana and E. hohenwartiana are tortrixes of dry pasture whose larvae feed on thistles and knapweeds. Another tortrix Dichrorampha vancouverana is uncommon in inner London except for a few records close to the Thames where its foodplants, yarrow and tansy grow. The pyralid Synaphe punctalis is a moth found mainly in dry, coastal habitats; there is only one previous Middlesex record, that being from Bushy Park in 2007. Another most unusual record for inner London is the Brown Plume Stenoptilia pterodactyla whose larvae feed on germander speedwell. Apparently there is only one other Middlesex record for this species: a singleton at Hampstead in 1987.

 

Species of moths with lichen-feeding larvae also feature in this list: e.g. Common Footman, Scarce Footman, Tree-lichen Beauty and Marbled Beauty. The Tree-lichen Beauty is a relatively recent colonist with the first Middlesex specimen being recorded in Regent’s Park in 2003. Prior to this date it occurred only as a rare migrant in southern England. It is now well established in the capital.

 

During a recce of the cemetery’s habitats on 4th November 2013 a number of moth leaf-mines were recorded on trees and shrubs (see sheet ‘4 Nov 2013’ on the accompanying Excel file). All are fairly commonplace. The Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella is a serious pest species which has spread rapidly in England since its arrival in the Wimbledon area of London c.2002. Another pest species, the Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar was recorded in larval stage just outside the confines of the cemetery (Ruth Savery pers.comm.).

 

Combining records from the two lists provides a total of 124 species of moths recorded so far within the cemetery.

 

Acknowledgements:

I am most grateful to Abel Hadden and Ruth Savery for their general assistance, and also to The Friends of Margravine Cemetery for funding this survey. Especial thanks are also due to Chris and Robin Bayliss for kindly allowing me to use their electricity supply to run the trap.

 

References:

AGASSIZ, D.J.L., BEAVAN, S.D. & HECKFORD, R.J. (2013). A checklist of the Lepidoptera of the British Isles. St Albans: Royal Entomological Society.

BRADLEY, J.D. (2000). Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles. Second edition (revised). Fordingbridge: Bradley.

FREED, T.H. (2009). Bushy Park, Middlesex (VC 21) Moth Survey 2005-2008. A report prepared for The Royal Parks.

FREED T.H., and NEWLAND, M. (2004). Regent’s Park, Middlesex (VC 21) Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) Baseline Survey Report 2003. London : The Royal Parks Agency.

PLANT, C.W. (1993). Larger Moths of the London Area. London: London Natural History Society.

PLANT, C.W. (2002). A provisional list of the microlepidoptera of Middlesex (vice-county 21). Lond. Nat. 81 : 123-186.

PLANT, C.W. and TERRY, R. (2011). Third update to the list of microlepidoptera of Middlesex (vice-county 21). Lond. Nat. 90 : 179-185

STACE, C.A. (2011). New Flora of the British Isles. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

STERLING, P. and PARSONS, M.S. (2012). Field Guide to the Micromoths of Great Britain and Ireland. Gillingham, Dorset: British Wildlife Publishing.

WARING, P. and TOWNSEND, M. (2003). Field guide to the moths of Great Britain. 2nd edition. Hook: British Wildlife Publishing.

4.039 73 Nepticulidae Stigmella trimaculella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
14.002 266 Bucculatricidae Bucculatrix nigicomella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
14.009 273 Bucculatricidae Bucculatrix thoracella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
15.006 284 Gracillariidae Caloptilia rufipennella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
15.015 294 Gracillariidae Aspilapteryx tringipennella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 7 adult T H Freed
15.017 296 Gracillariidae Calybites phasianipennella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
15.089 366a Gracillariidae Cameraria ohridella  Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 c.50 adult T H Freed
16.001 424 Yponomeutidae Yponomeuta evonymella  Bird-cherry Ermine 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
16.003 426 Yponomeutidae Yponomeuta malinellus Apple Ermine 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
16.017 438 Yponomeutidae Swammerdamia pyrella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
16.020 441 Yponomeutidae Paraswammerdamia nebulella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 4 adult T H Freed
18.001 464 Plutellidae Plutella xylostella Diamond-back Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 16 adult T H Freed
20.021 420 Argyresthiidae Argyresthia pruniella Cherry Fruit Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 5 adult T H Freed
21.001 263 Lyonetiidae Lyonetia clerkella Apple Leaf Miner 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 c.50 adult T H Freed
22.002 449 Praydidae Prays fraxinella Ash Bud Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
22.003 ? Praydidae Prays ruficeps 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
28.010 647 Oecophoridae Hofmannophila pseudospretella  Brown House-moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 5 adult T H Freed
28.012 644 Oecophoridae Borkhausenia fuscescens 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 5 adult T H Freed
28.014 642 Oecophoridae Crassa unitella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 4 adult T H Freed
28.015 640 Oecophoridae Batia lunaris 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
28.024 656 Oecophoridae Tachystola acroxantha 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
35.031 868 Gelechiidae Helcystogramma rufescens  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
35.032 809 Gelechiidae Pexicopia malvella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
35.038 789 Gelechiidae Bryotropha domestica  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
35.046 782 Gelechiidae Bryotropha senectella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
35.071 736 Gelechiidae Monochroa lucidella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
35.099 801a Gelechiidae Gelechia senticetella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
35.132 830 Gelechiidae Caryocolum fraternella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
35.141 765 Gelechiidae Teleiodes vulgella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 4 adult T H Freed
35.157 757 Gelechiidae Recurvaria nanella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
37.039 523 Coleophoridae Coleophora hemerobiella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
37.048 518 Coleophoridae Coleophora mayrella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
37.099 553 Coleophoridae Coleophora striatipennella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
37.102 563 Coleophoridae Coleophora argentula 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 20 adult T H Freed
38.037 607 Elachistidae Elachista canapennella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 4 adult T H Freed
40.010 893 Momphidae Mompha epilobiella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
41.002 873 Blastobasidae Blastobasis adustella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 22 adult T H Freed
41.003 874 Blastobasidae Blastobasis lacticolella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
45.012 1509 Pterophoridae Stenoptilia pterodactyla Brown Plume 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
45.044 1524 Pterophoridae Emmelina monodactyla 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.004 1010 Tortricidae Ditula angustiorana Red-barred Tortrix 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.013 977 Tortricidae Archips podana Large Fruit-tree Tortrix 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.031 989 Tortricidae Aphelia paleana  Timothy Tortrix 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.038 994 Tortricidae Clepsis consimilana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.039 998 Tortricidae Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 8 adult T H Freed
49.050 1020 Tortricidae Cnephasia stephensiana Grey Tortrix 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.062 1036 Tortricidae Acleris forsskaleana  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
49.091 1011 Tortricidae Pseudargyrotoza conwagana  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 6 adult T H Freed
49.161 1063 Tortricidae Celypha striana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.188 1099 Tortricidae Endothenia marginana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.223 1159 Tortricidae Rhopobota naevana  Holly Tortrix 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.225 1205a Tortricidae Spilonota laricana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.265 1201 Tortricidae Eucosma cana  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
49.266 1200 Tortricidae Eucosma hohenwartiana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.279 1169 Tortricidae Gypsonoma dealbana  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.280 1170 Tortricidae Gypsonoma oppressana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
49.318 1284 Tortricidae Dichrorampha vancouverana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.338 1261 Tortricidae Cydia pomonella  Codling Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
49.341 1260 Tortricidae Cydia splendana 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 11 adult T H Freed
62.006 1425 Pyralidae Galleria mellonella Wax Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
62.029 1452 Pyralidae Phycita roborella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
62.048 1470 Pyralidae Euzophera pinguis 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
62.054 1481 Pyralidae Homoeosoma sinuella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
62.065 1474 Pyralidae Ephestia unicolorella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 8 adult T H Freed
62.070 1414 Pyralidae Synaphe punctalis  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
62.075 1413 Pyralidae Hypsopygia costalis  Gold Triangle 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
62.076 1415 Pyralidae Hypsopygia glaucinalis 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
62.077 1424 Pyralidae Endotricha flammealis 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 4 adult T H Freed
63.018 1378 Crambidae Anania coronata  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.038 1405 Crambidae Pleuroptya ruralis  Mother of Pearl 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
63.063 1334a Crambidae Scoparia basistrigalis 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.067 1338 Crambidae Eudonia lacustrata 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
63.069 1342 Crambidae Eudonia angustea  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.074 1344 Crambidae Eudonia mercurella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 22 adult T H Freed
63.080 1293 Crambidae Chrysoteuchia culmella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 49 adult T H Freed
63.088 1302 Crambidae Crambus perlella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.090 1306 Crambidae Agriphila inquinatella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.093 1304 Crambidae Agriphila straminella  16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 79 adult T H Freed
63.099 1313 Crambidae Catoptria pinella 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.115 1331 Crambidae Acentria ephemerella Water Veneer 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
63.116 1354 Crambidae Cataclysta lemnata  Small China-mark 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
70.004 1699 Geometiridae Idaea rusticata  Least Carpet 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 14 adult T H Freed
70.006 1705 Geometiridae Idaea fuscovenosa  Dwarf Cream Wave 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
70.016 1713 Geometiridae Idaea aversata Riband Wave 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 21 adult T H Freed
70.049 1728 Geometiridae Xanthorhoe fluctuata  Garden Carpet 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
70.141 1862 Geometiridae Gymnoscelis rufifasciata  Double-striped Pug 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
70.226 1906 Geometiridae Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
70.258 1937 Geometridae Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
71.020 2011 Notodontidae Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
72.045 2050 Erebidae Eilema lurideola  Common Footman 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
72.046 2047 Erebidae Eilema complana Scarce Footman 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.032 2425 Noctuidae Colocasia coryli  Nut-tree Tussock 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.062 2297 Noctuidae Amphipyra pyramidea  Copper Underwing 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.082 2292 Noctuidae Cryphia algae Tree-lichen Beauty 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 15 adult T H Freed
73.084 2293 Noctuidae Bryophila domestica Marbled Beauty 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 5 adult T H Freed
73.095 2389 Noctuidae Caradrina clavipalpis Pale Mottled Willow 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
73.096 2381 Noctuidae Hoplodrina octogenaria The Uncertain 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 13 adult T H Freed
73.097 2382 Noctuidae Hoplodrina blanda  The Rustic 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 18 adult T H Freed
73.105 2301 Noctuidae Dypterygia scabriuscula  Bird’s Wing 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.120 2352 Noctuidae Eremobia ochroleuca  Dusky Sallow 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.162 2321 Noctuidae Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
73.169/70 2343/a Noctuidae Mesapamea secalis agg. Common Rustic agg. 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 3 adult T H Freed
73.172 2341 Noctuidae Mesoligia furuncula  Cloaked Minor 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.216 2318 Noctuidae Cosmia trapezina  The Dun-bar 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 4 adult T H Freed
73.298 2193 Noctuidae Mythimna ferrago  The Clay 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.317 2089 Noctuidae Agrotis exclamationis Heart & Dart 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 9 adult T H Freed
73.325 2092 Noctuidae Agrotis puta  Shuttle-shaped Dart 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
73.327 2091 Noctuidae Agrotis ipsilon  Dark Sword-grass 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.328 2098 Noctuidae Axylia putris Flame 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
73.329 2102 Noctuidae Ochropleura plecta  Flame Shoulder 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 2 adult T H Freed
73.342 2107 Noctuidae Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 5 adult T H Freed
73.348 2111 Noctuidae Noctua janthe  Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed
74.009 2423 Nolidae Nycteola revayana  Oak Nycteoline 16/07/2014 TQ2402378115 1 adult T H Freed