Notice Board 2017

The notice board is one of the principal modes of communication for those interested in VC32 moths. I am keen to keep this resource active throughout the year and will be happy to post interesting sightings or issues. In general, at the time of recording I would like to hear of moths that are UK BAP species, new to the county, localised or rare. Additionally any exceptional or interesting captures, i.e. very high numbers, species seen out of season and unusual extremes of variation or melanism etc. will be welcome.

All other records can be submitted at the end of the season for inclusion in the central database.

Site Images: We are keen to complete the species illustrations on the site, additionally some of the earlier photographs now look below par and could be improved. If anyone has photographs of the species that we have not yet pictured, or clear improvements, and does not mind us using them to fill some of our gaps will they please let the County Moth Recorder Mark Hammond know. Any photographs used will of course be acknowledged.

The up to date grid square coverage map is now available by clicking onto:
Request for Information/Records from the County Recorder

IDENTIFICATION AND NOTICE BOARD ENTRIES: Any member of the group is able to handle identification queries on moths at any of their stages and if in doubt will refer the matter on for a second opinion. At the outset the insect should be retained and a realistic photograph provided to confirm the identity. Due to the limitations sometimes imposed by photographic images of moths it is not always possible to identify difficult species from a photograph alone. Basically there is always a preference for a moth in the hand. Accordingly if there are still doubts the actual insect should then be seen by either Philip Horsnail, Mark Hammond, Pete Sharpe or John Ward who will act as determinators.

2017 Records and Notices:

7th May 2017
A single Commophila aeneana was potted by John Showers and James Skinner at the West Lodge Rural Centre in Desborough (SP88).

7th May 2017
A single individual of Nemaxera betulinella was netted just before dusk by Mark Hammond in his Thrapston garden (SP97). This is the second VC32 record, the only other being in June 1918, noted by the Kettering & District Natural History Society.

27th April 2017
The latest edition of the Butterfly Conservation/Moths Count newsletter "E-moth" is available.

Brief Summary for 2016
Firstly, my apologies for the lateness of this brief report! I had hoped to put something more substantial together much earlier than this. So a brief run-down for 2016 as follows:
Total number of moth records received: 26,026
Total number of species recorded: 945
Most commonly recorded species: 7,362 Large Yellow Underwing, Noctua pronuba
Number of new species in 2016: 12 (listed below)
04.074 Ectoedemia sericopeza (Zeller, 1839)
15.026 Parornix fagivora (Frey, 1861)
22.003 Prays ruficeps (Heinemann, 1854)
35.045 Bryotropha basaltinella (Zeller, 1839)
35.103 Gelechia cuneatella, Douglas, 1852
38.029 Elachista luticomella, Zeller, 1839
49.023 Pandemis cinnamomeana (Treitschke, 1830)
49.067 Acleris abietana (Hübner, [1822])
49.256 Epinotia cinereana (Haworth, 1811)
49.334 Cydia cosmophorana (Treitschke, 1835)
63.054 Cydalima perspectalis (Walker, 1859)
63.065 Scoparia ancipitella (La Harpe, 1855)

This all brings the county database to just over 451,000 records, dating back to 1841! I would therefore like to offer my sincere thanks to the many regular and increasing number of occasional contributors for getting the database to this point. Long may the interest continue.

31st March 2017
Two individuals of Agonopterix ciliella were netted after dusk by Mark Hammond at Fermyn Woods (SP98), on what was a truly balmy night for March - feeling more akin to a June evenin!. These are the first modern/post 2000 records of this species in VC32, being last recorded in 1994. A. ciliella is easily confused with its congener, A. heracliana and this probably reflects the paucity of records in the database. There has been some doubt raised recently over the robustness of using the hind-wing feature as being truly diagnostic, and so despite this feature being visible, both specimens were subject to genitalia dissection - both proved to be A. ciliella (males). It is interesting to note that Mark netted several Agonopterix around battery-operated 6W Heath traps in the half-hour after dusk, but that there were no Agonopterix in the Heath traps when examined at dawn the following day. This acts as a reminder to all of us not to rely purely on using light to record moths!

7th February 2017
The entomological world has sadly lost another of its big names. It is my unhappy duty to relay the passing of Bernard Skinner. Bernard was better known to the "older generation" of moth enthusiasts, and his guide book , the first edition of which was published in 1984, represented a massive leap forward in macro moth identification. Prior to this book, and in the pre-internet age, we relied upon editions of Richard South's two volumes. These were fine tomes, but Bernard's work took it to another level, with up-to-date text, identification guides and modern text. His third edition is still in everyday use and invaluable for seeing moth hindwings, which are rarely illustrated in other publications. He is also known for the collapsible trap design that is used by many, which of course bears his name!

5th February 2017
A 20minute look by Darren Seaman for Scots Pine cones at Sywell Country Park (SP86) produced one exit hole of Cydia conicolana. This is only the 3rd VC32 record, and is likely under-recorded in the county.

26th January 2017
I am saddened to report the loss of one of our local Lepidoptera stalwarts, Peter Tebbutt. I am indebted to his very good friend Alan Butler for the following words.
Pete was born on 9th June 1954 in Northampton and was a twin and one of four sibling boys and was a father to two twin boys. He lived in the same house in Northampton all his life. Early in 2015 he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer which proved to be inoperable. Throughout his illness he retained his characteristically wry sense of humour which kept him in good spirits until he sadly died at home on January 26th this year.
From a very early age he retained a deep interest in natural history and developed a specific interest in British butterflies in the the early 1980's.
Pete was also an active moth recorder for many years, but specialised in the study of abberations of butterflies. A good number of his very fine aberrations, many exhibited at the BENHS annual meetings in London, were bred by him and subsequently illustrated in the society journal. Amongst these notable aberrations was a halved gynandromorph of Lycaena dispar batavus this being one of only two known to exist and a halved gynandromorph of Lycaena phlaeas which was all the more notable being ab. caeruleo-punctata on one side and of typical appearance on the other.
Pete had a very keen eye for aberrations but sometimes struggled with some of the subtle colour forms. On occasions Pete would ask "is there something different about this specimen or is it me?" Pete was colour blind! Perhaps equally remarkable was the fact that during his early working life Pete worked as a painter and decorator and was also a self-employed sign-writer for many years! In more recent years Pete took a keen interest in the ornithoptera and charaxes butterflies and it wasn't long before his eye for detail and excellent memory ranked him amongst the most knowledgable specialists in the field today. The same could also be said with respect to the British butterflies. He was a member of the Amateur Entomological Society where he contributed articles to the Bulletin in earlier years. Until very recently he was also a member of the British Entolomological and Natural History Society and he attended all the annual exhibitions until just a few years ago. Pete was always kind and considerate and he developed and maintained an enormous number of close relationships with both amateur and professional lepidopterists all over the country and abroad (although he never travelled abroad and didn't possess a passport). He will be missed by the many people who got to know him so well.

Funeral will be held on Wednesday 22nd February. Contact Mark Hammond for further details.

11th January 2017
The latest edition of the Butterfly Conservation/Moths Count newsletter "E-moth" is available

Retrospective record:
5th August 2016
James Skinner has just discovered a single specimen of Bryotropha basaltinella amongst specimens for determination taken at Rushden Lakes. This is a new VC32 record.