Hello and welcome to my moth Blog. I now reside in a small village in East Cambridgeshire called Fordham. My Blog's aim is to promote and encourage others to participate in the wonderful hobby that is Moth-trapping.
Moth records are vital for building a picture of our ecosystem around us, as they really are the bottom of the food chain. They are an excellent early indicator of how healthy a habitat is. I openly encourage people to share their findings via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
So why do we do it? well for some people it is to get an insight into the world of Moths, for others it is to build a list of species much like 'Twitching' in the Bird world. The reason I do it....you just never know what you might find when you open up that trap! I hope to show what different species inhabit Cambridgeshire and neighbouring counties.
On this Blog you will find up-to-date records and pictures.
I run a trap regularly in my garden and also enjoy doing field trips to various localities over several different counties.
Please also check out the links in the sidebar to the right for other people's Blogs and informative Websites.
Thanks for looking and happy Mothing!


NFY = New Species For The Year
NFG = New Species For The Garden
NEW! = New Species For My Records

Any Species highlighted in RED signifies a totally new species for my records.

If you have any questions or enquiries then please feel free to email me
Contact Email : bensale@rocketmail.com

My Latest Notables and Rarities

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Yearly Round-up 2015

It has been very difficult to pick the best moths that I have recorded this year (Truth be known I forgot to do last year’s..oops!), as I have had many opportunities to survey different habitats and to join up with different amateurs like myself in the search for those elusive species.

Both 2014 and 2015 were interesting years in their own rights, of course my highlight for 2014 was the capture of a Male Hyphantria cunea (Autumn Webworm) on the 28th of September in my garden in Stevenage, this being a new species for Britain and which sparked a search for this species in the local woods and parkland this year to see if it would turn up again, I made regular trapping efforts in September but as I suspected, the moth was never re-found. We can only assume that the moth was a migrant or an import.

That very same year a new species of Tortrix to science! Was trapped by Andrew Wood in his back garden, the moth in question Tetramoera langmaidi was named after John Langmaid whom caught an unfamiliar Tortrix a few years before. Presumed to be of Oriental origin and was no doubt imported with Bamboo that Andrew’s neighbours had bought from a local garden centre…he caught three to my knowledge in 2014 and again re-captured one specimen this year proving that they were still breeding in the vicinity. Despite Andrew’s best efforts to find larval workings, no evidence was found. The third best moth was a specimen of Great Dart caught by Graeme Smith in Bishop’s Stortford, new to the County list.

So in 2014 we had a new to Science, new to Britain and new to County, all from Hertfordshire!! 2014 was a year that would take some beating indeed.

So here are my top species that are in order of appearance for 2015.

2014 was an incredible year and the most successful and prolific since starting mothing in 2006, could 2015 get any better? Let’s have a look and see what goodies I managed to record this year.

1) Stigmella hybnerella - 04/05/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – The first interesting moth for 2015 was this pretty little Stigmella that caught my eye on one of the egg trays in my trap. Having only ever recorded Stigmella aurella before so off this specimen went to be dissected. It turned out to be Stigmella hybnerella.

2) Pammene argyrana - 10/05/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – One of the more uncommon Pammene’s made it the 227th Micro moth species for the garden at time of writing, it was also new for my all time list. 14 moths of 12 species was quite a small catch for mid-May, but it only takes one moth!

3) Luffia ferchaultella - 13/05/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – Not strictly a moth this one, but a bagworm (larvae of the moth) was found on the front wall of our house during the day-time. I regularly record the common bagworm Psyche casta in the same place.

4) Anania fuscalis - 13/05/15 - (Hexton Chalk Pit - Hertfordshire) – We decided to try Hexton Chalk Pit to see what we would turn up. We would be a little late for Northern Drab by now, but anything is possible. It was cool and windy and not ideal conditions and after netting umpteen Green Carpets we were getting a little despondent until the next moth I netted wasn’t a Green Carpet at all, it was a very special moth indeed, Anania fuscalis…the second record for Hertfordshire 181 years later! Incredible, I shall be going back there next year to see if it turns up again. The strange thing is that over in nearby Buckinghamshire it is relatively common with 102 records of 599 individuals up to 2012! 

5) Small Purple-barred and Pyrausta nigrata- 22/05/15 - (Hexton Chalk Pit - Hertfordshire) – A return visit to Hexton Chalk Pit yielded a great catch and a duo of new moths for me, both really pretty moths and typically confirmed to this chalk habitat. 4 traps almost felt like over-kill in such a tiny habitat but every trap had plenty of moths coming to them.

6) Adela fibulella - 28/05/15 - (Hexton Chalk Pit - Hertfordshire) – I paid a visit to Hexton during the day to see what day-flying moths I could spot. Burnet Companions and Mother Shiptons were observed as well as lots of Chalkhill Blues. I then noticed in the bottom field the huge amount of Germander Speedwell. I couldn’t remember the name of the little day-flying moth that feed from this very plant. Whilst I was thinking I saw one! And another and then they were everywhere, 25 in total were observed, I even located a generous patch of the foodplant away from the chalk pit and into the next field where I found yet more flitting about in the sunshine. A rare moth in Herts, but just goes to show that if you get out there and put in the fieldwork, these things are possible. I was also pleased to hear that Lucy Flower also searched patches of Germander Speedwell in Hemel Hempstead and found some there.

7) Bordered Straw - 08/06/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – We had a migrant spell in early June and I was glad to be a part of it. Bordered Straw was a lovely surprise and in such good condition as well. This is a moth that I had not seen since 2009 and not content with one, I managed two more specimens by the end of the month.

8) Micropterix aruncella and Glyphipterix forsterella - 11/06/15 - (Scales Park – Anstey - Hertfordshire) – This huge woodland is a real treat to walk around with its array of habitats, grassland, wet woodland and marsh. I had a walk around on a beautiful day and managed to find various goodies including Gold Swift, Micropterix aruncella and Glyphipterix forsterella the latter two were my first Hertfordshire records. It certainly was a red-letter few hours searching the undergrowth.

9) Small Mottled Willow - 16/06/15 - (Braughing Friars Farmland - Hertfordshire) – 2 hours of sleep was well worth an incredible catch of moths at my parents farm. The most notable species was Small Mottled Willow…not that I have never seen it before. More for the fact that there were 10 across 4 traps was pretty impressive for an inland site.

10) Aethes beatricella & Aethes tesserana- 01/07/15 - (Braughing Friars Farmland - Hertfordshire) – Another lengthy sesh at my parents farm yielded another superb catch of 205 species which is incredible in it’s own right. Two Aethes species were completely new to me come the morning and both being found in the 40w Actinic. Both species are seldom seen in the County and constituted very good records.

11) Epinotia signatana & Exoteleia dodecella - 05/07/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – I find mothing absolutely astonishing sometimes, the thought of moths evading you for nine years of constant trapping averaging 200 trapping sessions a year is quite absurd. I suppose it is even more absurd when the species are considered common (Small Angle Shades springs to mind taking nearly four years for me to see) but these two are quite uncommon and welcome additions to my all-time list and from the garden to boot!

12) Cypress Carpet - 05/07/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – This Carpet was a nice surprise, not that it was in the best of conditions and continuously refusing to have it’s photo taken was frustrating in itself (something a moth-trapper gets use to!) Once a rare moth, in the last few years many people in the County have trapped one, so it was nice to get a dot on the map for North Herts.

13) Yponomeuta sedella - 13/07/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – The rarest moth of the night was a silky fresh Yponomeuta sedella easily seperated from similar shaped Yponomeuta's by the grey silky tinge. My first record of this species was on the 19th of May 2010 in Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex so this is my first record for Hertfordshire. It appears to be quite scarce here with just 10 records up to 2006.

14) Beautiful Snout - 14/07/15 - (Braughing Friars Farmland - Hertfordshire) – Another really good trip out to the farm the evening was absolutely perfect again until I had set out all of the traps, pulled the cord on the generator (thanks so much to David Kirk and the Boxmoor Trust for allowing me to use it elsewhere) and the rain started. I have lost count on how many times this has happened.
I got drenched until 11pm when I called it a night, topped the generator up and went to bed.
Getting up at 4am there were quite a few casualties as a result of prolonged showers which was a bit upsetting.
The numbers were absolutely astounding to say the least.
Most numerous were Mother of Pearl (200+), Water Veneer (Easily 400+), C.culmella (100+) and Dark Arches (52)
. I struck gold with migrants with Vestal, Small Mottled Wiilows, Rush Veneers and Rusty Dot Pearls, I was content with that lot being the best until…. I saw a moth that I didn't recognise upside down in a puddle near one of the traps, I put my hand down to it and it crawled on for its new lease of life and lo and behold it was a Beautiful Snout, I suddenly went all shivery...the moth was still in mint condition! 8th County record. 

15) Argyresthia semitestacella - 18/07/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – With plenty of cloud but a threat of rain, it seemed pretty good conditions. I think we may have had a few showers overnight, but the bigger ones started inevitably whilst I was going through the catch on Sunday morning at 5am.
Plenty of variety again and another plethora of new species for the year were tallied up and written down quickly as the rain persisted through the morning.
An 'interesting' Argyresthia was potted up and initially it looked like Argyresthia albistria which I have recorded before in the garden....It was later inspected under a lens to find out that it wasn't this species at all, but my first ever encounter with Argyresthia semitestacella.

16) Rosy Minor & Barred Rivulet - 18/07/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) – we had a good night at Hexton, with 167 species in all. It was a pretty good night weather wise as well with oodles of cloud cover and a very faint breeze and a minimum temperature at leaving time of 14 degrees. Both Rosy Minor and Barred Rivulet were unexpected moths in the traps with 2 and 4 specimens respectively. On a more exciting note, the rare Pyralid Paratalanta hyalinalis was still there with at least 10 individuals coming to the 4 lights.

17) Acrolepia autumnitella - 01/08/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage)  Going back to Wednesday whilst washing up after dinner, I noticed a moth crawling up our patio door (this happens often for some unknown reason. Last night there was a Scalloped Oak just sitting there...there wasn't even my trap on or the kitchen light, it's as if they want to let me know that they are there!) I potted it up carefully and on quick inspection thought it was my second garden record of Acrolepiopsis assectella, the Leek Moth, but a more thorough look and a quick pot shot revealed that is was an Acrolepia autumnitella a species I have never seen before and not a common moth in Hertfordshire.

18) Nemapogon clematella - 17/08/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage)   When I got home I was eager to set the trap up again and couldn't resist a look before I went to bed to see what had turned up.
I spotted an unfamiliar micro in the family Nemapogon. Potted up and under the lens it turned out to be Nemapogon clematella a completely new moth for me and a really pretty surprise to welcome me home. I see that it isn't a common moth for Hertfordshire with only a few records in recent years.

19) Crocidosema plebejana - 16/11/15 - (Back Garden - Stevenage)   I ran my trap on three consecutive nights from Saturday night to Monday night during mid-November, something I don't do very often this time of year. I think it was the reports of scarce migrants that had been reported up and down the Country at the time.
Saturday night's catch featured no Macro moths at all, a trap rarity in itself! and Sunday night wasn't much better either....just two moths again.
And then on Monday night it all went a bit weird and there were actually some moths to count (and write down) for starter's I had to rescue the moths from a puddle at the bottom of my trap and because our patio isn't quite level, the water wells up in one corner typically, in this puddle I found three Caloptilia's and a Tortrix of somekind reminiscent of Zeiraphera isertana, but it wasn't this species it was a first for me Crocidosema plebejana! now that was worth running the trap for.
I believe there are very few records of this typical coastal moth and I am only aware of John Murray's record this year. Obviously a wanderer from a coastal population or a primary immigrant. Another moth of note was a form of Acleris hastiana that I have never recorded before. 

See you all next year and thanks for following my weird obsession with moths!



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