Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 17 May 2011 Dunollie

Bibio marci

Lots of Lepidoptera today but first the St Mark's Fly which is common everywhere at this time of year and had a partiality for the leaves of Dotted Loosestrife at Dunollie.
 

Eilema lurideola larva

Several of these caterpillars were found on dead twigs on the ground and I searched for one on nearby live vegetation so as to help identify it by its foodplant, but no luck.  This was not surprising as it turned out to be the Common Footman, which eats lichens!  It was the third vice-county record for this species and a long way from the locations of the other two.
 

Lomographa temerata

Nice to see the Clouded Silver in the wild, as I had one come in the window recently but I’d not met it otherwise.  A very silky looking moth, pictures don't do it justice.
 

Perizoma flavofasciata   Epirrhoe alternata

Two carpets.  The pale one is a Sandy Carpet.  I wasn’t familiar with it, but it’s fairly common, normally flies by night, and lays eggs on Red Campion which the caterpillars eat.  The other is a Common Carpet.  http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=83 says “this species has two generations in the south, flying in May and June, and later in August and September. In northern Britain there is only one brood, in mid-July to mid-August.”  It would seem that we are in the “south” then.  Will look out for the second generation.
 

Pammene regiana   Micropterix calthella

Two micro-moths.  This beauty on nettle is the first vice-county record of Pammene regiana.  The tiny ones on Bugle turned out to be Micropterix calthella, a common species which I often see in buttercup flowers eating the pollen.  I didn’t know they could be on other flowers but apparently they eat pollen of various plants.  I've never yet managed a decent photo of them.
 

Euphydryas aurinia larva   Cotesia melitaearum cocoons

Two Marsh Fritillary caterpillars were found.  The first looks healthy enough, but the second is parasitised by the braconid wasp Cotesia melitaearum.  The white things are its cocoons.  See http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/uploads/mf_action_plan.pdf page 8 for a detailed account of the interaction between these two species.
 

Saturnia pavonia eggs and hatchlings

Close by were these Emperor Moth eggs on a Bog Myrtle stem, with the baby caterpillars breaking out of them as we watched.
 

Zygaena filipendulae larva   Cantharis nigricans

A Six-spot Burnet caterpillar on Bog Myrtle, and finally the Grey Sailor Beetle.

 

       
                 

All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer