Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Tue 17 May 2011 Dunollie
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Close by were these Emperor Moth eggs on a Bog Myrtle stem,
with the baby caterpillars breaking out of them as we watched.
A Six-spot Burnet caterpillar on Bog Myrtle, and finally the
Grey Sailor Beetle.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer