Sunday, 25 January 2015

Moths beware!

On Saturday night there was a change in the weather, the wind dropped, clouds came over and temperature raised (a little). The Robinson MV mothtrap was deployed, though still more in hope than expectation.

In the morning there were two new moth species for the year. The trap held two Tortricoides alternella and one Ypsolopha ustella. the first of these is a regular visitor in late winter, though it was only my second record of the second (the first being on New Years Eve). Unfortunately the specimens were not the best, so photographs did not result.

On the macro moth front there were three Spring Usher. This means I am still waiting for Pale Brindled beauty and Early Moth to grace the trap this year, and I am beginning to get a little worried about these species.

The most interesting capture though was an ichneumon wap, which I looked at and photographed with little hope of identifying to species level. However, a bit of investigation meant that I could pin this down as Ophion obscuratus.

Ophion obscuratus

This fantastic insect is a typical ichneumon, looking other worldly with its thin waste and wonderful eyes. the key to identifying this species are the creamy lines on the thorax and the pale corners to the dark stigma on the leading edge of the wing.

Ophion obscuratus

This species is a parasitoid of moths. The female lays its eggs in the caterpillars of various noctuid moths. Because of this behaviour they do not need the long ovipositors of the ichneumons that burrow into wood to reach deep seated wood boring larvae.

Ophion obscuratus

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