Odonata diverse as Tophill moth list increases

Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

This Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire on  July 12th will be one of many seen on the wing at the site this summer. Having started to emerge at the back end of June, this was one of five adults seen hawking around the site, and with numbers likely to increase in recent weeks, it will be a species seen with regularity from now until mid-autumn.

After many weekends lacking in sunshine, it was pleasing to finally get an Odonata day with Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa, Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas, Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans, Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella, Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum, Brown Hawker A. grandis, Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator, Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum, Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and Ruddy Darter S. sanguineum also on the wing in varying numbers.

The humid overnight temperatures on the 11th and 12th ensured moth trapping was both busy and fruitful with perfect conditions seeing more than 1600 individuals and over 160 species recorded over the weekend taking the year list past the 300 mark.

Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Unsurprisingly, the haul turned up numerous interesting records including a Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta. First trapped in 1996, this became the third record for the site having last been attracted to light in 2005. A Dichrorampha vancouverana found by Doug Fairweather in the field on the 12th was the second site record after previously been noted in 1999, while six Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula trapped over the weekend took the count for the year to nine individuals – prior to this summer, only five had been recorded since 1997.

Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

A spectacular five species were added to the site list with Eucosma campoliliana, Aethes rubigana, and  Notacelia rosaecolana pictured below and Hedya pruniana Plum Tortrix taking the total to 556. The annual perseverance in search of Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis finally came up trumps with two males attracted to pheromones taking the list up to 557 species, while a single Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis was found in an area where years of searching had previously proved fruitless.

Eucosma campoliliana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Aethes rubigana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Notocelia rosaecolana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

This striking Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus ab. bipunctata was one of several taken a light over the weekend, whilst other classic July species included Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma, Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides and Peach Blossom Thyatira batis.

Silky Wainscot Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus ab. bipunctata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Peach Blossom Thyatira batis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Despite Lepidoptera taking up a lot of time, the site hoverfly list has seen a recent new addition in the form of Leucozona laternaria photographed by Doug Fairweather.

Leucozona laternaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

Longhorn beetles have been plentiful, with numerous Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Agapanthia villosoviridescens seen, whilst the more noticeable Four-banded Longhorn Leptura quadrifasciata and Black and Yellow Longhorn Rutpela maculata proved more photogenic over the last weekend.

Four-banded Long-horn Beetle Leptura quadrifasciata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire

Black and Yellow Long-horn Beetle Rutpela maculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2014

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