Invertebrate news 2006
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring
In most cases, clicking on the photos will link to larger images
 
Late insect sightings - Hare Hill Wood A warm November 6th, saw late singles of Red Admiral, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies along with a surprising Rusty Dot Pearl flushed from vegetation. Several Common Darters along the edge of the wood and numerous hoverflies including E.tenax and a single E.balteatus. 151 Harlequin Ladybirds were found, with many in active flight.
     
Harlequin Ladybird population found at Hare Hill Wood What is believed to be the original source of the area's previous Harlequin Ladybird records was discovered on November 5th, when some 37 adults were found along the edge of Hare Hill Wood near Kersall. The range of species variation was evident, and numerous colour forms were found. Another was also found at nearby Eakring Meadows. A second search later in the day at sites east of Hare Hill Wood proved negative.  
     
Second Harlequin Ladybird found The area's second Harlequin Ladybird, found at Lound Wood on October 19th 2006, shows how variable the species is. It was found in the car boot by my wife Dilys and I during a moth trapping session and is now believed to have been accidentally carried there, following a trapping session at Hare Hill Wood the previous evening.
     
Rusty Dot Pearl is 12th migrant species for 2006 The area's first Rusty Dot Pearl for six years and only the second ever record here, became the 12th migrant species to reach the area during 2006, when a male was taken at light from Lound Wood on October 10th.
     
Recent migrants Migrants continue to appear at light, with records over the past few days including the area's first Pearly Underwing (Red Hill 24th) the fourth and fifth records of Scarce Bordered Straw (Lound Wood 23rd) nine Rush Veneer on 23-24th and numerous Diamond-back Moth. A staggering total of 11 migrant species have now been taken during this Autumn.  
     
Small Mottled Willow taken at light Migrants are still appearing, with a Small Mottled Willow being the latest new species for the area, taken at Lound Wood on September 17th.  
     
More migrants arrive - first records of Vestal and Rush Veneer The exciting run of migrant moths continues. A three hour MV trapping session conducted at Red Hill by my wife and myself on September 12th, produced five species of migrants including the first-ever records of Rush Veneer, Vestal (two of each) and Euchromius ocellea. Coupled with several Diamond Back Moths and a third Scarce Bordered Straw, this was one of the most rewarding trapping sessions for years.  
     
Scarce Bordered Straw netted in area Yet another very rare migrant moth has been taken in the area, with a Scarce Bordered Straw found at the same Red Hill location as the Bedstraw Hawk-moth of the previous evening. Nottinghamshire records of Scarce Bordered Straw are few and I am currently tracking down previous records. One was also at the same Red Hill site on September 9th, but unfortunately eluded the net.  
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As 2006 represents a bumper year for the species, there are probably records from many regular trapping locations within the county. The occurrence of Scarce Bordered Straw continues the recent run of migrants recorded over recent days/nights, with the continuing prospect of yet more to come.
     
Bedstraw Hawk-moth is new species for Eakring Whilst counting and watching over 60 Silver Y moths nectaring at the entrance to North Laithes Farm on September 9th, a Bedstraw Hawk-moth was a surprise capture at dusk. Earlier a Hummingbird Hawk-moth and Scarce Bordered Straw had been present at the same patch of Valerian.  
     
Dark Sword-grass taken at light A single Dark Sword-grass was the highlight of a poor catch on August 28th, although conditions were cool and quite breezy. This is the area's second record since one taken at the same trapping location (Red Hill) on August 10th 2004.  
     
Hummingbird Hawk-moths at Eakring The first of what's likely to be many Hummingbird Hawk-moths this Autumn, was seen nectaring on Buddleia at one Eakring village site late evening on August 18th.This has since been followed by a further eight moths up to August 26th.  
     
Two more new Ladybirds Whilst unsuccessfully searching for Harlequin Ladybirds, the area's first 16-spot Ladybird was found at another part of Eakring Meadows on August 3rd, with a 22-spot Ladybird found at Eakring Flash on August 12th. These are the 12th and 13th species to be found in the area.  
     
Hornets again Two worker Hornets were attracted to an MV moth trap operated in Lound Wood on August 8th, indicating an active nest nearby.
     
Adonis' Ladybird - another new species for the area Within a matter of two days, another new ladybird has been added to the area list. The small Adonis' Ladybird was found on 30/07/06 at two sites in the area, but is likely to be considerably more widespread. It prefers weedy situations and so with an increase in areas of set-asde, it looks set to thrive here.  
     
Harlequin Ladybird found at Eakring Meadows This Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) represents the first Nottinghamshire record. After predicting it's likely appearance in the county back in 2005, I spent many hours casually searching and hoping - eventually being surprised by finding this one at Penny Pasture Common on 29/07/06. I immediately conducted a thorough search of the surrounding area, but found no further Harlequins.  
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  Another search the next day also proved fruitless. It is likely that this was a one off sighting this time, although I firmly believe that the Harlequin Ladybird is already at other sites in Nottinghamshire. There was a report of one from an Attenborough garden earlier this year, but the record was unsubstantiated through lack of specimen or photographic evidence and could not be accepted. It was found in Derby in 2004 and that population has since spread away from the initial location. The nearest publicised occurrences to Nottinghamshire have been at Stanley in Derbyshire and Grantham (Lincolnshire) Aside from a single record in Lancashire in 2004, this seems to be the most northerly sighting in the UK to date.

They are a large species (see comparison with Seven-spot Ladybird in photo) and markings vary considerably, with many colour forms. The Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) was introduced into North America in 1988, where it is now the most widespread species. It has already invaded much of north-western Europe and arrived in Britain in the Summer of 2004. It is predicted to spread rapidly throughout the UK and there are worries that it may outcompete other ladybird species and is regarded as a major threat to them and some other insect groups.

Left: How news of the Harlequin discovery made the headlines in the Newark Advertiser.

     
More migrants arrive The number of migrant butterflies and moths in the area has increased since mid-July. Counts of Silver Y have reached three-figures at Eakring Flash and Oil Bore Holes and both Red Admiral and Painted Lady butterflies (all mostly the result of earlier arrivals) are now everywhere. The range of migrants is'nt just limited to butterflies and moths. The hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri (left) is also becoming increasingly regular at flowers, having first appeared on Valerian at the Old School House in Eakring on July 17th and then seen on subsequent occasions near Lound Wood.  
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None of the migrant dragonflies currently in the UK have appeared in the Eakring and Kersall area yet, but there is still a chance as new migrants arrive in the country. Yellow-winged Darters are now at several sites in Norfolk, Red-veined Darters have already appeared at two Nottinghamshire sites this month (see item below) and Lesser Emperors are fairly widespread, with a claim of one at Lound recently and one present at Annesley Pit Top on July 28th. As the Summer progresses, it looks set to be a bumper year for migrant insects.
     
New White-letter Hairstreak colony found A search for Purple Hairstreaks in Lound Wood produced a nice surprise when the area's second White-letter Hairstreak colony was discovered. I had been after photographing White-letter Hairstreaks digitally, for over six years and was delighted to find three adults feeding on honeydew around low vegetation mid-morning. The adult butterflies spend most of their time at the tops of trees, but do descend to lower levels to feed, especially during the hottest part of the day.  
     
Hornets in the area again Hornets are once again present in the area this year, with a worker being recorded in Lound Wood on July 16th.
     
Hummingbird Hawk-moth in Eakring An adult Hummingbird Hawk-moth was found nectaring at the Old School House in Eakring village on July 11th 2006. Another was also in a private Eakring garden on July 16th.  
     
Large influx of Red-veined Darters into the UK Evidence suggests that here has been a big arrival of Red-veined Darters across much of the UK since June. Numbers have also been seen locally, with double figure counts at Annesley Pit Top and a single adult at Warsop Main Pit Top in early July (third and fourth Nottinghamshire records) Just over the Derbyshire border at Pleasley Pit Top, counts reached 23 adults. There have also been sightings of Lesser Emperors (including one at Heanor, Derbyshire)  
     
Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth An old record has recently surfaced of what is probably Nottinghamshire's rarest resident Hawk-moth - the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth. Following a conversation with an Eakring resident who has a long-time interest in moths, the record (dating back to the 1980's) concerned a young larva he found on Honeysuckle at the Old School House in Eakring. The larva was successfully reared and then released as an adult.

The Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth is currently known to occur at only one site in Nottinghamshire, being only recently rediscovered there in 2005.

     
Migrant Hawk-moths arrive in Nottinghamshire Hummingbird Hawk-moths have been seen in the county. On June 18th, my wife and I observed adults nectaring at patches of Valerian at Kings Clipstone and Market Warsop. Checks of Valerian in Eakring have so far proved fruitless, but Hummingbird Hawk-moths are probably gauranteed over the next few months. By far the rarest migrant locally, has been the adult Bedstraw Hawk-moth at Rainworth on June 17th, observed by Phil Jones.  
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These moths are just the tip of the iceberg, as the UK has recently seen good influxes of Striped Hawk-moth (one in adjacent Leicestershire recently) Diamond-back Moth, Silver Y, Rusty Dot Pearl, Bordered Straw and others.
     
No sign of the Marsh Pug as cattle disturb habitat One of the area's rarest moths - the Marsh Pug, has so far failed to appear this year. Although the Spring was late and many species seem to be behind typical flight dates of the past nine years, adults should be in flight now. I have searched for them on several recent days when conditions were favourable, but there has been no sign. Marsh Pugs occur here at three locations, but one of them (Eakring Meadows) has been subject to a lot of disturbance by cattle.  
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Grazing does'nt seem to be 100% of the issue and certainly, the movement of cattle from one part of Eakring Meadows to Penny Pasture Common has caused damage. When I visited on June 17th, the only insects I disturbed were three Meadow Browns and an Emerald Damselfly. This is poor. Normally Eakring Meadows is alive with butterflies, moths and a large array of interesting insects which rely on nectar-bearing flowers for food.

The effect of this disturbance has helped highlight the importance of newly developed, permanent set-aside strips, to the point where independent farmers are now providing and maintaining areas of habitat, nearly equal to those given nature reserve status.

     
New Shieldbug Two adult Zicrona caerulea (known as the Blue Bug) represent another new insect for the Eakring area, when two were found and photographed at Eakring Flash on 19th May 2006.
     
Influx of Diamond-back Moths into the area Four Diamond-back Moths were flushed from four seperate sites in the area on May 4th, indicating that a large overnight arrival of had occurred throughout much of the UK. This was later confirmed via email correspondence with fellow enthusiasts. Silver Y moth, Red Admiral and Painted Lady butterflies are also likely to arrive over the next few days.  
     
Pale Pinion is new species for Nottinghamshire First light-trapping session of 2006 saw an adult Pale Pinion (Lithophane hepatica) attracted to MV light in Lound Wood on April 11th. This is the area's 445th species of moth to date and is described as being a local species in the UK, usually trapped only in small numbers. It turns out that this is the first ever record for Nottinghamshire (VC56) news of which came to my attention via an email from Sheila Wright (the county's macro-moth recorder) to say that one had been taken at light from Sherwood Forest on April 15th 2006.  
     
First records of female Pale Brindled Beauty and Dotted Border Searching for Psychids paid extra dividends when I found the wingless females of Pale Brindled Beauty and Dotted Border in Lound Wood. Both were found near the base of Beech trees.  
     
Searching reveals four new moths for the area Four new moths were added to the area's increasing list on March 11th, including three Psychidae species (Dahlica inconspicuella, Taleporia tubulosa and Narycia duplicella) found on algae-covered trees at Lound Wood and Coleophora alticolella cases on Field Woodrush at Eakring Meadows.  
     
New Shieldbug species for the area A search for Psychidae moth larval cases on tree trunks in Lound Wood on a wet and cold late February morning, produced a new species of Shieldbug for the area, when an adult Troilus luridus was discovered.  
 
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