1 July 2013 - Flocks of Bird Droppings.

Today marks my half-way point at Shandy Hall! I will be here for just another month, though there are plenty more moths up ahead for the blog so stay tuned!

The Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana) is another of the bird-dropping micro-moths. We had a 'flock' of them mixed in with some Epiblema cynosbatella and a few Celypha lacunana, all of which are bird-dropping micro-moths. You can probably imagine the panic I had trying to identify and count them all as they were fluttering around and bumping into the equally numerous Green, Sandy, and Silver-ground Carpets in the trap. I did manage a few good photographs of four after the mayhem subsided. As you may see, Plum Tortrixes can be quite variable. Their general color pattern is however the same throughout, which makes them at least distinctive enough to more-or-less identify by sight. Sometimes I sit and stare at a bird-dropping micro thinking it might be something new, when in fact it is another Plum Tortrix just trying to fool me.

Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana)
Hedus 'sweet, pleasing' is meant to describe the coloration of the genus Hedya, which are all mixtures of blue, brown, black, white, and grey. Until Dr. Chesmore told me that micro-moths of this kind were commonly compared to bird-droppings I could agree. The name Plum Tortrix and pruniana are both derivatives of the of the micro-moth's foodplants, plum and prunus spinosa 'blackthorn.' The Plum Tortrix is 270 on the species count.

- Post by Jane Wu