iSpot features moth new to Britain

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The OPAL iSpot project (see previous post) has had an exciting few days – a moth, found by six-year-old Katie Dobbins in Berkshire, was posted on iSpot, and has turned out to be a species not recorded in Britain before: Pryeria sinica, the Euonymus Leaf-notcher. This is native to Asia but has been found in a couple of places in the States since 2001.

Further details and more photos are on the Berkshire Moth Group website.

Thanks to Katie Dobbins for getting her dad to report the moth, and to Martin Honey of the Natural History Museum for his help in confirming its identity. Full details will be published as soon as possible, and the specimen is being passed on to the NHM.

This may well be just a one-off importation with plants or packaging, but it’s emerged via the Back Garden Moths forum that the Euonymus Leaf-notcher was also seen in Spain last June, the only other record for Europe that we’ve heard of (so far!).

The Open University press office have made good use of the story and so far it’s been picked up by the Express, Mail and Mirror. As usual the papers have their own perspective on this, and according to taste the moth is either the “UK’s rarest moth” or the next major pest outbreak.

All good fun, and hopefully Katie has enjoyed her encounters with biodiversity and the media!

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new species: moth and fly

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The latest edition (vol. 120(5), Sep/Oct 2008) of the Ent Rec has two papers describing new species for the British Isles:

  • the Raspberry Clearwing moth, Pennisetia hylaeiformis (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae), which has larvae that develop in various species and cultivars of raspberry, and has been found in south Cambridgeshire and north Hertfordshire so far, but no reason why it couldn’t be found in Berkshire as well.
  • Pherbellia stackelbergi, a snail-killing fly (Diptera: Sciomyzidae) so far found only in Ireland, but rather similar to P. brunnipes which has records scattered across the UK.

new species of bug

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A few days ago Ian Thirlwell sent me this photo of a large (18mm long) bug for identification. Ian had found next to his moth-trap in Portsmouth, and rather spectacular it looked too. It is Leptoglossus occidentalis, a species that seems to be turning up all of a sudden on the south coast, with further examples reported at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildhastings/2813195575/

and:
http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/latestins22008.html

The first British record that I can find was in Weymouth in 2007, see page 2 of:
http://www.hetnews.org.uk/pdfs/Issue%2010_Autumn%202007_820Kb.pdf

Ian’s may be the 6th or so British record, and it is a nice-looking bug, but it may also be the latest invasive pest species to reach our shores, so good and bad news I think.

Update (18 October): there’s more news of this bug at:
http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/index.html

Now being seen inland as well.