Monday, July 09, 2007

Dolis and a ragwort moth

The first ragwort flower was fully out yesterday and glittering green females of a rather scarce dolichopodid fly Hercostomus chrysozygos (top picture) were skimming across Midsummer Pond, sometimes settling on the meniscus, sometimes on my Wadhurst Clay tiles or the ailanthus log. The one in the picture seems to have retrieved some morsel of food.

Today another dolichopodid (Poecilbothrus nobilitatus) appeared on the pond in some numbers, resting on floating leaves or the meniscus (middle and lower picture).

I also found a tortrix moth resting on a leaf by Troy Track. It turned out to be a retuse marbled bell (Eucosma campoliliana). The larvae feed on ragwort, eating the flowers or boring in the stem and this is one of the many species associated with the plant that must be suffering under the determined attempt to rid Britain of the plant because of its toxic effects, especially when dry, on horses and other grazing animals. There is a picture of the moth here. 

There are some buds missing and one ragwort plant in The Waste collapsed a few weeks back, perhaps because a worm was boring in its stem, so its seems likely to be breeding in Emthree. Most of the Sussex records for this species are close to the coast.

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