SMG daytime event 21/09/2013 – Olive crescent larval search.

Tony and myself met at Great Martin’s wood at Bentley to see if the Olive crescent was still present after Tony discovered a few larvae at the site last year. This wood has a lot of Sweet chestnut, and it didn’t take us too long to find an area where some coppicing had taken place. The piles of chestnut branches with withered leaves on were beaten and almost instantly Olive crescent caterpillars were located. Wandering round the woods resulted at least 20 larvae being found at several locations where we found the withered leaves on chestnut boughs. We didn’t just look for Olive crescent, we also recorded a few leaf mines with the most interesting being Stigmella aceris (several) and Ectodemia louisella on a large Field maple tree close to the track, plus the ‘snail trail’ mines of Phyllocnistis saligna on Crack willow. Good to record another site for the recently discovered new to Suffolk Stigmella, especially as this is further south than the first site where I found it a few weeks ago. Beating other trees resulted in a few larvae: Birch mocha (from Birch of course), Dot moth (from Alder), Clouded border (from Crack willow) and White-spotted pug (from Angelica flowers).
We also searched at Brockley wood and Bentley Long wood, but at both these locations we struggled to find any withered leaves. These woods appeared to be not as actively managed as Great martins, with no felling/coppicing having taken place recently to provide boughs with the leaves on required by the moth. Again we did look around for other things, finding the mines of Stigmella aceris again at Bentley Long wood. We did manage to find a few small twigs of Oak at Bentley Long wood, especially trapped in the low epicormic growth around the trunks. Beating this did result in a few larvae of Small fan foot, distinguished from the other fan foot larvae by the dark stripe down the back.
With other woods in the area still to check, more sites for the moth may yet be discovered.


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