Recent Micros

Even though the weather has been wetter and cooler than in the early summer I’ve had a good number of interesting micros in the trap – in addition to the usual macros too.

Perhaps the best of the bunch was this Cosmopterix pulchrimella. 


I’m pleased to trap this as it was only first recorded in the UK in 2001, in Dorset, and is still reasonably uncommon – just 10 records in Devon last year, all from the southern vice-county where it seems to like the coastal locations. It appears to be spreading north from continental Europe along with four other similar species from the same genus – C. scribaiella, C. orichalcea, C. zieglerella and C. lienigiella.

At just 5mm (FL) it didn’t stand out too readily, but alongside it was an even smaller micro: Cameraria ohridella – Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner.


Cameraria ohridella

This one is much more common than C. pulchrimella but still new to my garden. At no more than 4mm it was easy to miss despite the colouration.

Third came this new (for garden) species of Gracillariidae.  I always find these harder to ID than I think I should, but I’m confident that this one is Gracillaria syringella.

Gracillaria syringella

I love this group, not least because of the way they stand which always make me think they are sitting up and taking notice somehow. It’s common, but new to me.

Next comes this Synaphe punctalis – with the rather lovely English name, Long-legged Tabby.


It’s a moth restricted to the southern coast of the UK according to Waring et al, and favours chalky, sandy coastal areas. We are very much founded on clay in this area, but there is plenty of shingle on the nearby coast, so not a surprise to trap one.

Over the last few months I’ve trapped a number of the Yponomeuta (Ermine) moths, often associated with fruit. The commonest here has been Y. evonymella (Bird-cherry Ermine) but I’ve also had what I think is the greyer toned Y. padella (Orchard ermine). This one, below, I think might be Yponomeuta malinellus (Apple Ermine) because of the density of spots and the white/grey, two-toned nature of it … but I’m really not sure and textbooks say genitalia ID is necessary. It will have to go down as ‘Yponomeuta sp.’ …. but I would welcome thoughts on it.


Finally, a few others that I’ve had before, but which are still of interest in some way.

I get a number of these Swammerdamia species. I think this is S. casiella, but again, I’m not sure at all.


S. pyrella has a reddish/coppery tinge to the tips of the wings, more so than in this one I think, and Paraswammerdamia nebulella is darker.

Meanwhile, though I’ve not counted back, my sense is that I’ve had a lot less of the Eudonia/Scoparia species this year, meaning that I’ve not really got my eye in of them. This one is Scoparia ambigualis, I believe. [Edit: having looked again, I’m not sure about the size and think this is more likely to be S. pyralella.]


I only trapped this once last year, on Bystock Common and not in the garden, so it’s a nice record, with several turning up over the last few days.

Finally, a regular visitor to the garden, but shown here because the two examples are so contrasting in the intensity of their patterning. It is Blastobasis adjustella and most of the ones I catch are like the example on the left – silvery grey with a weak pattern. When I caught the specimen on the right I didn’t recognise it because it was so freshly patterned.

The micros seem particularly sensitive to the temperature and with the cooler air of late they’ve not been coming in great numbers. Nonetheless, for someone still getting to grips with them this has provided the opportunity to spend time working them out – it’s a process that is challenging and satisfying in equal measure. All comments and corrections welcome of course!



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Exmouth resident; keen, slightly naive, birder; moth novice.

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