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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Insect heaven . . .

These were about as we surveyed meadows and woodland for plants last week.

What is the validity of Northern Eggar as a specific name?

Eggar, Northern or Oak ? Near Mytholmroyd.
Best focus my camera could get as he shivered on  my finger.

Common Blues mating. Luddenden Dean.


Nick Carter said...

Northern I think Steve. See below taken from the YNU website

Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: There are two subspecies of this moth, ssp. callunae (Palmer), the Northern Eggar and ssp. quercus (Linnaeus), the Oak Eggar. The main difference are in habitat preferences and phenology, callunae has a two year life-cycle whilst quercus completes its growth in a single year. In Derbyshire Harrison and Sterling (1986) comment that in callunae (the most frequent of the two) the adult insects are only found in odd-numbered years. In Yorkshire this seems to be the case in the west (see Kettlewell, 1973 for example), however in the North York Moors adult insects are recorded in both odd and even years, although there have been no indications of numbers involved so it may be that the majority are synchronised in odd-number years. Yorkshire records which distinguish between the two suggest that quercus is only found in the south-east of the County (Spurn Point, VC61, and possibly Hatfield Moor, VC62). Callunae is common on high moors and lowland mosses throughout vice-counties 61-64, although not recorded from VC65 there seems to be no reason why it should not be present.

ChrisJB said...

If I see them in the hills, in the north, I've always called them Northern Eggar. Not the most scientific approach I'm sure, but I can live with it. Well done on this Steve, never seen one on local moors. Would love to though. I do know someone who saw them in abundance between Widdop and Lad Law a couple of years back.

Steve Blacksmith said...

I think they are quite abundant Chris. I have even picked up their empty cocoons, before I knew what they were.

My ambition is to see an Emporer Moth. Found its caterpillar last year at the back of Fly Flatts Res. Too late again for the moth this year I think.

One of our younger members, Morgan, thought he might have seen Emperors flying over Flints Moor. I went up there with him and he chased and rugby-tackled one as it went past. (It was unharmed!) But it was one of these Northern Eggars.

ChrisJB said...

Yes, I've longed to see an Emperor moth too. I've been up round White Holme looking a few times, where they have been seen in the past, but with no joy. My next best thing was finding the forewing of one, near Stoodley Pike, about five years ago.