Sunday, 24 May 2009

Flimwell 21st May 2009

Micropterix cf. calthella - a micro-landscape. For scale, the large out-of-focus yellow object is a flower of yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum). Micropterix are unusual among British moths in having well developed mandibles which allow them to eat pollen (rather than 'drinking' nectar). This one is following the routeway of a bract of a yellow sedge plant towards its male spike. The anthers of this species have very recently emerged and dehisced at Flimwell and, where this individual is headed, there are already about twenty moths feeding on the abundantly produced pollen of one single spike. I saw this moth or a very similar species a month ago feeding on the pollen of earlier flowering sedges like wood sedge. I find myself wondering how long-lived the adults are, how far they can fly and whether they follow the phenological succession of different sedge flowers throughout spring. The books say they also feed on buttercups. The larvae feed on leaf litter.

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