On 29 September, SEWBReC (the South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre) posted the following tweet:
Calling keen members of #TeamLeafmine. [The county moth recorder] is hoping for Glamorgan records of seed miners of Acer species this year: Etainia louisella on Field Maple / Ectoedemia sericopeza on Norway Maple / Ectoedemia decentella on Sycamore.
Being a keen member of Team Leafmine, I had to take up the challenge. Field maples are quite common locally so the mines in their seeds have been the easiest to find, though they’re by no means common. I’ve managed to find them in two locations so far.
There are not so many Norway maples in my area – they’re not native, of course, and seem mostly to have been planted in parks, in housing developments, along roadside verges. So far, I’ve found Ectoedemia sericopeza mines on Norway maples at two sites.
As for the mines in Sycamore seeds, well, I quickly realised that most of the local trees are quite tall so the seeds are unreachable. And trees planted in parks and gardens often have their lower branches trimmed off, which also doesn’t help. The solution I’ve found is to search through seeds once they’re fallen off the trees, though they are then very brown, often dirty and sometimes damaged so the mines are not easy to spot. I’ve failed in this search so far but I have found something else in Sycamore seeds … more on that tomorrow.