This is the sequel to yesterday’s post …
30 September: While I was searching for the larval mines of the moth Ectoedemia decentella on the few Sycamore seeds I could reach, I found one seed with a hole in it. Thinking it might be relevant, I brought it home and later posted a photo and query on Twitter. Butterfly Conservation senior moth ecologist George replied that this is ‘the exit hole made by a tortrix [moth] larva – likely Pammene aurita, though Pammene regiana also feeds on Sycamore seeds’. Then followed a discussion, prompted by George, between he and 3 other moth-ers about whether Pammene regiana makes an exit hole like this. No one knew for sure.
1 October: The next morning, when I picked up the little group of three joined seeds, I noticed what looked like frass sitting below. I mentioned this on Twitter and was advised to put the seeds on tissue in a jar in case the larva was still inside.
2 October: My tweet: ‘Exciting news: we have a larva! Not from the original hole. I put that seed, with 2 attached, in a jar, and a larva has emerged from one of the other seeds. It’s currently doing a circuit of the tissue – hoping it will pupate.’ It wasn’t until later, when I was looking at the photos I had taken, that I realised the photo above shows where that larva had begun to eat its way out of the seed (indicated by the yellow arrow).
3 October: The larva pupated. I haven’t been able to get a good image as it’s under the tissue and seems partly stuck to the glass jar. And I realised that I’ll now need to wait until at least next May, maybe later to see which moth emerges. What’s that about patience being a virtue?!