Saturday, 26 June 2010

White-banded Drone Fly (Volucella pellucens)

I took this photograph yesterday afternoon whilst looking for Currant Clearwings on my blackcurrant bushes. I think it is the White-banded Drone Fly (Volucella pellucens).

I only realised that it was a hoverfly after seeing a photograph of a similar insect (Leucozona lucorum) in the British Wildlife magazine that arrived this week. In the magazine Roger Morris (joint organiser of the Hoverfly Recording Scheme) has written an article about web-based natural history recording. He comments that weblogs and networking sites represent a new form of natural-history society. The Yorkshire Naturalists Union (of which I am a member) also gets a mention in the article where it is given as an example of the traditional natural-history society, maintaining a database and having a network of county recorders. What a shame that, even after studying my YNU list of recorders, I am not immediately sure who I could email this photo to with the essential labels: locality, date, grid reference and recorder's name.

The Yorkshire Naturalists Union's Lepidoptera Group has made advances in the collation of electronic records of both butterflies and moths. Howard Frost should be given credit for devising the Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire Branch members' network of Vice-County co-ordinators which enables butterfly records to be uploaded via the Levana program. Charlie Fletcher has been the main catalyst behind the success of Yorkshire's Mapmate-based moth recording system. Harry Beaumont and Philip Winter provide a wealth of experience and knowledge and are able to advise when photography alone is insufficient for reliable identification of specimens.
I suspect that the Pyralid moth photographed here is Scoparia ambigualis. It emerged from the moss on my coal bunker yesterday. I suppose that another possibility would be Eudonia truncicolella, another moss-feeder which Harry has identified for me before now. To be sure of the identity of this moth I could have sent the specimen to Harry or Charlie but can anyone have a stab at it from the photo?
Post Script: It didn't take long for Charlie Fletcher and Tony Davis on the Yorkshiremoths yahoogroup to confirm that this moth is indeed Eudonia truncicolella. The pointed forewings are the give-away sign.


  1. My life used to be plagued by these little micros and I never really sorted them out, there seems to be so much variation with S.ambigualis that I really don't see how you can ever rule this species out from the similar ones.
    I ignore these pesky micros now and mainly stick to the macros. Life is much easier!

  2. Derek, Despite the ideal conditions I've had just one Currant Clearwing so far on my plot this year and that was 4 days ago. They always seem to prefer Red Currant bushes to Black.