Small Beasts in October

Neil spotted some galls on the box hedges in Raasay House Walled Garden so I went to have a look.

There seems little doubt that these small cabbage-like galls are caused by the psyllid Psylla buxi, but an official record can wait until we can actually see the causer.

Elsewhere on Raasay, I happened across Balea perversa, known as the wall snail or tree snail. This is probably very common and there are quite a few records on NBN for the vice-county, but it is an attractive little thing. (It was on neither a wall nor a tree on this occasion, but rather, munching a piece of Festuca.)

Nearby there were some bristletails. I think this is Petrobius maritimus as it has clearly ringed antennae rather than P.brevistylus which has plain antennae.

At home, I have had Grey Pine Carpet, Feathered Thorn and, new to my garden, Pale Pinion in the moth trap.

Yesterday during the last Skye Botany Group outing of 2022 I spotted a single specimen of Acleris hyemana (sometimes called Heath Button). This micromoth emerges on the moors in September and October and overwinters as an adult.

Acleris hyemana

And finally, not a beast, but at least something small: Onygena equina (Horn Stalkball) a species of fungus that grows on putrefying hooves and horns. This seems to be one of Neil’s specialities as he has shown it to me before on Skye and his are the only two recent records (i.e. within the past 120 years) in the vice-county listed on NBN. I really must look out for it more.

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