Helcystogramma rufescens

This attractive caterpillar of the Gelechid micro moth Helcystogramma rufescens feeds inside rolled leaves of some grasses such as Cocksfoot, False Oat Grass and False Brome. This one measured just 1 cm and was very active as it moved around amongst the grass stems, perhaps looking for a pupation site. The adult moth flies between June and August.

Helcystogramma rufescens caterpillar, Bell Coppice, 18 June 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

In some years this long distance migrant moth from southern Europe and north Africa is recorded in the Wyre area when it can be spotted feeding on plant such as bramble and thistles, But it is most often recorded in gardens where it is attracted to Red Valerian as seen here, as well as other flowers. It hovers like a hummingbird whilst feeding and flits rapidly between plants. It is active mainly by day when it flies in sunshine, but is occasionally seen feeding after dark on sultry nights. Its large size and unusual behaviour makes it noteworthy.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Bliss Gate, 18 June 2025 ©Rosemary Winnall

Non-biting Midge Chironomid larvae

The adult flies in the family Chironomidae (the non-biting midges), look a little like mosquitoes, and their larvae are aquatic or semi-aquatic. Some of these are bright red and commonly called bloodworms due to the presence of haemoglobin in their circulatory fluid so that they can carry oxygen which enables then to live in polluted water in almost anaerobic conditions. Some build tubes underwater from a mixture of mud and saliva, and these can be seen in Wyre during the summer, especially where the puddles are drying out. A few of these tubes placed in an aquarium have provided views of the bloodworms inside the tubes, and repairing those that were damaged.

Chironomid bloodworm larvae tubes, Wyre Forest, 18 June 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Chironomid bloodworm larvae tubes, Wyre Forest. 18 June 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Chironomid bloodworm larvae repairing damaged tubes, from Wyre Forest 18 June 2015

Copse Snail – Arianta arbustorum

This snail, about 19mm in size, is not commonly found within the forest, but does occur in some damp meadows and along the banks of the River Severn. The shells have a distinctive brown line and mottling, there is a white band around the lip, and the umbilicus on the underside is completely covered over. The body of the snail is typically black as seen in this photograph. These snails do not reach maturity until they are between 2 and 4 years old.

Arianta arbustorum, banks of River Severn north of Bewdley, 3 June 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Caddis Tinodes pallidulus McLachlan

Ian Wallace, UK Caddis Recording Scheme Organiser, has contributed information about the the caddis Tinodes pallidulus McLachlan, found commonly in the Wyre Forest:

This national rarity has Wyre as one of its four extant known sites. On June 3rd, I was pleasantly surprised to find this insect common along the Dowles Brook from Park House to Forest Lodge and a little way up both Forest Lodge and Kingswood streams.  Larvae of this genus make characteristic galleries in which they graze algae from the surface of the stones but may also make the galleries above the water level but wet from the surface film.  These latter type are like grow tunnels pushed up into as much light as possible so algae grow on their inner walls on which the larva feed.  The species has an annual life cycle and the galleries are easiest to see now.  Look for them on stones at the edge of the stream where the water flow is moderate to fast.  Note if you see similar galleries elsewhere it is not necessarily T. pallidulus .  The larvae I found key out as pallidulus but I hope to rear some to adult just to make sure!

Tinodes pallidulus larval cases, Wyre Forest, 3 June 2015 ©Ian Wallace

Tinodes pallidulus larval cases, Wyre Forest, 3 June 2015 ©Ian Wallace