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Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner Moths

A horse chestnut leaf miner moth, Cameraria ohridella (family Gracillariidae,order Lepidoptera).  In the past few years these tiny (4mm long) moths have infested the horse chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) around our flats, causing their leaves to become covered with brown blotches each year from June onwards (a sort of premature autumn).  According to UK Moths, the species was discovered in Macedonia in 1985 and had spread to Britain by 2002.

Earlier this year I had hoped that the infestation this year might be less bad on the basis of the new horse chestnut leaves looking particularly green and blotch-free, and that I had only seen one or two of the moths on April 18th, and then none for the next two months.  However, by the end of June, most of the leaves had developed bad blotching and the moths were out in force, many coming in through our open windows.

Photo taken in Reading, UK, on 2009-07-08.

Here are a couple of photos I took during last year's infestation:

Photo taken in Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2008-07-26.

Photo taken in Reading, UK, on 2008-08-16.

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