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SUFFOLK

LEPIDOPTERA

IN

1961

by H . E. CHIPPERFIELD

A warm spell in February brought out a number of the early Spring moths in good time and several specimens of The Early Moth (Theria rupicapraria, Hübn.) were attracted to the lighted windows of the Ixworth Village Hall on the evening of 2nd February. The Dotted Border (Erannis marginaria, Borkh.) was also well out by 27th of the month. Our member Mr. J. E. L. Pemberton reported a Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni, Linn.), at Brandeston on 20th February and The Small Garden White (Pieris rapae, Linn.) and large Garden White (Pieris brassicae, Linn.), were seen at Stowmarket on lOth and 12th April respcctively, while the first Garden Carpet Moth (Xanthorhöe ßuctuata, Linn.), appeared on 1 Ith April. This species appears throughout the warmer part of the year in several overlapping broods. A visit was made to Mildenhall on Easter Monday where a large number of catkins of The Black Poplar were collected in the hope of finding young larvae of The Pale-lemon Sallow (Cirrhia ocellaris, Borkh.), therein. Lat.er on many larvae appeared but unfortunately they were heavily parasitized by a small chalcid wasp. On 14th April, Mr. P. J. Burton kindly sent me some ova of The Dark Crimson Underwing (C.atocala sponsa, Linn.), laid by a female moth captured in the New Forest in the previous Summer. The perfect insects of this beautiful moth started emerging on 5th July and Mr. S. Beaufoy has obtained a pictorial record of its life history. When I was beating oaks for larvae in Barking Woods on 17th June a perfect specimen of that handsome moth The Green Arches (Anaplectoides prasina, Fabr.), feil into the beating-tray. Although not considered a rare species this is the first specimen I have ever taken and I don't know whether the moth or I was the more surprised when it feil into the tray. On 20th June, I accompanied Dr. Goodall of Morecambe to the Breck where we searched for The Spotted Sulphur Moth (Emmelia trabealis, Scop.), without success. I stayed on until the small hours with Dr. Goodall's mercury vapour light when quite a large number of insects were attracted to the sheet, including several rather dark Pine Hawk Moths (Hyloiciis pinastri, Linn.), of which species Dr. Goodall had taken an almost melanic specimen in another part of the Breck a few nights previously. A further search for E. trabealis on 25th June in Company with Mr. David More of Rayleigh also failed to produce any specimens from several known localities. Samples of Silene otites seedheads from three different localities were taken, but only those


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from Icklingham produced any larvae of the Viper's-bugloss Moth (.Anepia irregularis, Hufn.), and these were mostly parasitized. It was very pleasing to see that the action of the West Suffolk County Council is not being too severe with the roadside verge at Icklingham, had resulted in a great increase in the number of clumps of Silene otites and also of Silene conica, which latter plant made an attractive show of flowers on 28th May. Düring the fortnight 8th to 22nd July I was at Southwold, but collecting on the sandhills and in the marshes was not yery productive owing to a rather strong breeze for most of the time. The first thing that Struck an entomologist or indeed any visitor to Southwold at this time was the abundance of ladybirds, particularly on the sandhills. At first they were mostly the Elevenspot Ladybird (Coccinella\\-punctata, Linn.), but later this species and the usually much more common Seven-spot Ladybird (iCoccinella 1-punctata, Linn.), were in about equal numbers with a few other species in smaller numbers. Apart from the ladybirds, insects were rather sparse. There were a very few specimens of the Shore Wainscot (Leucania littoralis, Curt.), Lyme Grass Wainscot (Arenostola elymi, Treits.), Sand Dart (Agrotis ripae, Hübn.), and Coast Dart (Euxoa cursoria, Hübn.). It was noticeable that these noctuid moths were nearly all on the Marram Grass heads which had been sugared. Very few were on the unsugared heads which are usually quite attractive to moths without the addition of the collector's sugar. Searching the grasses with a torch after dark produced several interesting " Micros " including both sexes of the tortrix The Longwinged Shade (Cnephasia longana, Haw.), and two specimens of the lovely Greater Tawny Tubic (Batia lamdella, Don.). Also taken were single specimens of the Silver-edged Knot-horn (Phycita boisduvalielle Guen.), the tortrices The Strawberry Button (Peronia camariana, Zell.), and the Greater Grey Shade (Cnephasia chrysanthemana, Dup.j, and a number of the Agate Knot-horn (Nyctegretis achatinella, Hübn.), and the Coast Knot-horn (Anerastia lotella, Hübn.), which two species with the Lemon Bell (Eucosma citrana, Hübn.) were the commonest of the micros. A visit to Thorpeness with Mr. S. Wakely on 20th July produced two specimens of the Pale Ochraceous Wave (Sterrha ochrata, Scop.), a species whose principal home is in the Deal and Sandwich district of Kent, but which has maintained a colony on the Suffolk coast for many years. Between us we also took several of the very local Alpine Grassveneer (Platypes alpinellus, Hübn.), and a single White-necked Wainscot (Nonagria neurica, Hübn.), Aying at dusk in the reed beds. Near the Bailey Bridge over the River Blyth at dusk on 21 st July, Mr. Wakely and I found the Allied Marbled Conch (Phalonia affinitana, Dougl.), Wimmer's Bell (Eucosma maritima, Westw.),


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and the Seaside Plume (Agdistis bennetii, Curt.), Aying freely. The latter was very difficult to see, as it looked just like a small cranefly in the fading light. The larvae of these three species feed on Sea-aster, Sea-wormwood and Sea-lavender respectively and these plants were abundant on the mud. Mr. Wakely found some larvae of the Large Thatch Groundling (Platyedra vilella, Zell.), on the seed heads of Common Mallow growing near the pier at Southwold. Unfortunately they all turned out to be parasitized and this probably accounts for the apparent rarity of this species suggested by the late Mr. Claude Morley's note in the 1937 Memoirs, " A local species among mallow. Southwold (Cruttwell) ; Brandon (Lord Walsingham) : both records before 1890 ". A visit to Walberswick Marshes with Mr. R. Fairclough and Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Lyon on 5th August produced a single Powdered Wainscot (Simyra albovenosa, Goeze), the Silky Wainscot (Chilodes maritima, Tausch), Brown-veined Wainscot (Nonagria dissoluta, Treits.), and the micros Cloudy-streaked Groundling (Gelechia mulinella, Zell.), Large Marsh Neb (Aristotelia palustrella, Dougl.), and Doubtful Dwarf Conch (Phalonia dubitana, HĂźbn.). We were hoping to see the Whitenecked Wainscot also, but all possible specimens of this species turned out to be N. dissoluta. Blended Mercury Vapour light at the Aldeburgh home of Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Crosby produced a large assortment of moths, including some micros not yet identified. Some of the expected Autumn insects failed to turn up, but as the date was 26th August we may have been a little early for these. However three Whitepoint Wainscots (Leucania albipuncta, Fabr.), arrived together with a Canary-shouldered Thorn (Deuteronomos alnairia, Linn.), a Pebble Hook-tip (Drepana falcataria, Linn.) and several Broadstreak Grass-veneers (Crambus latistrius, Haw.). DĂźring a final trip to the Breck District on 2nd September, with Messrs. G. Cole and R. Fairclough one specimen of the Tawny Wave (Scopula rubiginata, Hufn.), was taken, and Mr. Fairclough caught a female Vestal Moth (Rhodometra sacraria, Linn.), which he kindly gave to me in the hope that it might lay some eggs. Unfortunately she died without doing so, and had probably deposited her stock before capture. It was however an interesting record to find this well-known migrant so far inland. A number have been reported from the South Coast, which is their more usual habitat in this country. To sum up, it has not been a particularly good season, the butterflies in particular being very much less in evidence than usual. Such usually common species as the Peacock (Nymphalis io,


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Linn.), and Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae, Linn.), being really scarce. No doubt the spraying of their foodplants had had a lot to do with it. It has taken the deaths of a large number of birds and mammals to draw the attention of the authorities to the problem of the excessive use of poisonous substances in the countryside.

NOTES ON SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA FOR 1961 by

B A R O N DE

WORMS

I paid my usual visit to Suffolk again this summer which has proved far better from the weather point of view than its predecessor, though possibly less good for the lepidoptera, certainly during its first half, but numbers were starting to increase when I reached Southwold on 5th August. Once more Prof. J. V. Dacie was in residence at Walberswick and we revisited our former haunts on the marshes that night in the direction of the windmill, but in spite of mild conditions not as many species came to light as might be expected, only 42 up tili midnight. Among these were the Small Rufous Wainscot (Coenobia rufa, Haworth), the Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa, Linn.), the Coast Dart (Euxoa cursoria, Hufn.), the Southern Wainscot (Leucania straminea, Treits.), the Fen Wainscot (Arenostola phragmitidis, HĂźbn.), the Rosy Minor (Procus literosa, Haworth), the Dusky Sallow (Eremobia ochroleuca, Esp.), and the Crescent (Celaena leucostigma, HĂźbn.). The following night when we placed our m.v. light on the edge

Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1961  
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