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SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA IN 1964 H.

E.

CHIPPERFIELD

IN contrast to the previous year Spring came early in 1964 and a specimen of the Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pedaria, Fabr.) was seen on Ist February. Then followed a cold spell which, resulted in the Early Moth (Theria rupicapraria, HĂźbn.), usually out in January and February, being seen in good condition on 20th March. A trip to Belstead on 21st March with Mr. C. W. Pierce produced the Yellow-horned (Achlya flavicornis, Linn.) in numbers, and apart from the usual common Quaker species, a couple of Small Brindled Beauty (Apocheima hispidaria, Fabr.) also turned up at our lights. I was not able to do much collecting during April and I was in Scotland during most of May, but I was told that the Orange-tip (Euchloe cardamines, Linn.) was out in good numbers in Suffolk, although I heard of no reports of the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus, Linn.) first brood and saw none myself, of either brood. It appears that this butterfly is having one of its lean periods in Suffolk and elsewhere. It was not until the second half of June that moths began to appear in anything like their usual numbers and then members of the Plusiidae family were much in evidence together with the Tawny Minor (Procus latruncula, Schiff.). So far I have no records of its near relative the Rufous Minor (Procus versicolor, Borkh.) from Suffolk, although it is supposed to be found in the county. The Varied Coronet (Hadena compta, Schiff.) appeared on 27th June. This species seems to be well established in East Anglia and has spread into Huntingdonshire, within the last year. Also on 27th June I found many examples of the Bordered White (Bupalus piniaria, Linn.), mostly females, in my light trap. As Mr. Pierce had the same experience at Needham Market, one wonders if there had been an immigration during the night in question. During June " plagues of caterpillars " in Suffolk were reported in the National Press. One of the places affected was Stowupland, where I was told the hawthorn hedges had been stripped. On investigation I found that the cause of the trouble was a number of webs of larvae of the Hyponomeutidae family which when spun in a clipped hedge, were very prominent, but when on uncut hawthorn were heardly noticeable. I took some larvae from several webs and these later produced moths of two species, Hyponomeuta padella, Linn, and II. cognatella, HĂźbn. In a short time the stripped hedges had grown leaves again and the people of Stowupland were able to sleep at night.


42

Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

Vol. 13, Part 7

Düring July, Messrs. S. Wakely and J. M. Chalmers-Hunt had some remarkable captures at Thorpeness, the most important being five specimens of the Scarce Black Arches (Nola centonalis, Hübn.) and eight of the Banded Grass-veneer (Crambusfascelinellus, Hübn.). Of the former species Claude Morley writes in the 1937 Memoir " One at light at Hemley Rectory on 21st July, 1904 (Canon Waller). Elsewhere Kent and Isle of Wight only in Britain, probably extinct even there." The moth trap was run in my garden most nights in July and produced large numbers of both macro and micro-lepidoptera each morning. These were mostly common species but among those vvorthy of mention were the Lunar Spotted Pinion (Cosmia pyralina, View.) on the 13th and 19th, and a specimen of the Garden Tiger (Arctia caja, Linn.) with the cream colour predominating in the forewings. When Mr. C. W. Pierce and I visited Messrs. Wakely and Chalmers-Hunt at Thorpeness on 1 Ith July we were shewn larvae of the Lesser Wainscot Flat-body (Depressaria chaerophylli, Zell.) feeding on the Rough Chervil near the Railway Station. These pretty little larvae were well camouflaged among the flower-heads of their foodplant and subsequently produced moths of a much more sombre pattern. That evening by the mere we attracted a number of insects to our lamps including several Cream-bordered Green (Earias clorana, Linn.) and Gigantic Water-veneer (Schoenobius gigantellus, Schiff.) the latter all males. On 14th July we visited Walberswick Marshes, but were too early for Nonagria neurica. Several Silky Wainscots (Senta maritima, Tausch.) were taken, however, including one perfect specimen of the variety ivismariensis Schmidt by Mr. Chalmers-Hunt. A further visit to Walberswick with Messrs. C. W. Pierce, S. Pooles, and P. Crow on 25th July produced the White-mantled Wainscot {Nonagria neurica, Hübn.) in numbers and in fresh condition. Senta maritima was also plentiful and in addition to the normal form several of the bipunctata Haworth, and nigristriata, Staud., varieties were also obtained. We also took three specimens of the Water-veneer (Acentropus niveus, Ol.) including two winged females which form is quite uncommon, as the normal females are unable to fly and spend most of their time on the water. There was some evidence of immigration during August and September when the Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella, Schiff.) was present on 4th August, the Stout Dart (Spaelotis ravida, Hübn.) on 17th August, also on 3rd and 4th September, the Rusty Dot (Hapolia martialis, Guen.) on 29th August and 26th September, and a number of Diamond-backed Smudge (Plutella maculipennis, Curt.) at various places and on various dates. A Humming-bird


SUFFOLK

LEPIDOPTERA

43

Hawk Moth was seen hovering over the flowers in the sunshine on 12th September. I found this moth in my garage the following morning. It had apparently entered the building to spend the night as is the habit of the species. I had not seen this insect in Suffolk for many years. On 18th September Mr. Pierce found a specimen of the Large Thorn (Ennomos autumnaria, Wemb.) at Belstead. This locaf moth has only been recorded from Suffolk on three previous occasions as far as I am aware. DĂźring September and early October the Silver-Y moth (Plusia gamma, Linn.) was very common both in the sunshine and at dusk. Ivy blossom at Coddenham was well patronised by noctuid moths on the evening of lOth October. Altogether Mr. Pierce and I counted fourteen different species including two specimens of the Tawny Pinion (Lithophane semibrunnea, Haw.) on the same tree. In late September my neighbour Mr. Harry Durrant found that his leeks were infested by some small larvae. He kindly gave me some of the affected plants from which I extracted the larvae. Subsequently I discovered that my own leeks had also been attacked. The larvae duly pupated and the moths began to emerge on 4th October. As I suspected they proved to be the Leek bmudge (Acroletia assectella, Zell.) which is a fairly recent addition to our horticultural pests. The larvae bore into the leaves and centre of leeks, onions and shallots and eject bright green frass. The moths emerge in October and hibernate, appearing again in the spring, when they lay their eggs on the food plants of the larvae. Members of the Vanessid Family of butterflies were much in evidence and commoner than for some years from August onwards. Red Admirals were particularly abundant and one even came to light at Belstead on 15th August. This is one of the few butterflies which sometimes fly after dark. The fine summer had resulted in some unusual insects being seen in various parts of the country including Suffolk, and no doubt these will be reported by those concerned.

Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1964  
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