THE CONCOLOROUS WAINSCOT ( A R E N O S T O L A EXTREMA, HUBNER), A NOCTUID NEW TO SUFFOLK: A BRIEF REVIEW OF ITS STATUS IN THE BRITISH ISLES BARON DE W O R M S
THE capture of two examples of this small Noctuid moth in the marsh at Thorpeness in early June, 1966, by Mr. S. Wakely and Col. Emmet is indeed not only a notable addition to the fauna of the county and to that of East Anglia, but also denotes an extremely interesting extension of the known rĂ¤nge of this very local moth. Its main home, as is well-known to most lepidopterists is the fens of Huntingdonshire. Barrett (v. 105) mentions that it was first discovered in Yaxley Fen in 1844 and that numbers were obtained there in the late 1840's mostly at a late hour or near dawn when it is known to have a regulĂ¤r flight. Whittlesea Mere, tili it was drained about 1851, was another recognised habitat over a hundred years ago. But since then it has been found to occur freely in Holme Fen and above all at Woodwalton Fen, its most noted headquarters. Apart from these localities, the only other of note is Bedford Purlieus not far from Wansford in Northants. It is odd that this restricted area seems to be its chief home, since its foodplant has been found to be the reed grass Calamagrostis epigeios which is also the pabulum of its near relative the Mere Wainscot (Arenostola hellmanni, Ev.). The report that the Concolorous occurred at Whittlesford near Cambridge may have referred to this latter species which is abundant near there. But in light of this recfent startling discovery was it the Mere Wainscot or the Concolorous that was originally reported from Suffolk and subsequently refuted? What is also of peculiar interest is that the only other record outside the Huntingdon haunts of A. extrema was a specimen taken by the late Mr. Eldon Ellison at his home on the western outskirts of Eastbourne in late June, 1957. This example like one of those from Thorpeness also had a very marked row of small dots on the wing which I have never seen in the main fen form. Are these recent captures strays from the Continent, since the species is fairly common in marshes on the Dutch coast or are they members of indigenous colonies hitherto untraced? Further work in local marshes may well reveal that this obscure moth is more widespread in our country than we believed tili now.