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NEEDHAM MARKET LEPIDOPTERA IN 1967 C . W . PlERCE

A warm spell in January gave promise of an early Start to the season when, on the 24th, an Early Moth (Theria rupicapraria, Schiff.) appeared at my window. This was, however, followed by many weeks of cold evenings and the mercury light was little used until my return from a holiday in the Isle of Wight in May. Conditions there were little better than in Suffolk. An indication of the adverse "moth weather" early in the year may be the recording on Ist June of fresh specimens of Early Grey (Xylocampa areola, Esp.), Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica, Linn.), and Clouded Drab (O. incerta, Hufn.). Matters improved somewhat in June although not so good as I had experienced in previous years. July, however, more than made up for the comparatively sparse early months by producing far more species than had come my way in this month previously. This was followed by August and September, both starting off with clear cool nights with a füll moon in the middle of each month and very little came to my light until the last ten days. After a break of some years Geoffrey Burton has begun to use his light trap again and together we have collected at Hawksmill and Bosmere locally as well as at Redgrave Fen. At home he has recorded most of the species I found in my garden and has noted some which failed to come to my light. The latter include the Cream Bordered Pea (Earias clorana, Linn.), five Pale Oak Eggers (Trichiura crataegi, Linn.), Orange Sallow (Tiliacea citrago, Linn.), August Thorn (Ennomos quercinaria, Hufn.), Crescent (Celaena leucostigma, Hübn.), and the dark form ab. nigrofulvata of the Tawny Barred Angle (Semiothisa liturata, Clerck.). On 3rd June I noted the first Maple Prominent (Lophopteryx cucullina, Schiff.) of the season. This species appeared continuously right through the summer, the last one Coming on 27th August. It is difficult to believe that this was due to more than one brood as I saw at least one on most nights during this period, a total of about eighty Coming to the light. Other species common during this month include Brown Rustic (Rusina ferruginea, Esp.), Netted Pug (Eupithecia venosata, Fab.), Sallow Kitten (Harpyia furcula, Clerck.), Tawny Shears (Hadena lepida, Esp.), Varied Coronet (H. compta, Schiff.), Marbled Coronet (H. conspersa, Schiff.), Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis, Linn.), Double Square Spot (Amathes triangulum, Hufn.), and Elephant Hawkmoth (Deilephila elpenor, Linn.). This month also brought some species recorded by me for the first time at Needham Market, namely White Colon (Heliophobus albicolon, Hübn.), Currant Pug {Eupithecia assimilata, Dbldy.), and a Brindled Pug. (E. abbreviata,


NEEDHAM MARKET LEPIDOPTERA

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Steph.). On 19th June, I took my second Needham Alder Moth (Apatele alni, Linn.), this one being in perfect condition. The Dot (Melanchra persicariae, Linn.) which appeared first in mid-June would not normally be worthy of record except for the fact that it was the commonest moth of the season and because Mr. Burton and I both took specimens of the form without the white dot (var. unicolor). According to South only one or two examples of this form have been recorded as occurring in England. Working together at Hawksmill on 20th July, Mr. Burton and I recorded in favourable weather some sixty species including White Point (Leucania albipuncta, Schiff.), Lunar Spotted Pinion (Cosmia pyralina, Schiff.), Beautiful Hook Tip (Laspeyria flexula, Schiff.), Double Lobed (Apamea ophiogramma, Esp.), and Dingy Shears (A. ypsilon, Schiff.). The latter two had appeared commonly in our own gardens as they did when we operated at Bosmere on 26th July. On this occasion we also recorded, among the fifty odd species which turned up, Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula, Clerck.), Lesser Swallow Prominent (P. gnoma, Fab.), Iron Prominent (Notodonta dromedarius, Linn.), Coxcomb Prominent (Lophopteryx capucina, Linn.), Maple Prominent (L. cucullina, Schiff), Pebble Prominent (N. ziczac, Linn.), Lackey (Malacasoma neustria, Linn.), Vine's Rustic (Caradrina ambigua, Schiff.), Miller (Apatele leporina, Linn.), Dingy Footman (Lithosia griseola, HĂźbn.), Dark Swordgrass (Agrotis ipsilon, HĂźbn.), and Beech Green Carpet (Colostygia olivata, Schiff.). Three of the Sharks came to my garden during the month, the Chamomile Shark (Cucullia chamomillae, Schiff.), the Shark (C. umbratica, Linn.), and the Wormwood Shark (C. absinthii, Linn.), the latter being my first recording for Needham Market. Another new recording at my home was the Goat (Cossus cossus, Linn.) which turned up on 25th July accompanied by four Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina, Linn.). The latter had appeared first on 1 Ith July and odd specimens came on other evenings. July was notable also for the return of the Marbled Beauty (Cryphia perla, Schiff.) after an absence of three years. The absence or rarity of this species is difficult to understand, as the food plant exists as plentifully as ever on the old walls of the village. Having taken the New Gold Spot (Plusia gracilis, Lempke.) at Redgrave a few days previously, I examined carefully the Gold Spot which appeared on lOth July, but it turned out to be Plusia festucae, Linn. The former probably needs the damper conditions existing at Redgrave, although it may yet be found at Bosmere. In spite of unfavourable weather in August, I was able to record some species new, to me at least, for the neighbourhood. On Ist August I took two Barred Rivulets (Perizoma bifaciata, Haw.),


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Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 14, Part 1

my first ever, and later in the month Maiden's Blush (Cosymbia punctaria, Linn.), Brown Veined Wainscot (Nonagria dissoluta, Triet.), and Bulrush Wainscot (N. typhae, Thumb.). Three of the last named appeared one of which was of the dark form ab. fraterna. In the early part of September, I was on holiday in Norfolk, where the prevailing easterly winds made for good bird watching, but were unfavourable entomologically. Mr. Burton informed me, on my return, that things were no better at Needham Market, although during this period he had taken five Large Thorns (Ennomos autumnaria, Wemb.) and the Pale Oak Eggars mentioned previously. The usual "Chestnuts" and "Sallows" began to appear but in smaller numbers than usual. One beautifully marked Flounced Chestnut (Anchoscelis helvola, Linn.) appeared and an Oak Lutestring (Asphalia diluta, Schiff.) emerged in the breeding cage, the Caterpillar having been beaten from an oak locally in May. The adverse conditions continued into October and little came to the light. However, as usual, the old faithfuls Large Ranunculus (Antitype flavicincta, Schiff.), Figure of Eight (Episema caeruleocephala, Linn.), Green Brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacanthae, Linn.), and Brindled Green (Dryobotod.es eremita, Fab.) appeared, but of the migrants usually seen at this time only the Pearly Underwing (Peridroma porphyrea, Schiff.) showed up. It has not been a bad season for butterflies, the Ringlet (Asphantopus hyperantus, Linn.) being very plentiful along the hedges and sides of woods locally. The migrants Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, Linn.) and Painted Lady (V. cardui, Linn.) were in sufficient numbers to be noticed and I was fortunate enough to see a male Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus, Fourcroy) on Ist September. Checking the numbers of species recorded, about 300, I may appear to have been too unkind in my remarks about the weather in most of the months. However, July was a wonderful month and it may be some time before as many species will be recorded in one month locally.

Needham Market Lepidoptera in 1967  
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