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SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA I N 1969 H. E.

CHIPPERFIELD

a fairly mild start a long spell of cold weather set in and it was well into June before we had any real warm days and even then the nights were cold. This naturally retarded Vegetation and the emergence of the spring and early summer insects. T h e Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata Linn.) was still appearing well into February, and the first Early Moth (Theria rupicapraria Schiff.) was not seen until 2Ist of the month. T h e first of the 'Quakers', the Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta Hufn.) arrived on 28th March and most of the others eventually turned up, although the Northern Drab (Orthosia advena Schiff.) did not put in an appearance until 15th May, and the Hebrew Character (Orthosiagothica Linn.) was still about in fresh condition in early June. AFTER

A male Brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni Linn.) was spotted by Mr. J. E. L. Pemberton at Staverton, when the Bird Section visited that area on 27th April and several members reported the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus Linn.) during April and May. This little butterfly which had been quite uncommon for some years, was fairly plentiful in August when the second brood appeared, and it is to be hoped that it has made a recovery. T h e first Flame Wainscot (Meliana flammca Curt.) was seen at Walberswick on 3rd June and the commoner Hawk Moths all appeared in June and July, but the Large Elephant Hawk (Deilephila elpenor Linn.) was less common than in 1968. A visit to Orford with Mr. George E. Hyde and Dr. A. M. R. Heron, resulted in finding a Single half-grown larva of the Ground Lackey Moth (Malacosoma castrensis Linn.) and a specimen of the Seaside Plume (.Agdis端s bennetii Curt.) at rest. A few days later M. castrensis larvae were found quite commonly near Aldeburgh. From early July numbers of insects increased and the subsequent hot weather brought out large numbers of moths. T h e Pyrales were particularly well represented and quite plentiful and included the Cloudy Wormwood Pearl (Ostrinia nubilalis H端bn.), the Gigantic Water-veneer (Schoenobius gigantellus Schiff.), the Marbledyellow Straw Pearl (Evergestis extimalis Scop.), the Diamond Spot Pearl (Loxostege sticticalis Linn.) and single specimens of the Golden Pearl (Perinephela verbascalis Schiff.), the Lucid Pearl (Perinephela perlucidalis H端bn.) and the Double-spotted Honey (Mellisoblaptes zelleri Joan.). In the case of the latter insect only the females are attracted to light as the males have never been known to fly. Another immigrant pyrale, the Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella Schiff.) was very common from August onwards and later on a few Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis H端bn.) appeared.


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On 17th July I paid a visit to the locality on Wenhaston Heath where a small colony of the Silver-studded Blue Butterfly (.Plebejus argus Linn.) still persists. A freshly emerged male and three females were all I could see, and another visit on 23rd July with Mr. Wilfred George and Mr. Peter Nicholson of the Nature Conservancy resulted in our seeing only four rather worn females. A Clouded Yellow Butterfly (Cottas croceus Fourc.) was seen on the beach at Walberswick on 22nd July and another in early August. Also in July several specimens of the Beautiful Twist (Lozotaeniodes formosana Frol.) appeared in my moth trap. This pine-feeding tortrix is a fairly new arrival to the British Isles, where it was first discovered in Surrey by Mr. R. W. Parfitt in August, 1945. At the end of July when Messrs. George J. Baker and Charles W. Pierce and the late Capt. R. A. Jackson accompanied me to the Walberswick reed beds the White-necked Wainscot (Nunagria neurica Hübn.) and Fenn's Wainscot (Arenostola brevilinea Fenn) were quite common, and a few Powdered Wainscot (Simyra venosa Borkh.) also appeared. T h e Coast Dart (F.uxoa cursoria Hufn.) was quite plentiful on the sandhills on 9th August when Mr. Barry Goater visited them with me and on 13th Mr. Goater discovered the Anomalous Moth (Stilbia anomala Haw.) in Walberswick. Hitherto the only known habitat of this species in Suffolk was at Staverton where Col. Hawley discovered it in 1934. Düring early August many specimens of the Honeycomb Moth ('Galleria mellonella Linn.) emerged from a small piece of infested honeycomb found by Miss E. K. Bally of Walberswick. This scrap of comb which fitted easily into a 1 lb. jam jar produced over twenty moths, thus illustrating one of the hazards of bee-keeping. On 14th August a specimen of the Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio machaon Linn.) was Aying beside the main road at Walberswick. This was almost certainly an irnmigrant from the Continent. Düring August and September large numbers of the Vanessid Butterflies, the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta Linn.), the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui Linn.), the Peacock (Nymphalis io Linn.) and the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae Linn.) with a few Comma (Polygonia c-album Linn.) were to be seen. Some of these persisted until quite late in the autumn and Miss Thora Helm reported a Comma at Chediston on 6th October. The Silver-Y Moth (Plusia gamma Linn.) was very plentiful in August and September, the local population no doubt heavily reinforced by immigrants. On 1 Ith August there were between 350 and 400 specimens of this insect in my M.V. trap. On 16th August a rather small specimen of the August Thorn (Ennomos quercinaria Hufn.) came to light. This species seems to be widespread but not common in Suffolk.


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 2

With the appearance of tbe Rosy Rustic (Gortyna micacea Esp.) on 3rd August began the usual sequence of autumn moths. The Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago Schiff.) was particularly plentiful this year. The Heath Rustic (Amathes agathina Dup.) and the Hedge Rustic (Tholera cespitis Schiff.) appeared in September and a single Flounced Chestnut (Anchoscelis helvola Linn.) on 3rd October was followed by hosts of Beaded Chestnut Moths (Agrochola lychnidis Schiff.) showing the greatest possible Variation in shades of reddish-brown and ochre. A very late Gold-tail (Euproctis similis Fuessl.) came to M.V. on 7th October. This was no doubt one of a partial second brood. On the same date a beautiful variety sanguinaria of the Vestal (Rhodometra sacraria Linn.) also found its way into the trap. This species is a well-known immigrant and was followed on lOth October by another immigrant, the Gern or Narrow-barred Carpet (Nycterosea obstipata Fabr.). The fresh condition of these two insects indicated that they must have bred locally from immigrant parents. Mr. George Baker of Reydon also saw N. obstipata on the same night. To sum up the 1969 Season, the cool nights up to July resulted in very poor appearances in light traps, but afterwards, with almost continuous favourable nights, large numbers of insects were attracted. These were mostly common species, but as far as Walberswick was concerned included a large proportion of Pyrales, many of which had strayed from the reed-beds. Among the butterflies, apart from the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell most of the species seen commonly were immigrants or had their numbers inflated by immigrants. Many of our native butterflies continue to be at a very low ebb. One bright exception has been the Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas Linn.) which at the time of writing (lOth October) is still Aying in numbers on the East Suffolk heaths. H. E. Chipperfield, The Shieling, Walberswick,

Suffolk.

Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1969  
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