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SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA IN 1970 H. E.

CHIPPERFIELD

my report for 1969 had been sent in a male Convolvulus Hawkmoth (Herse convolvuli Linn.) came to my mercury vapour light trap on 20th October. Further specimens of the Gern (Nycterosea obstipata Fabr.) appeared on 22nd and from a pairing a number of eggs were laid which produced moths in late December. The cold weather in the opening months of 1970 resulted in the emergence of the early spring moths being delayed. Apart from the Yellow-horned (Achlya flavicornis Linn.) on the 20th March and the Oak Beauty (Biston strataria Hufn.) on 12th April, the usual "Quakers", the Early Grey (Xylocampa areola Esp.) and March Moth (Alsophila aescularia Schiff.) did not put in an appearance until 25th April. Brimstone butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni Linn.) were reported by Mr. Gerald Jobson on 18th April and by Miss Bally on 21 st. Although seen annually in Suffolk this species is not as common as in some other counties because of the scarcity of its foodplants, the two Buckthorns. The Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus Linn.) was seen at Walberswick and Stradbroke on 3rd May and other specimens were reported at Earl Soham by Mr. Philip Peecock and at Coddenham by his son, Mr. John Peecock, on the same day. Mr. G. B. G. Benson reported this insect in the Southwold district on 9th May. Subsequently this butterfly became commoner than it had been for years in many parts of the county and was abundant as a second brood in August, eggs and larvae being present on almost every patch of ivy buds. This is indeed a welcome revival. Some of our other butterflies are still at a very low ebb. There was no sign of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Clossiana euphrosyne Linn.) in Belstead Woods on 24th May although a number of other species were present and the day-flying moth, the Speckled Yellow (Pseudopanthera macularia Linn.) was quite common. On 3Ist May, a Broad-bordered Bee Hawk moth (Hemaris fuciformis Linn.) was hovering over aubretia at Walberswick at 7.30 in the evening. This is a most unusual hour for this species to be about, the normal time of flight being in the morning, and only in hot sunshine. About this date a specimen of the Death's Head Hawk moth (Acherontia atropos Linn.) was reported at Southwold, and larvae of the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly (•Strymondia w-album Knoch) were found on wych-elm at Westleton by Dr. A. Heron. At the end of May the little black Psychidae moth the Transparent Sweep (Epichnopteryx pulla Esp.) was quite common along the river wall by the River Blyth.

AFTER


SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA

A specimen of the Pale Oak Beauty (Pseudoboarmia punctinalis Scop.) was found at rest on a wall at Walberswick on 9th June. It is most unusual to find this insect away from oak-woods. On l l t h June a form of the White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda Linn.) with black streaks instead of dots, approaching ab. walkeri Curtis, was found in my mercury vapour trap. Larvae of the Ground Lackey (Malacosoma castrensis Linn.) were very common and in all sizes at Aldeburth on 18th June and on 20th two specimens of the Silver-barred (Eustrotia bankiana Fabr.) were seen on some boggy ground at Walberswick. This may be the first Suffolk record for this species since 1900 when it was found by the late E. G. J. Sparke at Tuddenham Fen and recorded in the 1937 Memoirs. Two nights, 26th and 27th June, spent at Herringswell with Messrs. Brian Elliott and Tony Harman from Derbyshire resulted in the listing of eighty-nine species of macro moths including five different Hawk moths and over twenty species of micros. In addition Mr. Harman saw a Humming-bird Hawk moth (Macroglossum stellatarum Linn.) Aying by day. However, there was no sign of the Viper's Bugloss moth (Anepia irregularis Hufn.) in two well-known habitats for it, and it must be presumed that it is a victim of the spray which distorted its food plant about two years ago. Only one Spotted Sulphur (Emmelia trabealis Scop.) has been seen in its well-known Suffolk locality since the cultivation was changed. Düring a visit to Redgrave Fen on 3rd July, Mr. C. W. Pierce pointed out a specimen of the New Gold Spot (Autographa [Plusia] gracilis Lempke) which he found occurred there in 1968. Another species which is not often reported from Suffolk, the White-spot Marbled (Lithacodia fasciana Linn.) appeared at Walberswick on 7th July. It had not been heard of in the county since 1890 until Mr. Jack Goddard found a specimen at Mildenhall in June, 1933, and another at Blythburgh Wood in 1936. Several specimens of the Cloudy Wormwood Pearl (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübn.) also known as the European Com Borer appeared about this date. This pyralid moth, which before 1937 was only found regularly in the Southend district of Essex, appears to have extended its ränge. On 18th July, when the Baron de Worms visited Walberswick, ninety-seven different species of macrolepidoptera were attracted to our lights in the marshes. On 29th a Garden Tiger moth (Arctia caja Linn.) in which the red on the hindwings and body was replaced by yellow found its way into my trap. This is a very unusual variety.


370

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 4

The large-scale burning of the reed beds at Walberswick in the spring must have destroyed many Wainscot larvae which feed inside the reeds. Consequently it was no surprise to me when the Whitenecked Wainscot (Nonagria neurica H체bn.) was very much scarcer than it had been for the past two years. On the other hand the Fen Wainscot (Arenostola phragmitidis H체bn.) was abundant as was the Coast Dart (Euxoa cursoria Hufn.) on the nearby sandhills. That attractive Crambid moth, the Banded Grass-veneer (Pediasia fascelinellus H체bn.) was found on Walberswick beach by Dr. Michael Harper on 8th August. Until 1963, when it was found at Thorpeness, it was known only from Felixstowe in Suffolk and north of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Two new pests seem to have become established in Suffolk, the Leek Smudge (Acrolepia assectella Zell.) whose larvae attack leeks, onions, and shallots, retarding their growth, and the Summer Fruit Twist (Adoxophyes orana F.R.) first noticed at West Mailing, Kent in 1952. There are two broods of this moth and the larvae of the second brood damage the surface of apples. I first found this species at Walberswick in 1969 and Mr. S. Wakely kindly identified the specimens for me and said he thought this was the farthest north it had been reported. A very unusual micro was found sitting on a wall above my mercury vapour light trap on 13th August. This was the Bordered Echium Ermel (Ethmia bipunctella Fabr.) which L. T. Ford in his "Guide to the Smaller British Lepidoptera" published in 1949 thought might have been extinct. Since that date Mr. S. Wakely has found the larva on Viper's Bugloss in Kent. The last record for Suffolk was a specimen taken in a chalk-pit at Chelsworth in 1861 by Captain Russell, according to the 1937 Memoirs. Captain John Ellerton, R.N., kindly confirmed the identification of my specimen. The Silver-Y moth (Plusia gamma Linn.) was in very much smaller numbers this year than in 1969. In fact until the end of August it was quite a rare insect. Reports from other parts of the country confirmed this, but during September it was more in evidence. It is a well-known migrant and very few of the regul채r migrants have been as common as usual in 1970. However, certain of our resident moths were in good numbers and appeared over a longer period than usual. Among these species were the Small Nutmeg (Scotogramma trifolii Hufn.), the Birdswing (Dypterygia scabriuscula Linn.), the Triple-spotted Clay (Amathes ditrapezium Schiff.), the Starwort Shark (Cucullia asteris Schiff.), and the Setaceous Hebrew Character (Amathes c-nigrum Linn.). The Starwort Shark was Aying from June to September and on the night of 5th September there were no less than 190 specimens


371 of the Setaceous Hebrew Character in my moth trap. This species was also the most common at the Society's evening meeting at Mariesford Hall on the evening of 6th September. The Pale Eggar (Trichiura crataegi Linn.) put in an appearance at Stradbroke on 8th September and at Walberswick on 12th and the Dark Swordgrass (Agrotis ipsilon Hufn.) was particularly plentiful during the latter part of September, whilst the Feathered Ranunculus (Eumichtis lichenea Hübn.) appeared again at Walberswick on 27th and for several nights after. This species, which was not known in the county when the 1937 Memoirs were published, was taken at Walberswick in 1968, but Mr. C. W. Pierce informs me that he had taken a specimen at Needham Market in 1963. This is a very unusual habitat as this insect is looked upon as a maritime species. A Convolvulus Hawk moth (Herse convolvuli Linn.) came to my mercury vapour trap on 28th September and Mr. John Vincent saw one feeding at the same bed of petunias on the south side of Thetford for four nights running in early July. Mr. George Baker of Reydon was given a Death's Head Hawk moth (Acherontia atropos Linn.) in mid-September, which had been picked up dead at Oulton Broad. A very late Poplar Hawk moth (Laothoe populi Linn.) came to light on 5th October. This was probably a third brood specimen. Summarising the 1970 season in Suffolk, one can say that most resident butterflies and moths appeared in due season in reasonable numbers, but some of our butterflies including the fritillaries and the White Admiral have become very scarce or absent. The one bright exception is the recovery of the Holly Blue. Except for the three Hawk moths mentioned, immigrants have not been in such good numbers as in 1969 apart from the Silver-Y moth which was fairly plentiful in the early autumn and a few Rush Veneer moths. At the time of writing the usual autumn moths are appearing in average numbers and the first November moth (Oporinia dilutata Schiff.) was seen this morning —8th October. SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA

H. E. Chipperfield, F.R.E.S., The Shüling, Palmers Lane, Walberswick, Southwold, Suffolk.

Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1970  
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