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NEEDHAM MARKET LEPIDOPTERA IN 1970 C . W . PLERCE

from a Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigelia pilosaria) and an Early Moth (Theria rupicapraria) on 23rd February, very little of note appeared until 13th March when an Oak Beauty (Biston strataria) was recorded. Although there were some fine warm days in the latter part of April, the evenings were cool and few moths were in evidence before early May. APART

On 6th May several male Emperor moths (Saturnia pavoniä) were found fluttering round an outside breeding cage, inside which was a female, freshly emerged from a pupa left there since June, 1968. From the third week onwards more species were Coming to the light, including the Peach Blossom (Thyatira batis), Figure of 80 (Tethea ocularis), Least Black Arches (Celama confusalis), and the usual common "Prominents". More Muslin moths (Cycnia mendica) than usual turned up. Two species, not found by me before in this area, the Pale Oak Beauty (Boarmia punctinalis) and the Early Toothed Stripe (Trichopteryx carpinata) in addition to a moth, rarely seen here, the Clay Triple Lines (Cosymbia linearia) appeared at this time. The first few days of June produced several Marbled Coronets (Hadena conspersa), Lime Hawks (Mimas tiliae), Poplar Hawks (Laothoe populi), and Elephant Hawks (Deilephila elpenor). Two of the less common Small Elephant Hawk (D. porcellus) appeared as well as a single Mocha (Cosymbia annulata). Varied Coronets (Hadena compta) turned up as usual in some numbers, but only one each of the Alder (Apatele alni) and the Shark (Cucullia umbratica). By the third week of June species were appearing in numbers far greater than in other years. Among the large number which came during this period were the Green Silver Lines (Bena fagana), Small Clouded Brindle (Apamea unanimis), Miller (Apatele leporina), Twin-spotted Wainscot (Nonagria geminipuncta), Netted Pug (Eupithecia venosata), Tawny-barred Angle (Semiothisa liturata), Treble Lines (Meristis trigrammica), Pale Shining Brown (Polia nitens), and several Double Darts (Graphiphora augur). By this time the Nutmeg (Discestra trifolii), first noted on 22nd May, was building up its numbers to such an extent that by the end of July about 200 could be seen on any night in the trap. This peak was to continue throughout August and not to wane appreciably until mid-September. A few were observed early in


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October. Indeed, here at least, 1970 could be called "Nutmeg Year". As would be expected in these circumstances, there was much Variation both in size and colour. T h e smallest had a wing span of 22 mm., whilst the largest measured 38 mm. Colour varied from light brown through dark brown to grey and almost extreme black. This contrasted greatly with what was happening to some other species normally common. Not one Silver Y (Plusia gamma) was seen until late in August and from then until the middle of October only about a dozen were noted. No Oak Eggars (Lasiocampa quercus) and only one Brown Rustic (Rusina ferruginea), both of which are normally found in reasonable numbers, appeared. Early June produced moderately good numbers of White Satins (Leucoma salicis), Maple Prominents (Lophopteryx cucullina), Leopard moths (Zeuzera pyrina), Orange moths (Angerona primaria), Brown-tails (Euproctis chrysorrhoeä), and Small Rivulets (Perizoma alchemillata). T h e first Dingy Shears (Apamea ypsilori) and White-line Dart (Euxoa tritici) turned up on 7th July. I was surprised to find at my light on lOth of the month, and again on the following evening, a Round-winged Muslin (Thumatha senex), but Mr. H. E. Chipperfield informs me that he had taken it a few years ago in Stowmarket. Perhaps more surprising was the appearance, early in August, of two other species associated with conditions wetter than those existing in this part of Needham Market, namely the Fen Wainscot (Nonagria phragmitidis) and the Small Wainscot (A. pygmina). T h e river is at least half-amile from my home and although other water-side species such as the Butterbur (Gortyna petasitis) have been taken here (indeed one was noted late in August this year), these other species are not such strong fliers. It is possible that their appearance so far from what may be their nearest habitat was caused by the cleaning out of the River Gipping early this summer. The Dusky Sallow (Eremobia ochroleuca) was first seen on 16th July and was common until the end of September. On the other hand, the Sallow Kitten (Harpyia furcula) did not show up in May as usual, and made its only appearance, presumably its second brood, at the end of the month. A worn Dark Umber (Philereme transversata), seen only once before here, was taken on 28th July, and on the same day I was able to record my first Scarce Footman (Lithosia complana) in the area. About ten Bulrush Wainscots (Nonagria typhae) came to light early in August. This species, first recorded here in 1967, is getting more common, almost certainly due to the spread of the Reed Mace ( T y p h a latifolia) in a nearby chalk pit. Another species associated with damp conditions, the Oblique Carpet (Orthonama lignata) was taken on 27th August. Earlier, on 15th of the month,


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 4

a Marbled Beauty (Cryphia perla) carae to the trap, the second recording since 1963. What has happened to this once common moth? Its food plant, Liehen (Lecidia confluens) still grows on many of the walls locally, but perhaps the exhaust fumes from the heavy traffic, built up over the past few years, have made the plants toxic. One small Phoenix (Ecliptopera silaceata), never common here, was attracted to the light at about the same time as well as the first of the Stout Darts (Spaelotis ravida), which were to occur during the latter part of August. The Center-barred Sallow (Atethmia xerampelina), taken here in most years as single specimens, came in small numbers towards the end of the month. Conditions favourable to moth collecting continued right through September. The Dark Swordgrass (Agrotis ipsilcm) was very common, but its companion, the Pearly Underwing (Peridroma saucia) was comparatively rare. The Pale Oak Eggar (Trichiura crataegi) and the Large Thorn (Ennomos autumnaria) were also present in fair numbers. The Bordered Beauty (Epione repandaria) made one of its rare appearances, this being only the third since 1963. More pleasing was the capture, on 6th September, of a Lunar Yellow Underwing (Euschesis orbona), a species considered to be confined to Breckland as far as Suffolk is concerned. It may, however, occur thinly in other parts of the county, as it was recorded from Redgrave Fen in 1967. A Convolvulus Hawk (Herse convolvuli) was brought to me by a local resident who found it in her garden, damaged apparently by a cat. This is the only record of a notable migrant in a season, which, although conspicuous for the large numbers of resident species, has been singularly poor in migrating moths. By mid-September the usual autumn species, such as the Brownspot Pinion (Artchoscelis litura), Barred Sallow (Tiliacea aurago), Beaded Chestnut (Agrochola lychnidis), Dusky Lemon Sallow (Cirrhia gilvago), Red-line Quaker (Agrochola Iota), and Yellowline Quaker (A. macilenta) were turning up in numbers greater than in previous years. One freshly emerged Orange Swift (Hepialus sylvina) was found in my trap on the 19th, about a month after its normal period. T h e greatest difficulty in writing this report has been to decide which species to include and which to omit. Far more moths, both in species and in total numbers, have been in evidence than in any of the past six seasons. Lastly, I must refer to what I now believe to be the first record in Suffolk of the Feathered Ranunculus (Eumichtis lichenea) on 29th September, 1963. As Morley does not mention the species and as South states that it is a maritime species occurring mainly along the South Coast, I considered it at the time to be an extreme form of that variable moth, the Brindled Green (Dryobotodes eremita),


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which flies commonly here in most years in the autumn. However, in October, 1969, Mr. H. E. Chipperfield and I went to Swanage, where we took a few of the former moth and I was able to establish the real identity of the moth taken in 1963. Fortunately, being so different from the normal form of the Brindled Green, it was labelled correctly regarding the date of capture and put in a cabinet. C. W. Pierce, 14 Chalkeith Road, Needham Market,

Suffolk.

Needharn Market Lepidoptera in 1970  
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