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SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA IN 1971 H . E . CHIPPERFIELD

the days during the early months of 1971 were quite mild compared with the previous two years, the nights were mostly clear and cool and consequently little was seen of the early lepidoptera. However, I was shown a live specimen of the Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pedaria Fabr.) by Mr. Goldsmith of the Castle Museum, Norwich, on 12th February. It was not until 3rd March that my moth trap was patronised when the Oak Beauty {Biston strataria Hufn.) appeared, followed on 1 Ith by the Pale Brindled Beauty and on 12th by the Yellow-horned (Achlya flavicornis Linn.). By early April most of the usual "Quaker" family of moths had appeared and in addition to the commoner species an example of the Lead-coloured Drab (Orthosia populeti Fabr.) was attracted to my mercury vapour trap on 20th of the month. This species is more local in distribution than most of the other members of the family. In fact Claude Morley stated in the 1937 Memoirs that it had not been recorded in Suffolk since 1898, although we used to find it quite commonly in Barking Woods near Needham Market in the years immediately following the Second World War. ALTHOUGH

As expected after its recovery in 1970, the Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus Linn.) was quite common in May, the first one being reported by Mrs. Harris at Stowmarket on 5th. The Green Hairstreak butterfly (Callopkrys rubi Linn.) was first seen by Miss Bally at Walberswick also on 5th May and was subsequently fairly common. The British Entomological and Natural History Society held a field meeting at Tuddenham in West Suffolk on 16th May concentrating mostly on the microlepidoptera. The most interesting species found were the tortrix moth Smeathman's Conch (Aethes smeathmanniana Fabr.) and the case-bearing larvae of the coleophorids the Yarrow Case (Coleophora troglodytella Dup.) and the Petty-whin Case (C. genistae Stainton) on their respective foodplants. A visit to the Redgrave and Lopham Fens Reserve on 26th May produced larvae of the Scarce Silver-lines (Pseudoips bicolorana Fuessl.) on the oak trees in the lane leading to Lopham Fen, and larvae of the Grass Emerald (Pseudoterpna pruinata Hufn.) were very conspicuous on the petty-whin, although cases of the Pettywhin Case were very few and far between. This species has probably not recovered from the fire which devastated its foodplant in 1967, and fire again destroyed most of the petty-whin a few weeks after my visit.


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The attractive adelid moth Sulzer's Long-horn (Adela croesella Scop.) was Aying commonly around the elm bushes at Icklingham on 6th June together with the larger and much more common Degeer's Longhorn (Nemotois degeerella Linn.). On 7th June a specimen of the Oblique-barred Grey Conch (Phalonidia alismana Rag.) emerged from a flower-stem of the water-plantain from Thorpeness. Mr. S. Wakely found this species quite commonly at Thorpeness in 1967, although according to the 1937 Memoirs it had not been found in Suffolk since 1890, when Crutwell recorded it from ßenacre. Throughout the summer some of the noctuid moths were particularly common. These were the Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta Hübn.), the Small Nutmeg (Scotogramma trifolii, Hufn.), the Bird's-wing (Dypterygia scabriuscula Linn.), and several members of the genus Caradrina. However, it was not until late July that the more interesting species appeared. A visit to the Walberswick sandhills with Mr. Charles Pierce on 20th July produced the Coast Dart (Euxoa cursoria Hufn.), the Lyme Grass Wainscot (Arenostola elymi Treits.), the Crescent Striped (Apamea oblonga Haw.), the Rosy Wave (Scopula emutaria Hübn.), and the crambid moths the Saltmarsh Grass-veneer (Pediasia aridellus Thunb.) and the Pale-streaked Grass-veneer (Agriphila selasellus Hübn.). A search on the known habitat near Wenhaston on 22nd July failed to reveal any Silver-studded Blue butterflies (Plebejus argus Linn.). This species seems to have disappeared from many of its former Suffolk habitats, but I was pleased to hear from Mr. S. Beaufoy that it was still quite plentiful on one of the heaths near Ipswich. Visits to the sallows at Thorpeness on 13th and 23rd July failed to produce any more examples of the Osier Hörnet Clearwing (Sphecia bembeciformis Hübn.), nor were there any signs of fresh emergences, but there was evidence that woodpeckers had extracted either larvae or pupae from the sallow trunks. On the first date the Small Ochreous Pearl (Ebulea crocealis Hübn.) and the Gold-barred Argent (Argyresthia pygmaeella Hübn.) were both very common, and on 23 rd several of the tortrix the Red Cross Belle (Epinotia cruciana Linn.) were seen. Specimens of the Daldinia Knot-horn (Apomyelois neophanes Durr.) came to mercury vapour light on 30th July and on lOth August. The larva of this species feeds on the black globular fungus Daldinia concentrica growing on dead stems of gorse and birch. The fires on Walberswick Common during the last two years may have created favourable conditions for this moth to breed. The only record of this species in the 1937 Memoirs was a male at Shipmeadow in August, 1935.


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The Buff Footman (Eilema deplana Esp.) is not a common moth in SufTolk, but Dr. Michael Harper found a specimen in Dunwich Forest in 1970 and another found its way into my moth trap on 2nd August this year. DĂźring the first week in August there was quite an influx of entomologists to Walberswick Marshes where the local specialities the White-necked Wainscot (Nonagria neurica HĂźbn.), Fenn's Wainscot (Arenostola brevilinea Fenn.), and the Powdered Wainscot (Simyra venosa Borkh.) were much in evidence. On the nearby sandhills at this time were many Coast Darts (Euxoa cursoria Hufn.), Saltmarsh Grass-veneers (Pediasia aridellus Thunb.), and Silver-edged Knothorns (Epischnia boisduvaliella Guen.). T h e larvae of the latter moth feed in the pods of the Sea-pea which is increasing on the sandhills. Mr. Brian Elliott of Chesterfield found a specimen of the Least Carpet Wave (Sterrha vulpinaria H.-S.) at Walberswick on 4th August. This species is found principally along the banks of the Thames east of London, also at Portland, Dorset and Torquay, Devon. T h e only other records from Suffolk are one at Felixstowe by Mr. Henry Miller and one at Stowmarket by the Rev. H . Harpur Crewe, both about 1858. Mr. Elliott also took a specimen of the Stout Dart (Spaelotis ravida Schilf.) on 5th August. Several more examples of this unpredictable moth came to my trap later in the month. Messrs. Brian Elliott and Barry Goater also found a colony of the Double-spotted Honey Moth (Mellisoblaptes zelleri Joan.) on the Southwold sandhills. This species has to be searched for after dark on the low Vegetation, and although the female is sometimes attracted to light, the male has never been known to fly. I was very surprised to find several of the Seaside Plume (Agdistis bennetii Curt.) in my moth trap during August. This rather fragile moth, whose larva feeds on the Common Sea Lavender, had to Cover at least half a mile from its nearest breeding-ground. There was a good attendance both of members and moths at the Society's evening meeting at Culpho End on 19th August. T h e forty-two species of moths attracted to the lights included the Oak Hook-tip (Drepana binaria Hufn.), Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula Clerck.), Lesser Swallow Prominent (P. gnoma Fabr.), and Iron Prominent (Notodonta dromedarius Linn.). Unfortunately the weather conditions were again unfavourable to our host Mr. Collinson, who had erected his telescopes for members to observe the heavenly bodies, but he had prepared for this eventuality and we were entertained to an illustrated talk on the universe in general and some of the planets in more detail, which was much enjoyed.


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Throughout August and September the usual late summer moths appeared in quite large numbers, an unusual visitor, the August Thorn (Ennomos quercinaria Hufn.) appearing on 21st September. DĂźring this time the Silver-Y (Plusia gamma Linn.) was particularly common and on 4th October there were no less than 112 examples of this moth in my mercury vapour trap. Another rather unusual species for the Southwoid area the Black Arches (Lymantria monacha Linn.) was reported by Mr. George Baker at Reydon on 23rd August. Larvae of the Wormwood Shark (Cucullia absinthii Linn.) were found feeding on a clump of wormwood at Southwoid on 3Ist August. Several Feathered Ranunculus (Eumichtis lichenea HĂźbn.) were seen in late September. This species which was unknown in Suffolk in 1937 now seems to be well established in the county. All through the summer a surprising number of Burying Beetles found their way into the moth trap. They were the orange and black Necrophorus vespillo (Linn.) and the two all black species N. humator (Cz.) and Necrodes littoralis (Linn.). There were sometimes as many as ten of the former species. Migrant lepidoptera with the exception of the Silver-Y moth and a few Rush Veneer Pearls (Nomophila noctuella Schiff.), were very scarce. A few Red Admiral butterflies (Vanessa atalanta Linn.) were seen in the autumn and Painted Ladies (V. cardui Linn.) were reported by Lord Cranbrook in a field of lucerne at Great Glemham and by Messrs. Wilfred George and J. E. L. Pemberton from Aldeburgh and Martlesham Creek respectively. I have heard of no records of either the Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus Fourc.) or Pale Clouded Yellow (Colias hyale Linn.). Of our native butterflies, most species were reasonably plentiful, but all the fritillaries were either absent or very rare. A few of the Comma (Polygonia c-album Linn.) were seen, and Mr. John Digby hadthe Brimstone (Gonepteryx rham?ii Linn.) breeding on a buckthorn bush on his property at Swilland. The second brood of the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus Linn.) was quite common in August and larvae were seen on the ivy buds up to early October. There were also many Small Coppers (Lycaena phlaeas Linn.) Aying in the sunshine on lOth October. At the present time (12th October) the moth trap is well patronised by the usual autumn moths, particularly by the Beaded Chestnut (Agrochola lychnidis Schiff.) a very variable insect, of which up to fifty examples are to be seen on most nights. H. E. Chipperfield, F.R.E.S., The Shieling, Palmers Lane, Walberswick, Southwoid, Suffolk.

Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1971  
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