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TRANSACTIONS THE STRIPED HAWK AND OTHER LEPIDOPTERA RECORDED IN SUFFOLK DĂœRING 1974 BARON DE W O R M S

As a contrast to the fine summer of 1973, that of 1974 was extremely cool and unsettled and there was a general consensus of opinion that there was a distinct dearth of both butterflies and moths throughout most of the British Isles. However, Suffolk seems to have kept to its usual Standard of very choice and even rare species during the year under review. Undoubtedly the most notable capture for the year was a Striped Hawk Moth (Celerio livornica Esp.) which graced the moth-trap of Mr. William Storey at his home near Great Bealings on the night of August 14th. So far as I am aware, it is the only record of this well-known and spectacular migrant for the whole of Great Britain during 1974. It is also a very rare visitor to the Eastern Counties, though plentiful sometimes in the south and western regions as in 1943 and 1949. Up tili 1937 the late Claude Morley only has three records for the County in 1904 and 1931, but in that famous year, 1943, at least half a dozen Striped Hawks were taken or seen but hardly any have been noted since then in Suffolk. Another most remarkable sighting was that of what would certainly appear to have been a Bath White (Pontia daplidice Linn.) which settled on a flower of mignonette in a ride in a forest at Coldharbour, Didlington. The fortunate observer was Miss Vivien Leather. That eminent naturalist, Mr. Ted Ellis, reported this record in the Eastern Daily Press and notes that not only was the date, June 20th, just right for this rare migrant butterfly but that it was a female which seems to have been trying to lay on its natural foodplant Reseda lutea. Morley reports three Bath Whites in the last Century seen in Suffolk and Ted Ellis says that the last record of it in the County was in 1912. It would seem that none visited Suffolk in that record year of 1945 which saw a huge invasion of this species mainly in Devon and Cornwall. As in 1973, Mr. Alfred Waller has revisited his family home at Waldringfield and ran a mercury-vapour light there in late June, 1974, but without such spectacular results as in the previous year. However, on the 27th he saw a worn Alder Kitten (Harpyia bicuspis Borkh.), his only record of this very local moth of which he noted over a dozen in 1973. A good night on June 29th produced among a large assortment the White Satin Moth (Stilpnotia salicis Linn.), a large female of this fairly common moth which


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 16, Part 6

is usually coastal and sometimes invades our shores from abroad. Another somewhat unusual visitor was the great Goat Moth (<Cossus cossus Linn.) which seldom comes to light. A further uncommon species was Mathew's Wainscot (Leucania favicolor Barrett) which is gradually spreading up the east coast from Essex. This insect has smooth forewings as against the veined forewings of the Common Wainscot (Leucania pallens Linn.). Other moths of interest seen on this occasion included the Sycamore (Apatele aceris Linn.), the Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis Linn.), the Starwort (Cucullia asteris Linn.) and the Pale Shining Brown (Polia nitens Haworth). The Muslin (Cycnia mendica Clerck) and the Blotched Emerald (Comibaena pustulata Hufn.) were noted on the 25th and 27th respectively, while the Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria Linn.) turned up nightly. As in past years Mr. Charles Pierce has submitted a very füll list from his home area at Needham Market where he says it was a lean year. His first Observation for 1974 was on January 20th when he saw a Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula Esp.), a late date for this semi-hibernating species. It was not tili April 12th that he noted the first Prominents, in particular the Lunar Marbled Brown (Chaonia ruficornis Hufn.), while the middle of May saw 'an unprecedented number' of the Muslin Moth (Cycnia mendica Clerck). A most interesting feature for his district to which Mr. Pierce draws very special attention is the increased melanism shown by the Peppered Moth (Biston betularia Linn.). He mentions that for the past three years almost the only form to appear is the all-black one / . doubledayaria, whereas for the previous 12 years it was the normal form which appeared regularly. He attributes this remarkable change to the increase in pollution caused by the fuel Output at the new big international docks at Felixstowe. It would seem to be an evolutionary process going on under our own eyes. He also says that this local pollution has caused a great diminution in the Marbled Beauty (Cryphia perla Schiff.) whose larva feeds on wall lichens which are getting steadily contaminated from the same source and cause. On June 14th Mr. Pierce saw the White Colon (Heliophobus albicolon Hübn.), seldom a common insect, also the Varied Coronet (Hadena compta Schiff.) now a regulär annual visitor and the Large Nutmeg (Apamea infesta Ochs.). The Marbled Coronet (Hadena conspersa Schiff.) appeared on the 16th with a good many Mullein Waves (Scopula conjugata Borkh.). Other visitors onthis prolific night were the Beautiful Golden-Y (Plusia pulchrina Haworth) and the Pale Oak Beauty (Pseudoboarmia punctinalis Scop.) infrequently seen in this locality. On June 20th among many species were the Sycamore moth (Apatele aceris Linn.), the Southern Wainscot (Leucania straminea Treits.) and the Clouded Brindle (Apamea epomidion Haworth). Insects seen


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at Needham Market during July included the Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis Linn.), the Miller (Apatele leporina Linn.), while the Mocha (Cosymbia annulata Schulze) and the Dark Marbled Carpet (Dysstrome citrata Linn.) were noted on August Ist. Among the autumn species were the Centre-barred Sallow (Atethmia xerampelina Esp.) the Large Ranunculus (Antitype flavicincta Schiff.) and the Large Thorn (Ennomos autumnaria Thunb.), all about mid-September. On the 20th of that month Mr. Pierce beat some larvae of the Maple Prominent (Lophopteryx cucullina Schiff.) in the vicinity of his home. Earlier on July 23rd he had accompanied Mr. H. Chipperfield and Mr. B. W. Weddell to Redgrave Fen where quite a number of insects were seen, but two in particular were new to that noted locality. These were the Rosy Footman (Miltochrista miniata Forst.) and the Wood Carpet (Epirrhoe rivata HĂźbn.). The former species had not been seen there since 1950. On August 3rd there was quite a large assemblage of collectors on the Walberswick Marshes at a joint evening meeting of the Suffolk and British Entomological Societies. Fortunately the weather held for the early part of the night so that all who ran mercury-vapour and other types of light had quite a harvest which has been reported elsewhere. The White-collared Wainscot (Nonagria neurica HĂźbn.) appeared in some numbers. Besides the Striped Hawk the only other record of note by Mr. W. Storey at Great Bealings was a Tawny Pinion (Lithophane semibrunnea Haworth) in early October, a rarity in those parts and always quite a prize in the autumn. Finally Mr. Smee of Manningtree reports the finding of some 200 larvae of the Ground Lackey (Malacosoma castrensis Linn.) feeding on Thrift and Sea Lavender at Shingle Street on June 3rd, 1974. Baron de Worms, M.A., Ph.D., F.L.S., F.R.E.S., M.B.O.U., Three Oaks, Shore's Road, Horsell, Woking, Surrey.

The Striped Hawk and other Lepidoptera recorded in Suffolk during 1974  
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