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SOME RECORDS OF LEPIDOPTERA IN SUFFOLK DÜRING

1975 b y BARON DE W O R M S

THE year 1975 will indeed be long remembered for one of the most remarkable summers of the present Century with its phenomenal temperatures, especially in August, which brought forth a spate of the lepidoptera of which Suffolk had its fair share. Unfortunately not so many collectors as usual have sent in records and the loss of Mr. William Storey early in the year has been a great blow in this field. However, Mr. Charles Pierce has reported a number of species in the neighbourhood of his home at Needham Market. He mentions that the ordinary run of butterflies has been if anything in the ascendant during the season and many species have been commoner than usual, but of the regulär migrants such as the Red Admiral and the Painted Lady, he has only seen one of each throughout the wonderful summer. Of the moths he draws attention to the comparative scarcity of the Varied Coronet (Hadena compta Schiff.) compared with its normal abundance, while its close relative the Marbled Coronet (Hadena conspersa Schiff.) was much more plentiful. In April several Mullein Moths (Cucullia verbasci Linn.) came to his light later, producing their larvae which devoured his mulleins tili this progeny was eventually consumed, when full-grown, by the local blackbirds. Some other noctuid moths are worthy of his mention. These include the White Colon (Heliophobus albicolon Hübn.) which he says turned up at his light-trap the day after the snow in the first week in June. The Bird's Wing (Dypterygia scabriuscula Linn.) was unusually scarce and apparently often almost disappears from the area where it is normally quite common. Mr. Pierce says that the Hawkmoths were in fair numbers and the regulär members of the Prominents (Notodontidae). The Tawny Shears (Hadena lepida Esp.) was present in its many forms and colours, mostly pale yellow bordering on off-white. But since he only ran his moth-trap 25 times in the year, not such prolific catches or numbers of species could be expected. The rest of this report mainly comprises my own experiences in East Suffolk which I revisited in the heat wave in early August and for the first time since 1970. I arrived at Southwold on August 4th after quite a productive three days in Norfolk staying near Edgefield with Mr. Tony Palmer. My mercury vapour light trap in his garden had already provided quite a spate of insects so that I was quite prepared for a similar harvest when Mr. George Baker kindly let me run my apparatus in his garden at Reydon as he did in 1970. As already mentioned the day


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temperatures were quite of the tropical Standard reaching the 90s in the shade for the whole week I was away, in most parts of southern England, though the Eastern Counties got off comparatively lightly in their coastal regions with the upper 80s. In spite of the great heat the butterflies were not much in evidence and possibly they were seeking shelter from it. On my first day I surveyed "the area and especially the gardens round Frostenden for the Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros Linn.) which was quite common there in the spring of the years immediately after the last war and also produced some in late July, 1946, but none were apparent on this occasion. The most numerous species seemed to be the Gatekeeper (Maniola tithonus Linn.). Again on August 5th a very sultry day, nothing was on the move by day at Thorpeness, except a few Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus Rott.). However, it was at night that the insects made their appearance in plenty. On the afternoon of the 4th I went over to Walberswick to visit Mr. David Chipperfield who had in his Company Mr. B. W. Weddell from Trowbridge in Wilts. We decided to try the marshes that night as they had apparently proved so productive the previous week. I placed my big m.v. light on the edge of the reed beds, while they took two actinic lights among the reeds themselves and it was interesting to note the difference in species recorded. But a dew soon descended and we ceased Operations about midnight after we had noted several Fenn's Wainscot (Arenostola brevilinea Fenn.), Silky Wainscot (Chilodes maritima Tausch) including the streaked form f . wismarensis, also the Powdered Wainscot (Simyra venosa Borkh.) and the Starwort Shark Cullia asteris Schiff.). All these moths were from the thick reeds, but on their boundary among 26 species noted were the Scarce Foorma (Eilema complana Linn.), the Southern Wainscot (Leucania straminea Treits.), the Fen Wainscot (Arenostola phragmitidis HĂźbn.), the Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa Linn.), the Buff Arches (Habrosyne pyritoides Hufn.), the Dusky Sallow (Eremobia ochroleuca Schiff.), the Antler (Cerapteryx graminis Linn.), the Straw Underwing (Thalpophila matura Hufn.), the Drinker (Philudoria potatoria Linn.), the Barred Straw (Lygris pyraliata Schiff.) and the Sandy Carpet (Perizoma flavofasciata Thunb.). But it was the next night of August 5th that proved quite phenomenal when all three of us visited Dunwich Forest with the same apparatus as before. The two actinic lights were placed among a thick mixture of high trees along a narrow ride, while the big mercury vapour light was in the road outside which crossed the forest. The night was still and very sultry. Operations began just before 10 p.m. with quite a flood of the Buff Footman {Eilema deplana Esp.) which was hardly known in this area ten years ago. By the time we packed up at about 12.30 a.m. we had recorded no less than 120 species of the macrolepidoptera,


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possibly the most I have ever known myself in one night. Ii was the first time I had seen both the Common Magpie (Abraxas grossulariata Linn.) and the Clouded Magpie (A. sylvata Scop.) on the sheet together. Another pair of visitors not often seen at the same time was the Oak Hook-tip (Drepana binaria H u f n . ) and the Barred Hook-tip (D. cultraria Fab.). It would cover too much space to try and enumerate all the species so that I will mention only those of very special interest, some of which have already been referred to by Mr. Chipperfield in another article. T h e Pine Hawk (Hyloicus pinastri Linn.) was a very notable visitor as were the two Elephant Hawks, the Large (Deilephila elpenor Linn.) and the Small (D. porcellus Linn.). Among the Prominents were the Swallow (Pheosia tremula Clerck.) the Iron (Notodonta dromedarius Linn.), the Pale (Pterostoma palpina Clerck.) and the Maple (Lophopteryx cucullina Schiff.). Also the two Lutestrings, the Lesser Satin (Tethea duplaris Linn.) and the Figure of Eighty (T. ocularis Linn.). There were too several Black Arches (Lymantria monacha Linn.). Possibly the most substantial visitor was a huge female Läppet (Gastropacha quercifolia Linn.). T h e beautiful Scarce Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips bicolorana Fuessl.) was another welcome arrival. Other Footmen besides the Buff, included the Rosy (Miltochrista miniata Forst.), Dingy (Eilema griseola Hübn.), and the Scarce (E. complana Linn.), with many Common Tigers (Arctia caja Linn.). Among the large family of the noctuid moths were the pretty Miller moth (Apatele leporina Linn.), the Archer's Dart (Agrotis vestigialis Hufn.), the White-line Dart (Euxoa tritici Linn.), the Triple-spotted Clay (Amathes ditrapezium Clerck.), the Least Yellow Underwing (Euschesis interjecta Hübn.), the Rosy Minor (Procus literosa Haworth), the Lunar Pinion (Cosmia pyralina Schiff.), the Rufous Wainscot (Coenobia rufa Haworth), the Olive (Zenobia subtusa Schiff.), the Spectacle (Linea tripartita Hufn.), the Beautiful Hook-tip (Laspeyria flexula Schiff.) and the Small Fanfoot (Zanclognalha nemoralis Fab.). There was also a very good attendance of the Geometrid moths among which was the Grass Emerald (Pseudoterpna pruinata Hufn.), the Small Bloodvein (Scopula imitaria Hübn.), the Large Twin-spot Carpet (Xanthorhoe quadrifasciaria Clerck.), always a scarce insect, also the Beautiful Carpet (Mesoleuca albicillata Linn.), the Pretty Chalk Carpet (Melanthia procellata Schiff.), the Sharp-angled Carpet (Euphyia unangulata Haworth), the Red Pine Carpet (Thera firmata Hübn.), the Small Rivulet (Perizoma alchemillata Linn.), the Bordered Pug (Eupithecia succneturiata Linn.), the Peacock (Semiothisa nofata Linn.), the second brood of the Purple T h o r n (Selenia tetralunaria Hufn.), the Pale Emerald (Campaea margaritata Linn.), the September T h o r n (Deuteronomos erosaria Schiff.), the Peppered (Biston betularia Linn.) in its normal form, t h e Pine Beauty (Bupalus piniaria Linn.), and finally quite


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a late incursion of many of the Satin Beauty (Deileptinia ribeata Clerck.), a most handsome moth. This was indeed a night to remember. Mention has already becn made of running my light-trap in Mr. Baker's garden at Reydon. The two nights produced some 270 individuals and 72 species of the macros, the second occasion, that of the 5th August being much the more prolific. By far the largest visitor was a huge Privet Hawk (Sphinx ligustri Linn.), with several Poplar Hawks (Laothoe populi Linn.), while the only Prominent was the Coxcomb (Lophopteryx capucina Linn.). The Lackey (Malacosoma neustria Linn.) also appeared. Among a large number of noctuid species were the Arcner's Dart (Agrotis vestigialis Hufn.), with the fine pale form of the Coast Dart (Euxoa cursoria Hufn.) as well as the Garden Dart {E. nigricans Linn.). The Fen Wainscot (Arenostola phragmitidis HĂźbn.) reappeared with the Small Nutmeg (Scotogramma trifolii Hufn.). An unusual combination was to see both species of the Spectacles the Dark (Unca triplasia Linn.) and the Light (U. tripartita Hufn.). A somewhat uncommon visitor to light was the Silver Hook (Eustrotia uncula Clerck.). Other noteworthy insects were the Golden-Y (Plusia iota Linn.), the White-spotted Pimon (Cosmia diffinis Linn.), and several of the Starwort Shark (Cuculha asteris Schiff.). The Geometers were less well represented. It was surprising to see the Broom-tip (Chesias rufata Fab.) at this late date. There were a good many of the V-moth (Itame wauaria Linn.). Also the Limespeck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata Schiff.), the Scalloped Oak (Crocallis elinguaria Linn.) and the Dark Spinach (Pelurga comitata Linn.). The Orange Swift (Hepialus sylvina Linn.) was also quite numerous. Altogether this was a remarkable three days and couple of nights which brought forth such a wealth of the lepidoptera in the County, possibly in more quantity than 1 have ever experienced in Suffolk of the night-flying species. 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.

Some Records of Lepidoptera in Suffolk during 1975  
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