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SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA,

1976

H . E . CHIPPERFIELD

IN spite of another very mild winter the spring insects were not particularly early in appearance in SufFolk. The first Early Moth (Theria rupicapraria Schiff.) was seen on 2nd February. This was followed by the Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pedaria Fabr.) on 15th March and the Oak Beauty (Biston strataria Hufn.) on 28th March and the Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria Clerck.) on 12th April. DĂźring this period the commoner members of the Orthosia Group also made their appearance. These 'Quaker' moths, so called because of their rather drab coloration, are usually to be found feasting on sallow blossom after dark. DĂźring a Bird Section excursion to the Breck District on 28th March hibernated Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni Linn.) and Peacock (Nymphalis io Linn.) butterflies were seen at Euston by members and Mrs. Coe spotted a Comma (.Polygonia c-album Linn.) which had also come out of hibernation. On 5th April a Tawny Pinion (Lithophane semibrunnea Haw.) was attracted to my moth trap in the garden. This species, whose larva feeds on ash, emerges in the autumn and then hibernates until the spring. Also seen during April was the Orange Underwing (Archiearis parthenias Linn.), a day-flying moth in Dunwich Forest. May saw the early butterflies out in some numbers. The Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines Linn.) was quite plentiful, as were also the three common White butterflies, followed by the Wall Brown (Pararge megera Linn.) on 23rd May. Its near relative the Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria Linn.) which has been reported from the Breck District during the past few years was seen by Mrs. Dorothy Wightman in the King's Forest during the year. This butterfly which is common in the southern and western counties appears to be increasing in numbers in East Anglia and is a welcome addition to our decreasing butterfly population. A Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth (Hemaris fuciformis Linn.) was seen hovering over aubretia at Walberswick on 22nd May and in the evening several Great Prominents (Notodonta trepida Esp.) and a number of Tineids were attracted to actinic light in Dunwich Forest. On 6th June also at light in Dunwich Forest a late Pine Beauty (Panolis flarnmea Schiff.) and a Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula Clerck.) were among the visitors. On 6th July a Single specimen of the Pigmy Footman (Eilema pygmaeola Doubl.) was attracted to my M.V. light at Walberswick. This species has long had colonies in the Deal district of Kent


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and on the coast north of Great Yarmouth, but as far as I am aware has not been found in Suffolk before. Mr. Jeremy Sorensen also found a specimen at Minsmere about the same time. Also in July two specimens of a tineid the White-bordered Crest (Dichomeris marginellus Fabr.) came to M.V. light. The larvae of this small moth feed on juniper which is a very uncommon plant in Suffolk, but I have a prostrate bush in my garden and no doubt many other local gardens contain examples and the larvae may have been introduced with the food plant. A large number of moths were attracted to two actinic lights in Walberswick Marshes on 15th July when Mr. B. W. Weddell and I accompanied Mr. Cliff Waller, the Warden of the Nature Reserve, to the watch tower where one light was operated at the top of the tower and the other in the marsh below. Part of the object was to find out whether the high level light was more attractive than that at ground level. More species were attracted to the higher light, but the typical marsh moths patronised the lower light. Among them the White-necked Wainscot (Nonagria neurica HĂźbn.) and Fenn's Wainscot (Arenostola brevilinea Fenn) appeared in fresh condition about a fortnight earlier than usual. On 25th July a Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth was hovering over buddleia in my garden and a few days later another was seen. This moth is normally on the wing from mid-May to midJune, but as our member Mr. Clive Naunton found larvae in early June these individuals must have been part of a second brood which is a most unusual occurrence. T h e long hot spell was favourable to the appearance of large numbers of moths which continued to patronise my M.V. trap until well into October. They were mostly the more common species but I was pleased to see the Large Thorn (Ennomos autumnaria Wemb.) on two occasions at the end of August and a single Anomalous Wainscot (Stilbia anomala Haw.) on 31st of the month. However, the great influx of immigrants proved to be the most exciting event of the year. Mr. George Baker reported a Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa Linn.) at Reydon on 25th August and subsequently others were seen at Darsham, Southwold, Minsmere and Pakefield in Suffolk and Dr. E. A. Ellis reported many from the Norfolk coast. This handsome butterfly is an inhabitant of Scandinavia and North Germany, but is seen here only as a visitor and has never been found in any of the earlier stages in the British Isles. Also in August a single specimen of the Scarce Chocolate-tip (Clostera anachoreta Schiff.) was taken at Southwold by a visitor Mr. Julian Clarke. This insect was doubtless an immigrant and although very rare it has been found in Suffolk on a few previous occasions.


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A visit was paid to the Suffolk Trust's Reserve at Lopham Fen on 2nd August to search for larvae of the Valerian Pug (Eupithecia valerianata HĂźbn.) on its food plant the Cat's Valerian. These larvae are extremely difficult to see and the only two spotted were found by a young visitor Miss Georgina Bums. Another immigrant which came over in large numbers was the Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Herse convolvuli Linn.). Our members Mr. F. N. Royle-Bantoft and Mr. Clive Naunton reported them from Boyton and Oulton Broad respectively. The Warden at Minsmere R.S.P.B. Reserve saw one there and during the period 26th August to lOth Octoberfifteencame to my M.V. light. One or two Humming-bird Hawk-moths (Macroglossum stellatarum Linn.) were also seen at Walberswick during the same period. On 7th October an example of the Scarce Bordered Straw (Heliothis armigera HĂźbn.) was attracted to my M.V. light in the garden. This is the second specimen of the moth to be found at Walberswick in 10 years. It is an immigrant and a species which would be unwelcome here on account of the ravages of its larvae among tomatoes and other crops. Among the butterflies I saw only one Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus Linn.) but Mr. S. Beaufoy reported it from Ipswich. He also saw many Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus Linn.) on the heaths around Ipswich and reported also the White-letter Hairstreak (Strymonidia w-album Knoch.). This latter species was also present in the larval stage on wych elm at Westleton, where there were also a few Silver-studded Blues. The Peacock (Nymphalis io Linn.) and Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae Linn.) were present in their usual numbers and Mr. E. C. Green saw four Commas (Polygonia c-album Linn.) at Playford. There were also numbers of the migrant Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui Linn.) particularly in coastal districts, but that other migrant the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta Linn.) surpassed them all in numbers and could be seen until early November feeding on fallen apples and pears. The appearance of such large numbers of immigrant insects was certainly of interest to a lot of people, but it would be nice to see our native woodland butterflies increase as well. H. E. Chipperfield, F.R.E.S., Walberswick, Suffolk.

Suffolk Lepidoptera, 1976  
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