SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA IN 1977 H.
A s so often happens in Suffolk the spring insects were rather late in making their appearance. A male Brimstone butterfly Gonepteryx rhamni Linn, was seen after Hibernation on 12th March and a Peacock Inachis io Linn, on 15th of the month. T h e O a k Beauty moth Biston strataria H u f n . and Yellowh o r n e d moth Achlya flavicornis Tutt came to M. V. light on 3rd March, and the c o m m o n e r ' Q u a k e r ' moths put in an a p p e a r a n c e from 4th March onwards into April, with an example of the Northern D r a b Orthosia opima Hiibn. on 5th May. O n 6th April a specimen of the Dotted Border moth Agriopis marginaria Fab. of the dark form known as fuscata came to my M. V. light in Walberswick. This form is not often f o u n d in the southern part of the British Isles. Beating birch bushes in Blythburgh Fen Wood on 12th April produced several of the micro moth the Gold-sprinkled Purple Eriocrania semipurpurella Steph., and a similar operation in Belstead Woods on 14th April resulted in many H a w o r t h ' s Purple Eriocrania haworthi Bradley falling onto the beating tray. They seemed to be quite as common as they were when Claude Morley wrote in the 1937 Memoirs 'it seemed to be sitting on every bush in Bentley Woods'. A n o t h e r member of this group, the Pale-underwinged Purple Eriocrania subpurpurella H a w o r t h , was found by Mr. C. Waller at Sotterley Park on 3rd May. Unlike the other two species of Eriocrania the larva of this one feeds on oak. DĂźring J u n e and July the c o m m o n e r Hawk moths and P r o m i n e n t s appeared at M.V. light in quite good numbers although the Large Elephant Hawk Deilephila elpenor Linn, was not quite as common as usual. On 5th July a specimen of the O b s c u r e Wainscot Mythimna obsoleta Hiibn. came to my light trap in Walberswick. This species which is more often found in the marshes of the Thames Valley seems to be extending its rĂ¤nge as Mr. C. W. Pierce saw five examples at N e e d h a m Market in 1976, but I had previously only heard of one specimen from Suffolk taken by Mr. A. E. Aston at S t o w m a r k e t since single examples were reported from Lowestoft in 1903, and Hemley by the late Canon A P Waller in 1908.
Vol. 17, Part 4
O n 1 Ith July I led a party of members of the Middleton Naturalists' Society on a moth hunt to Dunwich Forest, where with M r . B. W. Weddell two actinic lights were run and in addition to the local police we attracted a large number of m a c r o l e p i d o p t e r a including several Pine Hawk moths Hyloicus pinastri Linn., and a number of micro moths including the pine-feeding tortrix the Scots-fir Bell Epinotia rubiginosa H.-S. and the tineid the Cream-shouldered Groundling Telphusa luculella H Ăź b n . A further visit was made to Dunwich Forest on 23rd July with some of our members. On this occasion Mr. and Mrs. A r t h u r W a t c h m a n ran their mercury vapour light, Mr. Wilfred G e o r g e had a Tilley lamp and I had an actinic light and a Tilley. A m o n g a large number of species attracted Mr. W a t c h m a n had two of the rare green form of the Barred Red m o t h Hvlaea fasciaria Linn., whilst among the micros were two specimens of the tortrix the Larch Twist Ptycholomoides aeriferana H.-S. T h e green form of H. fasciaria known as prasinaria is not uncommon in G e r m a n y and other continental countries. I saw another example in Dunwich Forest in early A u g u s t . P. aeriferana was first recorded in the British Isles by G . Scott in Kent in 1952 since when it has spread to some of the H o m e Counties and East Anglia. I first found it at S t o w m a r k e t in 1958 and at Herringswell in West Suffolk in 1970. , . , O u r m e m b e r Mr. Clive Naunton found an unusual variety ot the Silverstudded Blue butterfiy Plebejus argus Linn, known as ab. striata on Westleton Heath on 24th July. It was a female and in addition to the markings on the underside of the wings the hind-wings were a most peculiar shape. The specimen was exhibited at the annual exhibition of the British Entomological Society where it caused quite a sensation. A n example of the Dotted Footman Pelosia muscerda Hufn. was attracted to an M.V. light trap run by Mr. C. Waller at Sotterley on 13th August. This little moth is almost confined to the Norfolk Broads, but Claude Morley mentions its occurrence at Fritton Lake and Barnby Broad in Suffolk, which localities are not far from Sotterley. O n 30th August a Buff Footman moth Eilema deplana Esp. was seen in Dunwich Forest. This is a late date for it, as it normally occurs in July and early August. However, another e x a m p l e was seen at an evening meeting with the Woodbridge Naturalists" Society on lOth September at Staverton Thicks at which Mr. and Mrs. Watchman ran their M.V. light to
SUFFOLK LEIPDOPTERA IN 1 9 7 7
Supplement my actinic light. Altogether a total of 23 different moths was seen on that occasion, which included a melanic Black Arches Lymantria monacha Linn. Most of the usual autumn moths appeared in their normal numbers. The Coast Dart Euxoa cursoria Hufn. started Coming to my M.V. trap at Walberswick on 5th August and continued fairly regularly until well into September, and the Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa Hufn. was particularly plentiful commencing on 8th September and reaching a maximum of 46 individuals on the night of 21st October and continuing in smaller numbers until 8th November. Migrants, unlike 1976 were virtually absent, except for a Single male of the geometer the Gern Orthonama obstipata Fab. which came to my garden trap on 21st October. Mr. E. Milne-Redhead sent in a list of 76 species of moths recorded at Cornard Mere on 16th July. The most interesting species were the Blackneck Lygephila pastinum Treits., Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula D. & S. and the Barred Rivulet Perizoma bifaciata Haw. The last species is not often found in the perfect stage. It is more often taken as a larva which feeds on Red Bartsia seeds. Mr. Milne-Redhead also reported a Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis Linn, at Nayland in O c t o b e r and another just over the Essex border at Great Horkesley. This species whose larva feeds on hop has become much less common than formerly, an Observation confirmed by Baron de Worms and others. He also saw a Silver Hook Eustrotia uncula Clerck. at a locality in West Suffolk. This insect although local is often quite common where it occurs. There was a strong colony in a small marshy area in Walberswick until the sea broke through the river wall in January 1976 since when none has been seen. In early November larvae of the Yellow Short-barred Conch Lozopera dilucidana Steph. were found in stems of Wild Parsnip in the Breck District. From several sources I heard that the Speckled Wood butterfly Pararge aegeria But. seems to be continuing to increase in the Breck District. This is very welcome news when so many of our native butterflies and moths are becoming so scarce. Several of the specialities of the Walberswick Marshes were very uncommon in 1977, no doubt due to the cutting and burning of large tracts of the reed beds three years running. One of the affected species the White-necked Wainscot Archanara neurica HĂźbn. was exterminated in its only other known habitat, in Sussex, through the same treatment.
Vol. 17, Part 4
Mr. Charles Pierce writes that he did little recording in 1977 until well into July because of the unusually large number of unsuitable nights. His first notable capture was a dark melanic form of the A l d e r moth Acronicta alni Linn., unfortunately a r a t h e r worn specimen. O n 16th July, one of a few good nights, he was able to record just over 80 species, including that northern species the G o l d Spangle Autographa bractea D . & S. I took one in Suffolk in 1966, the first record for the county and Mr. Pierce's c a p t u r e is possibly only the second. H e says that much C a l e d o n i a n peat is used by gardeners nowadays and it is possible that a pupa may have arrived by that means. Other species noted on that day included the Small Dotted Buff Photedes minima H a w . , Fen Wainscot Arenostola phragmitidis H u b n . , Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea Treits. and the Round-winged Muslin Thumatha senex Hübn. H e remarks on the comparative rarity and even absence of some of the usually common species in the Needham Market district such as the Pale Tussock Dasychira pudibunda Linn., Shark Cucullia umbratica Linn., Straw Dot Rivula sericealis Scop., Mallow Larentia clavaria Haw., Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica H u f n . and Ingrailed Clay Diarsia mendica Fab. O n the other hand, some species normally absent or rare t u r n e d up. These included the While Colon Sideridis albicolon H ü b n . , Broom Tip Chesias rufata Fab. and the Scarce Tissue Rheumaptera cervinalis Scop. Two other species, which had b e c o m e less c o m m o n in the past two seasons, came again in fair n u m b e r s , namely the Large Ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta D. & S. and the Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina Linn. Lastly, he saw liying past one of the buddleias in his garden on 3rd August a Large Tortoiseshell butterfly Nymphalis polychloros Linn. Mr. Pierce assures me that, having known this insect so well when it was common in Barking and Belstead W o o d s as well as places in Surrey, he has no doubt that he has identified it correctly. A n o t h e r of our m e m b e r s Mr. E. A. Pryke wrote of his collecting experiences in 1977. He said that he had many blank excursions a r o u n d Foxhall and Warren Heaths in the early part of the year but found the Yellow-horned Achlya flavicornis Tutt. and some of the "Quaker' group in abundance on suitable nights. On 7th May he had a solitary Lunar M a r b l e d Brown Drymonia ruficornis H u f n . at his light. D ü r i n g J u n e with the weather becoming warmer he found that many of the c o m m o n e r moths including the Shuttle-shaped
S U F F O L K L.EIPDOPTERA IN
Dart Agrotis puta Hübn. and Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica Hufn. were abundant. An evening excursion to Tunstall Forest produced the Peppered moth Biston betularia Linn. ab. carbonaria and Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma Fab. Düring this period there was a 'plague' of the Brown Tail moth Euproctis chrysorrhoea Linn, in Ipswich and Council workmen had to destroy large quantities of foliage infested by larvae. The loosely attached hairs of these larvae cause intense irritation and swelling if touched. An evening stroll on Foxhall Heath in early July led to the capture of a Scallop Shell Rheumaptera undulata Linn. This sallow-feeder is widespread in damp situations but seldom common. A week's holiday in August spent at Burgh Castle on the River Waveney produced a large number of moths at the M.V. light trap. These were mostly common species but among them was Haworth's Minor Celaena haworthii Curt. which Mr. Pryke says was active all the week. There are not many places in Suffolk where this insect occurs. The larva feeds on cotton-grass. Mr C. W. Pierce found that it lived in the Redgrave/Lopham Fen Nature Reserve and Mr. Pryke's discovery at Burgh Castle may prove to be a new locality for the species. Mr. A r t h u r Watchman sent in his observations and records for the year. He found many of the butterflies much scarcer than in 1976 and saw no Hairstreaks or Holly Blues, but saw a few of each of the Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Linn., Painted Lady Cynthia cardui Linn, and Comma Polygonia c-album Linn. Mr. Watchman has now moved to Monks Eleigh, but during his sojourn in Ipswich he recorded nearly 360 species of lepidoptera in his Wye Road garden. Certain species were abundant and he recorded 80 Shuttle-shaped Darts Agrotis puta Hübn. and 117 Heart and Dart moths Agrotis exclamationis Linn, on single nights, whilst on 7th September he had 135 Large Yellow Underwings Noctua pronuba Linn, in his trap. Mr. Watchman made a number of excursions including Newbourne on 13th May when the most interesting insect was a Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis H u f n . , Groton Wood on 24th June when he saw the Brindled White-Spot Ectropis extersaria Hübn. and the tortrix the Rough-winged Conch Phtheochroa rugosana Hübn. 76 species were recorded at Newbourne on 6th July including the Miller Acronicta leporina Linn., Blotched Emerald Comibaena bajularia D.&.S. and Large Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe quadrifasiata Clerck. and on 8th July on a warm but very
Vol. 17, Part 4
windy night he saw a migrant Bedstraw Hawk moth Hyles gallii Rott, at Landguard Common, Felixstowe. At the Dunwich Forest meeting on 23rd July Mr. Watchman recorded a total of 72 species including, in addition to the species already mentioned, 2 Scarce Silver-lines Bena prasinana Linn., the Orange moth Angerona prunaria Linn, and several Clouded Magpies Abraxas sylvata Scop. O n 29th July with several friends Mr. and Mrs. Watchman ran their lights in the garden of our Hon. Secretary Mrs. E. C. G r e e n and her husband. A total of 68 macrolepidoptera and 21 micros was recorded, the most interesting being the Lunar-spotted Pinion Cosmia pyralina D. & S., Golden Plusia Polychrysia moneta Fab., Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria Linn, and Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyriaflexula D. & S. Mr. Watchman also reported the tortrix the Carnation Twist Cacoecimorpha pronubana HĂźbn. as being fairly c o m m o n in Ipswich. This insect was first discovered in Britain in 1905 and had not been recorded in Suffolk when the Memoirs were published in 1937. On moving to Monks Eleigh he promptly attracted a Plumed Prominent Ptilophora plumigera D. & S. to his trap. The first records for this moth in Suffolk were in 1938 at Barking Woods near Needham Market. Mr. F. B. S. Antram ran an actinic light trap at Wissett on 47 occasions during the year and listed a total of 140 species of moths. H e remarks that although there are no pines or heather in the immediate locality, which is mainly an arable farming area, he noted the Bordered White Bupaluspiniaria Linn, and the Ochreous Pug Eupithecia indigata HĂźbn. both of which are pine feeders in the larval stage and the Neglected Rustic Xestia castanea Esp. whose larva feeds on heather. The Bordered White is very common in pine woods, but the other two are quite rare in Suffolk. He also recorded the Barred Rivulet, Perizoma bifasciata, Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata D. & S. and Centre-barred Sallow Atethmia centrago Haw. The last species is attached to ash. T o sum up, 1977 was a very disappointing season after the extraordinary one in 1976. The formerly reasonably common Fritillary species and the White Admiral Ladoga Camilla Linn, have not been seen in the Ipswich area by Mr. S. Beaufoy for a n u m b e r of years, but he did see plenty of the Silver-studded Blue on Martlesham Heath and some Holly Blues Celastrina argiolus Ver. and plenty of the Hedge Brown Pyronia tithonus Ver. in Ipswich. Mr. A. J. R. Paine who sent in a list of butter-
SUFFOLK LEIPDOPTERA IN 1977
flies seen reported also 3 Holly Blues of the second brood and an estimated 650 Hedge Browns around two bramble bushes at Landguard on 14th August. H. E. Chipperfteld F.R.E.S. Walberswick, Southwold.