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SUFFOLK LEPIDOPTERA IN 1979 H . E . CHIPPERFIELD

With the death of Baron Charles de Worms in October the Society has lost one of its oldest members. He died a few days before the annual exhibition of the British Entomological and Natural History Society, of which he was a prominent member and past president. He was also, until 1977, entomological recorder of this society and one of the best-known lepidopterists in the British Isles. Düring the second world war he was engaged on secret scientific work on behalf of the government. Very cold weather prevailed until the end öf February and the first of the spring moths to appear at Walberswick was an Apocheima pilosaria D. & S. pale brindled beauty on 2nd March and a melanic form of the same moth on 12th together with a hibernated Acleris cristana D. & S. the white-tufted button. This latter species, a tortrix, is local and was reckoned to be near the north-east limit of its ränge by Claude Morley when he recorded it as 'not noted from near Ipswich since about 1890 (Miller)' in 1937. The season continued to be a late one with the three common white butterflies putting in an appearance between 1 Ith April and mid-May, and Anthocharis cardamines Linn, the orange-tip on 16th May at Walberswick, although it was seen earlier inland. On 14th May I saw my first Celastrina argiolus Linn, holly blue. This butterfly has made a spectacular come-back after several lean years, and was quite common in its second brood in August. All the usual hawk moths and prominents were seen during May and June and at a meeting of the British Entomological and Natural History Society which I led in the Southwold and Walberswick area on 30th June a total of 88 species of moths was recorded. The party split into three sections, some members operating on the Southwold sandhills, others on Dunwich beach adjoining the marshes and the rest on the edge of Dunwich forest. The more interesting species were Sideridis albicolon Hübn. white colon, Mythimna litoralis Curt. shore wainscot and Photedes elymi Treit. lyme grass wainscot at Southwold, Spilosoma urticae Esp. water ermine, Lacanobia suasa D. & S. dog's tooth, Mythimna pudorina D. & S. striped wainscot and Chilodes maritima Tausch, silky wainscot at Dunwich beach and Hyloicus pinastri Linn, pine hawkmoth, Ptilodontella cucullina D. & S. maple prominent, Diacrisia sannio Linn, clouded buff and Perconia strigillaria Hübn. grass wave at Dunwich forest. Eupithecia pygmaeata Hübn. the marsh pug was Aying in very gusty weather at the Redgrave/Lopham Fen Reserve of the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation on 13th June and Cybosia mesomella Linn, four-dotted footman was seen on Westleton Heath on lOth July, when several fresh male Plebejus argus Linn, silver-studded blue butterflies were also on the wing. Two small larvae of Hemaris fuciformis Linn, the broad-bordered bee hawkmoth were found on the low-growing honeysuckle and a reddish-brown adder was disturbed among the heather. Throughout July and August the usual summer species of night-flying Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc.

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m o t h s were attracted to my M . V . light at Walberswick in rather smaller n u m b e r s than normal. The more interesting insects were Chesias rufata Fabr. the broom-tip on 29th June and Acronicta leporina Linn, the milier on Ist August. Düring an evening visit to Dunwich beach with Mr. R. Bell, a visiting lepidopterist on 29th July a number of moths came to our lights including two surprising species Acronicta aceris Linn, the sycamore and the rare green f o r m of Hylaea fasciaria Linn, the barred red, both far from their normal habitat. O n Ist August Archanara neurica Hübn. white-mantled wainscot and Photedes brevilinea Fenn, were Aying in Walberswick marshes in fair numbers. A t the Society's meeting in Felsham Woods on 18th August, led by Mr. H o w a r d Mendel, the commonest moth in evidence was the tortrix Acleris emargana Fabr. the notch-wing button. It flew out of almost every bush which was tapped. Also seen on that occasion were Ypsolopha sylvella Linn, the w o o d a u t u m n smudge and Chelaria conscriptella Hübn. the lobster claw. M a n y insects continued to be below average in numbers but there were one or two exceptions. Xestia agathina Dup. the heath rustic was quite common at Walberswick in September and on the 9th there were 15 attracted to my M. V. light. O n l l t h I found a Single example of Adoxophys orana F.v.R. the s u m m e r fruit tortrix. This insect was first found in the British Isles in 1950, a n d I first recorded it in Suffolk in 1970, but, until the present example, I had not seen it since. It is a pest in apple orchards, the larva attaching a leaf to the fruit and feeding on the surface of the apple under cover of the leaf, in the same m a n n e r as the larva of another tortrix moth, the common Archips podana Scop. the great brown twist. O n 29th September Mr. Gardner of Reydon found fully grown larvae of Macrothylacia rubi Linn, fox moth swarming on part of the golf course at Southwold. They were also very common on the sandhills at Minsmere on 14th O c t o b e r where the Bird Section of the Society had a meeting. Ennomos autumnaria W e m . the large thorn came to the M.V. light in my garden o n 2nd October and during the month several migrant moths also a p p e a r e d . These were Orthonama obstipata Fabr. the gern, two females on 4th and lOth, IJdea ferrugalis H ü b n . the rusty dot on 9th and 13th, Ostrinia nubilalis H ü b n . the European corn-borer on l l t h and Nomophila noctuella D . & S. rush veneer on several occasions. A resident species which was very c o m m o n in October was Rhizedra lutosa Hübn. the large wainscot of which 28 examples were in my moth trap on the 20th of the month. Mr. R . Eley of Nowton, near Bury St. Edmunds, sent in a report of his observations during the year. These included visits to the King's Forest (part of T h e t f o r d Forest) and Lakenheath. Among the butterflies he found Lycaena phlaeas Linn, small copper, Pararge aegeria Linn, speckled wood and Aglais urticae Linn, small tortoiseshell very common. Moths were small in n u m b e r until lOth June when 53 species were seen in King's Forest including Stauropus fagi Linn, lobster moth, and two Breckland specialities Lithostege griseata D. & S. grey carpet and Scopula rubiginata H u f n . tawny wave. O n 28th July Mr. Eley led a British Entomological Society field meeting in the King's Forest when 130 species were recorded, the more Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 18 part 2.


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interesting being Perizoma bifasciata Haw. barred rivulet, Cyclophora porata Linn, false mocha and several dozen Hyloicus pinastri Linn, pine hawkmoth including three of the melanic form. Mr. Eley saw little of interest during August but in September and October a number of species included Noctua orbona H u f n . lunar yellow underwing (an insect which is probably often overlooked because of its similarity to N. comes), Aporophyla lutulentaD. & S. deep-brown dart, Xanthia aurago D. & S. barred sallow and Chloroclysta siterata H u f n . red-green carpet. These are all very local moths in Suffolk. In his garden at Nowton Mr. Eley had quite a number of Spaelotis ravida D . & S. stout dart and four examples of Rhyacia simulans Hufn. dotted rustic. S. ravida is rather erratic in its appearances although at times quite common. I had one in my trap on lOth September. R. simulans was not known in Suffolk in 1937 when Claude Morley wrote of it 'is confined to western England'. Several specimens were taken on the Essex coast at Bradwell during July and August, so there may have been an Immigration from the continent. Mr. E . A . Pryke of Ipswich sent in an account of his collecting activities which related mainly to the months from March to July. He reported the usual spring species, but included a hibernated Eupsilia transversa Hufn. the satellite in March. In May at Cliff Quay he saw a large number of moths at light including a male Cerura vinula Linn, puss moth and a male and female Saturnia pavonia Linn, emperor moth. It is most unusual to find the latter species at light as the males are normally day-fliers. At Bucklesham Heath in June he saw many species including Clostera curtula Linn, chocolate-tip, Dypterygia scabriuscula Linn, bird's wing and an interesting melanic form of Tethea ocularis Linn, figure of eighty. Tunstall Forest in July produced Hyloicus pinastri Linn, pine hawkmoth and an abundance of Alcis repandata Linn, mottled beauty as well as Catocala nupta Linn, red underwing. Mr. Charles Pierce of N e e d h a m Market did very little recording, but was able to report a specimen of Ptilophoraplumigera D. & S. plumed prominent in his garden in November. This insect was discovered new to Suffolk in 1938 by the late E . W. Platten of Needham Market. Mr. David S m e e o f B r a n t h a m a n d M r . Peter CollinsofShotley both started trapping moths in 1979 and their records from these areas are very welcome. Mr. Smee had a total of 115 species including two not often found in Suffolk. These are Abrostola trigemina W e m b , dark spectacle and Selenia lunularia H ü b n . lunar thorn. Mr. Collins had 177 species on his list including Malacosoma castrensis Linn, ground lackey and Mythimna favicolor Barr. M a t h e w ' s wainscot, Böttrdenizens of coastal salt marshes and sandhills, the latter species discovered by Paymaster-in-chief of the Royal Navy, Gervase F. Mathew at Dovercourt, Essex in 1895. Other interesting species were Acronicta alni Linn, alder moth, Eulithisprunata Linn, the large phoenix and Selenia lunularia H ü b n . lunar thorn. The general opinion among lepidopterists is that 1979 with its very cold Start and poor summer was a rather below average season. Some of the brown butterflies, particularly Lasiommata megera Linn, wall brown, were almost non-existent along the coastal strip, although they were more common inland. They were most likely seriously affected in the larval State by the 1976 drought. O n the other hand Celastrina argiolus Linn, holly blue made a good Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 18 part 2.


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recovery everywhere in the county, and Plebejus argus Linn, silver-studded blue also had a good season as, in addition to its habitats around Ipswich, it was also seen in one of it's old haunts on East Hill, Walberswick by Mr. Cliff Waller, the Warden of Walberswick National Nature Reserve. Very few migrant lepidoptera were noticed but Mr. Brian Brown of Lowestoft reported an Agnus convolvuli Linn. convolvulus hawkmoth photographed by a friend at Beccles on 14th October, Mr. R. Eley heard of two at Bury St. E d m u n d s and Long Melford respectively on 20th August and another seen by his wife at rest on their garden path at Nowton on l l t h October. The only other migrant of note seen by him was a Peridroma saucia HĂźbn. pearly underwing. H. E. Chipperfield, F.R.E.S., Walberswick, Suffolk.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc.

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Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1979  
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