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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 1987 A.

WATCHMAN

If for nothing else, 1987 will be remembered in Suffolk for the storm which swept up through South-East England into East Anglia on the night of 15th/16th October. The very strong winds produced gusts of hurricane force and although of very short duration, they did a vast amount of damage including the uprooting or breaking down of millions of trees. Prior to this there had been a lot of rain and the ground was virtually waterlogged. Consequently, the tree roots had little firm anchorage and with a heavy leaf growth, they were easily toppled. It remains to be seen what direct or indirect effects these meteorological excesses have on the County's Lepidoptera. As in the previous few years, most of the early species were recorded, but none were seen in quantity. This seemed to be the case with most of the later ones as well. However, there were exceptions, the Rustic Shoulder-Knot, Apamea sordens H u f n . , being seen more often than usual. Second brood adults of four of the 'Prominent' species were very common. These were the Iron Prominent, Notodonta dromedarius Linn., the Pebble Prominent, Eligmodonta ziczac Linn., the Swallow Prominent, Pheosia tremula Clerck and the Pale Prominent, Pterostomapalpina Clerck. On the other hand, the Shuttleshaped D a r t , Agrotis puta H b . , was reported as being very scarce and the usually abundant Beaded Chestnut, Agrochola lychnidis D. & S. was represented at the light at Monks Eleigh by only one specimen. Some migrant species were recorded during the year including the Vestal, Rhodometra sacraria Linn, which came to a light in an Ipswich garden on 1st September ( A . H . ) Another specimen of this moth was disturbed in a small meadow at Monks Eleigh on 25th September. The latter was of the brownstriped form but the former was of the more attractive type with a red stripe on yellow ground colour. Two reports were received of the Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli Linn. A male came to a light in a Thrandeston garden on 25th July, (P.W.) and the other was taken at Ipswich on 8th October ( A . H . ) . In the second week of August a Bedstraw Hawk-moth, Hyles gallii Rott., was found dead under a blanket, on the lawn of a garden in Felixstowe! (B.R.) Surprisingly no reports were received of the Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum Linn, which is usually seen every year somewhere in the county. A . H . continues to find the Small Yellow Underwing, Panemeria tenebrata Scop, in fresh areas and on the 10th June, discovered it in a field at Bramford. On 14th June, during the Society's field trip to record Dragonflies, many larvae of the Ground Lackey, Malacosoma castrensis Linn., were found in their webs, along the salt marshes beside the River Deben at Old Felixstowe. Later, no fewer than nine Cuckoos were reported in the area and as they are one of the few birds that eat furry caterpillars it seems unlikely that many of the Ground Lackeys reached the adult stage.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 24


26

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 24

At Fen Alder Carr, a local nature reserve at Creeting St Mary, on 26th June, a Poplar Kitten, Furcula bifida Brahm, came to a M.V. light, much to the delight of all those present, none of whom had seen one previously. A specimen of the Slender Brindle, Apamea scolopacina Esp., a local and rather uncommon species in Suffolk, came to a M.V. light on Hollesley Common on 31st July. Two sightings were reported during 1987 of another species not often recorded in the County, namely the Barred Rivulet, Perizoma bifaciata Haw. Both specimens were attracted to M.V. lights on 18th August, one at Thrandeston (P.W.) the other at Monks Eleigh. The usual food plant for this species is Red Bartsia, where the larvae feed on the ripening seeds. On 23rd August a Figure of Eighty, Tethea ocularis Linn., in very good condition, was attracted to a light at Monks Eleigh. This is a very late date for this reportedly single brooded species. Could it possible have been one of a second brood? The Dotted Rustic, Rhyacia simulans Hufn. continues to expand its range and on 1st September one was found aestivating under the tiles of a house during roof repairs at Thrandeston (P.W.). The Hebrew Character, Orthosiagothica Linn., a single brooded species, is usually on the wing early in the year. However, on the 18th November one was discovered beneath an external light on the wall of a house at Monks Eleigh Tye. The Plumed Prominent, Ptilophora plumigera D. & S. beside it was a rather unusual companion! Lastly, a correction. In the notes for 1986, it was reported that a Saltern E a r had been attracted to a light at Dunwich. However, my correspondent has informed me that he is now unhappy with his identification of that species. This record therefore must be deleted, although the comments made concerning the genus Amphipoea are still applicable. Acknowledgements Many thanks to Messrs. A . Hubbard, B. Ranner and P. Wanstall for their observations. The moth nomenclature used in this article follows Bradley, J. D. and Fletcher D . S. (1979) A Recorders Log Book of British Butterflies and Moths. Curwen. A. Watchman Onchan, Back Lane, Monks Eleigh, Suffolk. IP7 7BA

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 24

Comments and notes on some Suffolk moths in 1987  

Watchman, A.

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