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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 34

NOBLE GRASS-VENEER MOTH, CATOPTRIA VERELLUS ZINCK. (LEPIDOPTERA: PYRALIDAE) ERRONEOUSLY REPORTED FROM SUFFOLK A. ASTON Every time I notice a specimen of Catoptria falsella, which is not a rare moth, I examine it closely to see whether it might turn out to be the smaller, dingier, exceedingly rare species C. verellus. The properly authenticated history of verellus in the United Kingdom may be restricted to eight or nine nineteenth Century specimens: two near Folkestone, Kent (1865 & 1872); four or five near Cambridge (1877 & 1878); one at Bognor, Sussex (1890) and an unlocalised, but possibly acceptable, specimen standing in the collection of a Mr. S. Stevens (1873 or earlier). The Cambridgeshire specimens were taken by Mr. Arthur Foster Griffith, who wrote from Cambridge in December 1880 reporting to The Entomologist magazine the capture of one specimen in August 1877 and of three more in July 1878. At that time Griffith was an undergraduate at Cambridge and the assumption amongst entomologists was that he had caught the moths at Cambridge: indeed, his report was headed CRAMBUS VERELLUS AT CAMBRIDGE. Many years later, in 1932, Griffith wrote again to The Entomologist, setting the matter straight: his specimens had been taken at Haslingfield, near Cambridge, and he claimed to have taken five in all. Haslingfield lies to the south-west of Cambridge, well into Cambridgeshire and is certainly not in Suffolk (see Goater, 1986). Matters did not rest there, however: after Griffith's death in 1933, Sir John Fryer, writing in The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire (1938), claimed that the Haslingfield specimens had actually been taken by Griffith near Linton. Linton is quite a distance from Haslingfield and is situated to the south-east of Cambridge. Sir John's alteration of the captor's stated locality was apparently based on inside knowledge about the cottage in which the young Griffith had pursued his long-vacation studies during August 1877 and July 1878. Details of Sir John's inside information were outlined by Mr. H. C. Huggins in an article in The Entomologist's Record in 1954. The article reports a conversation that took place while Fryer and Huggins were motoring: Huggins came away with the impression that Griffith's holiday cottage had been in Suffolk. It should, however, be stressed that if that were the case Sir John would not have included verellus in the Cambridgeshire Victoria County History. It is, of course, stränge that the captor, Griffith, should give the wrong locality for his specimens but, whether the correct site is Haslingfield or Linton, the consensus view is in favour of Cambridgeshire. The Moths & Butterflies ofGreat Britain & Ireland leaves a Suffolk possibility open but that is based only on the Huggins' account. Claude Morley's Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk attributes verellus to Cambridgeshire.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 34 (1998)



References Emmet, A. M. (1991). The moths and butterflies ofGreat Britain and Ireland. Vol. 7 ( 2 ) : 166.Colchester: Harley Books. FryerJ.C.F. (1938). Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire, 1: 154. Goater, B. (1986). British Pyralid Moths. Colchester: Harley Books. Griffith, A. F. (1881). Crambus verellus at Cambridge. The Entomologist, 14: 20. Griffith, A. F. (1932). Misidentification of Microlepidoptera. The Entomologist, 65: 164. Huggins, H. C. (1954). Notes on Microlepidoptera. The Entomologist's Record, 66: 54. Knaggs, H. G. (1873). Notes on new and rare British Lepidoptera in 1872. The Entomologist's Annual, 1873: 42. Morley, C. (1937). Final catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Ipswich: Suffolk Naturalists' Society, p. 126. Ramsay, C. H. (1872). Crambus verellus. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, 9: 161. Vaughan, H. (1872). Crambus verellus. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, 9: 88.

Alasdair Aston Wake's Cottage, Seiborne, Hampshire GU34 3JH Tachystola acroxantha (Meyr.) (Lepidoptera. Oecophoridae) reaches Suffolk. Several of this species were captured in a Heath trap in my back garden in the centre of Felixstowe starting in May 1997, and were still being found in September. A single specimen was then identified by Arthur Watchman, the county recorder for Suffolk, and later the identification was confirmed by A. M. Emmet. It is an Australian species that was previously recorded in the West Country in 1908. It spread slowly along the south coast until it could be found from Cornwall to Hampshire and Somerset. Then, in 1995, it appeared near Merseyside in Cheshire where it is extending its ränge (Emmet, pers. comm.). Now, in Felixstowe, this new colony could have two possible origins. Firstly it could have derived from one of the other British colonies, presumably carried around the coast by sea, or it could be a new influx into the busy port of Felixstowe direct from Australia. Felixstowe receives very little cargo from other ports in England so the most likely route is direct from Australia. However, it is still possible that the moth could be carried around the coast on the deck of any vessel that moves between ports, so it is not possible to be absolutely certain of the origin. The larval pabulum includes Eucalyptus and Berberis as well as decaying leaves so there may well be scope in this area for the species to spread as it has done in other locations. Many thanks to Arthur Watchman for the initial identification and to Maitland Emmet for the up-to-date information about its current status. Jon Nicholls, 18 Berners Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 7LF.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc.



Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 34

Some Framlingham moths 1997 Perhaps our most interesting Observation was that of a varied Coronet, Hadena compta, which arrived at Market Hill, Framlingham, on August 2nd, just about 44 years after I had added it to the county list inland at Polstead: since then, most of the Suffolk records seem to have been coastal. I was also pleased to be reminded of another county novelty (from 1959), Wakely's dowd, Blastobasis decolorella, a run of which appeared this year on 28th,30th July and Ist August. The long-winged shade, Cnephasia longana, which is generally a littoral or chalk-down speciality, was again abundant in 1997 at Saxstead Green on 27th July and 3rd, 4th August. As longana is polyphagous on herbaceous plants, there is no clear explanation for its concentrations in that area. At Framlingham there were more than usual moss-feeding Scopariinae, including the whitethorn grey, Dipleurina lacustrata, on 27th July; the rustic grey, Eudonia truncicolella, on 27th, 3Ist July; the small grey, Eudonia mercurella, on 3Ist July Ist, 2nd, 3rd August, together with a species whose life-history is not yet known, the mottled grey, Scoparia basistrigalis, on 28th July. Other Pyralids included the brown china-mark, Elophila nymphaeata, the larva of which is aquatic, on 28th July; the large tabby, Aglossa pinguinalis, a chaff-feeder which skulks in the shadows along Church Street, on 28th, 29th, 3Ist July; the porphyry knot-horn, Numonia suavella, an attractive blackthorn species, on 30th, 3Ist July and Ist August; the meal moth, Pyralis farinalis, formerly common in stored cereals, on 4th August; the pale straw pearl, Udea lutealis, typically at roadside knapweed flowers on 27th, 29th July and 3rd,4th August and, lastly, the chequered grass-veneer, Catoptria falsella, on 4th August. It is imperative that every example of this grass-moth be inspected carefully to see whether its excessively rare congener, verellus, can be found in Suffolk, whence it has twice been reported in error. On 28th July I was delighted to see the twenty plume moth, Alucita hexadactyla, which Claude Morley regarded as common, but which I had not previously seen in Suffolk, even where its foodplant, honeysuckle, was evident. Another pleasing sight was Alstromer's flat-body, Agonopterix alstromeriana, a whitish Oecophorid partial to hemlock. A series of the dwarf cream wave, Idaea fiiscovenosa, (on 27th, 28th, 30th July) prompts me to mention that this is species no.302 in Morley's Final Catalogue and that the species he mentions on page 58 as occurring in Norfolk is the silky wave, Idaea dilutaria Hb. Apart from the old lady moth, Mormo maura, that nearly brought traffic to a standstill near Saxstead Bottom, very few larger moths were seen but notable was the lateness of the ghost swift, Hepialus humuli, with females at light on 1 st and 2nd August. Remarkable, also, was the considerable tea-time flight of the least yellow underwings, Noctua interiecta caliginosa, on 2nd and 4th August. The purple thorn, Selenia tetralunaria, flew to light on 3rd August, the first I had seen in the Framlingham area. The only migrant we saw was the diamond-back, Plutella xylostella on 28th July. Back in Hampshire it persisted until late November and even resurfaced on 1 Ith January 1998! Alasdair Aston Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 34 (1998)

Noble Grass-veneer moth, Catoptria verellus Zinck erroneously reported from Suffolk  

Aston, A. E.

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