Page 1

NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS, 2000

83

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2000 A. W. PRICHARD At the start or the end of the millennium (depending on your point of view) moth recording in the county seems to be in a fairly healthy state with more recorders sending in records each year, providing us with more information to add to our knowledge of the moths of the county. Most recorders are operating moth traps in their back garden or a local site and this regular trapping at a site is helping provide useful information on the declines and rises in the populations of the moths of the county. The Suffolk Moth Group and Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation continue to carry out surveys of moths at various sites around the county through the moth nights that they hold each year. The use of ultra-violet lamps to attract moths is certainly a comparatively effective way of recording those species that are attracted to light and are flying in the area while the lights are operated. They do not, however, attract all species of moths and give no definite indication as to which moths are actually resident at a particular site. To record these species usually involves different recording methods and searching for different stages of the lifecycle and it is to be hoped that these methods do not fall into neglect with the popularity of light-trapping. The year 2000 continued the pattern of recent years with most recorders reporting generally lower than usual moth numbers with some species faring less well than others while a smaller number of species conversely appeared in larger numbers than usual. This year will not be looked back on as one of the great years for moth recording in the county. Rafe Eley at Nowton reports that moth numbers were well down this year, with species such as; Chloroclysta truncata (Hufnagel), Common Marbled Carpet, Thera britannica (Turner), Spruce Carpet, Xanthorhoe ferrugata (Clerck), Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Hydriomena furcata (Thunberg), July Highflyer, Chiasmia clathrata (L.), Latticed Heath and the various ‘Thorns’ faring particularly badly. Fewer species were recorded in increased numbers at Nowton including Acasis viretata (Hubner), Yellow-barred Brindle, Hypena proboscidalis (L.), Snout and two of the footman moths; Eilema complana (L.), Scarce Footman and Eilema lurideola (Zincken), Common Footman. Stan Dumican at nearby Sicklesmere reports a slightly different picture for the year that may indicate that some of these population changes may be localised. SD reports Agrotis puta (Hubner), Shuttle-shaped Dart, Discestra trifolii (Hufnagel), Nutmeg, Orthosia cruda (D. & S.), Small Quaker and the Hawk-moths were recorded in significantly lower numbers, whereas, Idaea biselata (Hufnagel), Small Fan-footed Wave, Idaea dimidiata (Hufnagel), Single-dotted Wave, Colostygia pectinataria (Knoch), Green Carpet, Pasiphila rectangulata (L.), Green Pug, Peribatodes rhomboidaria (D. & S.), Willow Beauty and Hypena proboscidalis (L.), Snout were amongst those species which did rather better during the year. Following the recent trend the year started with some rather mild spells that again enabled the hardier recorders to venture into the field early in the year. Of the early spring species Apocheima hispidaria (D. & S.), Small

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37 (2001)


84

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 37

Brindled Beauty, whose larvae feed on oak, has been considered a rather localised moth in the county but recent recording in the early part of the year would seem to indicate that this is not the case. This year it was recorded at a number of sites during February and March including; Bentley Long Wood (SMG), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Groton Wood (SMG), Raydon Great Wood (SMG), Bradfield Woods (GB, TP), Knettishall Heath (MH), Priestley Wood (GB, TP) and Offton Middle Wood (SMG). The ypsolophid, Ypsolopha mucronella (Scopoli), whose larvae feed on spindle and which overwinters as an adult, was also recorded as singletons at a few sites during the early part of the year including; Offton Middle Wood (SMG), Burgh (NS,TP) and Sicklesmere (SD). Previous records of this species in the county seem to have largely been restricted to the area around Monks Eleigh. It is interesting to note that although this moth is on the wing as an adult from August to April, the moth has been predominantly recorded at light in the latter half of its flight period. Another spindle feeding moth, Nephopterix angustella (Hubner), which appears to be a rather localised moth in the county, was recorded at Rendham (MD) and Eye (PK) during the year. There are some species that are being consistently recorded more frequently over the last few years. One of these is Nola confusalis (H.-S.), Least Black Arches, which is on the wing in late May and June. The larvae of this species were thought, until reasonably recently, to feed on lichens on trees but they are now known to feed on the leaves of lime, holm oak and oak. In 2000 this species was recorded from Rendham (MD), Weston (NM), Burgh (NS, TP), Sizewell Belts (SMG), West Stow (GB, TP), Assington Thicks (SMG), Eyke (SMG), Little Blakenham (SMG), Knettishall Heath (MH), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Ipswich (TP and SG), Eye (PK), Offton (GB, TP) and Raydon Great Wood (SMG). The good fortunes of this moth in the county are also being reflected in other parts of the country. Eilema sororcula (Hufnagel), Orange Footman, continues to be recorded at new sites across the county. Sites at which it was recorded in 2000 included Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Ipswich (TP), Knettishall Heath (MH), Minsmere (SMG), Barnham Heath (SMG), Eye (PK) and Rendlesham Forest (DY). Idaea rusticata rusticata (D. & S.), Least Carpet, appears to be consolidating its spread across the county with records this year from Tunstall (DY), Lavenham (DU), Ipswich (SG) and Tattingstone (TP.GB,NS) Adults of Archiearis notha (Hubner), Light Orange Underwing, were recorded at Wolves Wood in 1998 (NS), as previously reported by Hall (1999), where it has been recorded as an adult each year since its discovery. Its residence in the wood was confirmed this year when a larva was found feeding between spun leaves on a young aspen bush in the wood (TP). Searches have been carried out in nearby woods containing its foodplant, aspen, but no further sites have been found for the moth in the county. As well as being useful to confirm that a species is actually resident on a site searching for the larva of some species can be sometimes be a more effective way of recording the moth than relying on their attraction to light. An example of this is Eupithecia millefoliata Rossler, Yarrow Pug, that has been regarded as a rather localised moth in the county, a view which would not seem unreasonable

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37 (2001)


NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS, 2000

85

based on the records of the species turning up at light. Previous larval surveys have identified the moth as occurring in the western areas of the county (Reid, 1999), along the Gipping Valley and in the Sandlings. A record of this moth from Tattingstone (TP) extends its known distribution south of Ipswich, and it would seem reasonable that the moth awaits to be found in other parts of the county. The plume moth, Pterophorus galactodactyla (D. & S.) has larvae that often feed gregariously on greater burdock with the results of their feeding forming characteristic holes in the leaves of their foodplant. These hole-shot leaves can be readily spotted some distance from the foodplant. The only site that the moth has been recorded from recently is Bradfield Woods, where it has been recorded in 1999 and 2000 (TP), although historic records mention it being found elsewhere in the county; Dodnash Wood, Glemham Magna, Timworth and Tuddenham (Morley, 1937). Perizoma sagittata (Fab.), Marsh Carpet, whose larvae feed on Common Meadow-rue, is very infrequently recorded in the county, however Stan Dumican recorded an individual at light at Elveden in July. Although the few records we have of this species are from adults attracted to light this is a species that should be easy to record as larvae either by sweeping or searching the foodplant in August and early September. We currently have very few confirmed records for Epirrhoe rivata (Hubner), Wood Carpet, with the few we have coming from the region of the Brecks. As mentioned previously (Hall, 2000) care must be taken to differentiate this species from the commoner Epirrhoe alternata (Muller), Common Carpet. In 2000 the Wood Carpet was recorded from Lakenheath Fen and Pashford Poors by the Suffolk Moth Group. At the same SMG meeting at Pashford Poors one of the first moths attracted to the light as darkness fell was an Adscita statices (L), Forester moth. This moth is normally thought of as a day-flying species and this was the first time the group had seen one attracted to light. Also recorded were singletons of Xestia ditrapezium (D. & S.), Triple-spotted Clay and Craniophora ligustri (D. & S.), Coronet. The latter, whose larvae feed on ash and privet, seems to be another of our moths restricted in the county to the area of the Brecks although the foodplants of the moth have a much wider distribution in the county. At sites that are not regularly recorded it can sometimes be hard to tell if you just happen to be recording in the right habitats at the right time of year to record certain species or whether a species is flourishing that year. As an example this year Leucoma salicis (L.), White Satin, was recorded more frequently than usual with reports of the species from Rendham (MD), Lakenheath Fen (JC), Thelnetham Fen (SMG), Reydon Wood (SMG). Another example appears to be Spilosoma urticae (Esper), Water Ermine, which has been recorded more frequently in recent years mainly in the area between Hollesley, Bawdsey and Minsmere with records this year from Beccles (NM), Boyton (SMG), Tunstall (DY) and Rendlesham Forest (DY). It has previously been reported (Hall, 1999) that a Water Ermine was recorded from Rede Wood by the SMG in 1998. This record should actually refer to the more common and widespread S. lubricipeda (L), White Ermine. The tortrix moth Phtheochroa rugosana (Hubner), whose foodplant is white bryony, appears to have been one of the species that had a better year being recorded at

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37 (2001)


86

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 37

several regularly monitored sites; Rushmere (JH), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Ipswich (TP), Felixstowe (JN), Knettishall Heath (MH) and Pashford Poors Fen (SMG). Records are not infrequently received by the county moth recorders for Nudaria mundana (L.), Muslin Footman, a moth that is less common in the south-eastern counties than the rest of the country. These have usually arisen through confusion with the commoner Thumatha senex (Hubner), Roundwinged Muslin. A record of Muslin Footman from Beccles (NM) was therefore met with slight scepticism until the production of a voucher specimen confirmed the moth’s identity. Following this a subsequent record of the moth was made at Wrentham (TP, GB, NS). N Muddeman also reported recording a Hydriomena ruberata (Freyer), Ruddy Highflyer, at Beccles during the year. Arthur Watchman reported the first county record of Dioryctria schuetzeella Fuchs in 1986 (Watchman, 1987). It appears that a record of this moth at Ipswich Golf Course (NS) is only the second county record for this species. The species of the genus Dioryctria appear to be rather neglected in terms of recording, probably due to the difficulties in differentiating them reliably, so other individuals of D. schuetzeella may very well have been overlooked in the past. Hopefully, this recent record will prompt recorders to look more closely at any Dioryctria that they may encounter. The SMG, SBC and other moth recorders in the county are involved in recording and monitoring the rarer moths found in Suffolk that may have national or local biodiversity action plans in place to direct efforts for their conservation. Of these Noctua orbona (Hufnagel) , Lunar Yellow Underwing, continues to be regularly recorded within the Brecks, its current stronghold in the country, but is also increasingly recorded at other sites around the county with records this year from Knettishall Heath (MH), Barnham Heath (SMG), West Stow (SMG), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Barrow (AP) and Tunstall (DY). Xestia rhomboidea (Esper), Square-spotted Clay, is a moth usually associated with deciduous woodland habitat whose larval foodplant in the wild is still unknown. Adults of the moth were recorded at light this year from Barrow (AP), Rendham (MD), Weston (NM) and Tunstall (DY). After two years of searching for Archanara neurica (Hubner), White-mantled Wainscot at Minsmere (a known site for the species) with no positive results a SBC moth night finally managed to record 9 individuals at the reserve during July followed by a singleton at Dunwich Heath (SMG) the following week. A meeting of the British Entomological and Natural History Society and SBC at Dingle Marshes targeted at recording the moth a week later failed to find any individuals of the moth, although surveys for the moth at the site will continue in the future. Other species of interest that were recorded on the night included; Monopis monachella (Hubner), Pima boisduvaliella (Guenee), Nyctegretis lineana (Scopoli), Simyra albovenosa (Goeze), Reed Dagger, Chortodes brevilinea (Fenn), Fenn’s Wainscot and Chilodes maritimus (Tauscher), Silky Wainscot.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37 (2001)


NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS, 2000

87

The Suffolk Moth Group held a meeting at Staverton Thicks in August, intended to look for Cymatophorima diluta hartwiegi (Reisser), Oak Lutestring, which is currently only known in the county from the Thornham Estate. Although no Oak Lutestring were recorded a single Acleris literana (L.), a tortrix moth, was recorded on the night. The green, black and white colouration of this moth provides it with perfect camouflage to match the lichens on the trunks and branches of oak trees on which it rests during the day. I am unaware of any records for this moth in the county since those listed by Morley (1937), who described the moth as being very rare with Benacre Woods, Bentley Woods and Bungay being listed as sites where it had been found. A SBC moth night held on the beaches near Sizewell in the same month attracted to light three particular species associated with this type of coastal habitat. Melissoblaptes zelleri (Joannis), a pyralid moth, is associated with coastal sand-hills and has previously been recorded in Suffolk from Minsmere and Landguard. Pima boisduvaliella (Guenee), another pyralid moth, as well as being a species of coastal sand-hills can also be found on shingle banks and has been recorded at sites along the coast from Shingle Street to Dunwich. Chortodes elymi (Treitschke), Lyme Grass, as suggested by the name has larvae that feed on the plant Lyme-grass and occurs in the county along the coast between Landguard and Southwold. Although most of our resident species may have been fared poorly in 2000 the migrants fared rather better than in recent years. Recorders reported increased numbers of the more commoner migrants such as; Autographa gamma (L.), Silver Y, Mythimna albipuncta (D. & S.), White-point, Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel), Dark Sword-grass, Macroglossum stellatarum (L.), Humming-bird Hawk-moth and the pyralids; Plutella xylostella (L.), Nomophila noctuella (D. & S.) and Udea ferrugalis (Hubner). Peridromia saucia (Hubner), Pearly Underwing was recorded from several sites Barrow (AP), Felixstowe (NO), Rendham (MD), Minsmere (SMG), Weston (NM) Dingle Marshes (JCa), Sicklesmere (SD) and Ipswich (JH). Sightings of two other migrants hawk-moths were also made; Agrius convolvuli (L.), Convolvulus Hawk-moth at Hollesley (CC), Tunstall (DY) and Southwold (LT) and Hyles gallii (Rottemburg), Bedstraw Hawk-moth at Tunstall (DY) and Ipswich (JH). Records of other more infrequent migrants were as follows; Rhodometra sacraria (L.), The Vestal, at Ipswich (NS) and Staverton Thicks (SMG); Orthonama obstipata (Fab.), The Gem at Landguard (NO) and Minsmere (SMG); Mythimna vitellina (Hubner), The Delicate at Minsmere (APa) and Tunstall (DY); Mythimna unipuncta (Haworth), White-speck at Languard (NO), Tunstall (DY) and Southwold (LT); Spodoptera exigua (Hubner), Small Mottled Willow at Tunstall (DY); Heliocoverpa armigera (Hubner), Scarce Bordered Straw at Languard (NO), Minsmere (SMG), Eye (PK) and Tunstall (DY); Heliothis peltigera (Hufnagel), Bordered Straw at Landguard (NO); Palpita vitrealis (Rossi) at Rendham (MD); Eurois occulta (L.), Great Brocade at Weston (NM); Mythimna loreyi (Dup.), The Cosmopolitan at Landguard (NO); Parascotia fuliginaria (L.), Waved Black at Ipswich (TP) and Mythimna l-album (L.), L-album Wainscot at Landguard (NO).

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37 (2001)


88

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 37

Please continue to send your moth records and any observations to myself as one of the county moth recorders; Tony Prichard. 3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9JR (email: tony.prichard@btinternet.com) or the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, The Museum, High Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3QH. Acknowledgements I would like to thank all moth recorders who have submitted records during the year, not only those whose records and comments are mentioned here; Graham Bull (GB), James Cadbury (JCa), Jon Clifton (JC), Alan Cornish (AC), John Crouch (JCr), C Cundy (CC), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), Mike Hall (MH), J Hanley (JHa), Jeff Higgott (JH), Paul Kitchener (PK), Norman Muddeman (NM), Jon Nicholls (JN), Nigel Odin and Mike Marsh (NO), Alice Parfitt (APa), Adrian Parr (AP), Neil Sherman (NS), L Townsend (LT), Darren Underwood (DU), Arthur Watchman (AW), David Young (DY), Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation (SBC) and the Suffolk Moth Group (SMG). References Bradley, J. D. (2000). Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles. Second edition (revised). Fordingbridge, Hants: D. J. Bradley & M. J. Bradley. Hall, M. R. (2000). Notes and comments on some Suffolk moths in 1999. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 36: 81. Hall, M. R. (1999). Notes and comments on some Suffolk moths in 1998. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 35: 81. Morley, C. (1937). Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Ipswich: Suffolk Naturalists’ Society. Reid, J. (1999). The Yarrow Pug, Eupithecia millefoliata Roessl. (Lep.: Geometridae), now apparently widespread and locally common in East Anglia. Entomologist’s Rec. J. Var. 111: 201–203. Watchman, A. (1987). Comments and notes on some Suffolk moths in 1986. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 23: 9. Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road Ipswich Suffolk IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37 (2001)

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2000  

Tony Prichard

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you