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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2001 TONY PRICHARD The moth recording year started favourably in 2001 with warm weather conditions during January and February. Recording in the field then came to a rather abrupt halt with the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the associated restrictions on access to the countryside. The foot and mouth restrictions combined with the rather poor spring weather meant that recording outside of the garden was rather limited during the early part of the year. Many species seemed to be delaying their emergence during this period of poor weather and it was not until the middle of June that conditions improved and increasing numbers of species appeared on the wing. Fortunately this increased activity coincided with the opening up of access to the countryside again and the summer was rather a hectic period of recording. The autumn was particularly warm and mild resulting in the late emergence of some species and an extended period of leaf-miner recording. A record of Gelechia senticetella (Staudinger) on 25 July 2001 by J. Higgott in Ipswich was a new species of micro-lepidoptera for the county and proves the benefits that the internet is bringing to moth recording. The moth was initially identified by J. Langmaid from a digital photo JH posted to a moth discussion newsgroup. The identity of the specimen was subsequently confirmed by D. Agassiz et al. at the Annual Exhibition of the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS). This species was first recorded in Britain in 1988 by D. Agassiz at Grays, Essex as an adventive but is now resident in several south-eastern counties. The larvae feed on juniper (Juniperus spp.) or cypress (Chamaecyparis and Cupressus spp.) Several species new to the country have been discovered recently feeding on juniper and cypress trees, their spread no doubt assisted by the garden nursery trade and the popularity for planting these types of trees in gardens. Argyresthia trifasciata Staudinger also feeds on juniper, cypress or cedar (Thuja spp.) and has expanded its range across the country since its discovery by the late Maitland Emmet in London in 1982. An individual of this species was taken in Ipswich on 29 May 2001 (TP). Agassiz & Tuck (1999) documents the discovery of Argyresthia cupressella Walsingham in Suffolk in 1997. It would seem likely that other species with a similar pabulum will be discovered in the county in the future. The discovery of Caloptilia populetorum (Zeller) by N. Sherman at the Ipswich Golf Course on 26 June 2001 adds another species of microlepidoptera to the county list. This species occurs on heaths and moors where birch, its foodplant, grows. It appears to prefer saplings and seedlings of birch on which to lay its eggs. The adult has a long flight period from August to May but the moth is not usually recorded at light prior to its over-wintering. Three species of the ‘Ear’ moths are currently thought to occur in the county. Amphipoea fucosa paludis (Tutt), Saltern Ear, occurs almost exclusively in the coastal areas of Suffolk, not venturing very far inland from the coast or estuaries. Amphipoea oculea (L.), Ear Moth, similarly occurs in coastal areas in Suffolk but can be found extending further inland than the

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Saltern Ear. The other main areas where the Ear Moth has been recorded in Suffolk include the Gipping and Waveney valleys and the Brecks. Amphipoea lucens, (Freyer), Large Ear, is thought to have a largely north-westerly distribution in Britain. Goodey (2000) raised the question as to whether the Large Ear may be resident in south-east England following the discovery of two individuals in Essex. Mike Hall received an ‘Ear’ moth for identification from Orfordness (28 June 2001, MM & JA) and, prompted by the article, forwarded the moth onto Brian Goodey. BG confirmed the identity by genitalia examination as a Large Ear. In an attempt to better understand the status of this moth in Suffolk and East Anglia I urge recorders in the county to retain any specimens of Amphipoea which are found away from the known locations for the Ear Moth and Saltern Ear as there is a chance that these may be further examples of Large Ear. Xestia ditrapezium (D. & S.), Triple-spotted Clay, is subject to confusion with the more common Xestia triangulum (Hufnagel), Double Square-spot. In 2001 the former species was recorded from Thorpeness Golf Course (SMG), Reydon (AC) and Brandon (GA). It is possible that this species is being overlooked within the county with Triple-spotted Clays being mis-recorded as the more common species. The two species are easy to distinguish if the hindwings are compared with Triple-spotted Clay having very pale hindwings whereas the Double Square-spot has much darker hindwings. Parsons & Clancy (2002) document the discovery of a new pyralid moth to the country, Dioryctria sylvestrella (Ratzeburg) and give information on identifying the British Dioryctria taking into account this new species. The Dioryctria can often cause identification problems due to their similarity and the variability that can be shown within each species. D. sylvestrella tends to be the largest of the Dioryctria and is most likely to be confused with D.abietella but can normally be distinguished by its smoother sub-terminal line, which in D. abietella is rather dentated in its more dorsal portion. In addition, the sub-terminal line approaches the dorsum almost at a right-angle in D. syvestrella whereas in D. abietella the sub-terminal line approaches the dorsum at an angle. Following the publication of this article further British specimens of the moth have been identified from collections, including one from Tunstall, Suffolk (2001, AB) in Clancy (2002). All four British species of Dioryctria are now known to occur in Suffolk and this latter article suggests that D. sylvestrella may be resident in the Tunstall area. They are all associated with pine plantations with the larvae feeding on various species of pine. I would be grateful if any suspected D. sylvestrella were retained for confirmation until the status of this moth in the county becomes clearer. A third county record of Dioryctria schuetzeella Fuchs from Santon Downham was recorded by J. Chainey and J. Spence on 7 July 2001. JC and JS also recorded on the same night Lithosia quadra (L.), Four-spotted Footman, which is presumed to have been a migrant, and is not currently considered a resident in Suffolk. Other species of interest on this rather successful night, when more than 150 species of macro-lepidoptera were recorded, included; Idaea muricata (Hufnagel), Purple-bordered Gold, Apamea sublustris (Esper), Reddish Light Arches, Diarsia brunnea (D. & S.),

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Purple Clay, Polia nebulosa (Hufnagel), Grey Arches and Laspeyria flexula (D. & S.), Beautiful Hook-tip. A visit later in the month by JC and JS on the 28 July 2001 to the same site produced further interesting results; Cyclophora porata (L.), False Mocha, Xestia baja (D. & S.), Dotted Clay, Chortodes fluxa (Hubner), Mere Wainscot and Amphipyra berbera svenssoni Fletcher, Svensson’s Copper Underwing. Morley (1937) mentions several 19th century locations within the county for Moma alpium (Osbeck), Scarce Merveille du Jour, although records from the early part of the 20th century were all restricted to the Bentley Woods area, near Ipswich. I have no records of this species from within Suffolk since that time and the Suffolk Moth Group (SMG) has recently been surveying suitable habitats for this biodiversity action plan species. In 2000 an SMG moth night at Bentley Long Wood failed to uncover the moth although conditions were not ideal. In 2001 the SMG organised a further moth night at Staverton Thicks as it would appear to be a suitable habitat for the moth. Ten lights were operated within the wood on a night with favourable weather conditions but unfortunately no Scarce Merveille du Jour were recorded. Although it is hard to prove the absence of a moth at a site, given the circumstances it would appear unlikely that the species is present there. Other species of interest that were recorded on the night included; Anania verbascalis (D. & S.), Capperia britanniodactyla (Gregson), Spilosoma urticae (Esper), Water Ermine, Eilema sorocula (Hufn.), Orange Footman, Elaphria venustula (Hubner), Rosy Marbled, Earias clorana (L.), Cream-bordered Green Pea and Herminia tarsicrinalis (Knoch), Shaded Fan-foot An SMG moth night held at Redgrave Fen on 26 July proved very successful with 190 species of moth recorded at light on the night. Amongst these were some notable species already known to occur at the reserve including; Eupithecia valerianata (Hubner), Valerian Pug, Plusia putnami gracilis (Lempke), Lempke’s Gold Spot, and Diarsia florida (Schmidt), Fen Square-spot. However, a new species for the site was recorded by way of a single Deltote bankiana (Fab.), Silver Barred. This individual is thought to have been a migrant as the moth is considered to be resident only in Chippenham and Wicken Fens, Cambridgeshire and the coast of south-east Kent. Over the same period other presumed migrant records of Silver Barred were reported from Essex During 2001 the SMG and SBBC continued surveying for the Archanara neurica (Hubner), White-mantled Wainscot. Further records for this species, restricted in this country to Suffolk, came from Walberswick (SMG), Westwood Marshes (SMG) and one single adult from Minsmere on National Moth Night (SBBC) in an area of the reserve where the moth had not previously been recorded. In addition to the moths attracted to the light at the latter event a single adult Ant-lion was also seen at light. It is hoped that the discovery of White-mantled Wainscot at Westwood Marshes, forming part of the Dingle Marshes reserve, will be taken into consideration in the habitat management of the reserve. In late June and early July there was an influx of Atolmis rubricollis (L.), Red-necked Footman, with several records of this species reported from across

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the county; Ipswich Golf Course (26 June 2001, NS), Knettishall Heath (26 June 2001, MH), Long Melford (26 June 2001, DU), Staverton Park (29 June 2001, SMG), Ipswich (5 July 2001, JH), Sicklesmere (6 July 2001, SD) and Languard (6 July 2001, NO & MM). The only other recent record for this species in the county was from Minsmere RSPB reserve in 1995. The species is presumed to be a migrant in Suffolk, although it is considered a resident in the western and southern counties of Britain. Another migrant which appeared in greater than usual numbers during 2001 was Loxostege sticticalis (L.) with records from Sicklesmere (21 September 2001 and 22 September 2001, SD), Lowestoft (23 September 2001, MD), Rendham (23 September 2001, MD), Minsmere (23 September 2001, NS), Thorpeness (25 September 2001, EP), Corton (25 September 2001, EP & JB), Landguard (26 September 2001, NO & MM), Brandon (27 September 2001, GA) and Eye (29 July 2001, PK). Other more notable migrants recorded during the year included a Chrysodeixia chalcites (Esper) Golden Twin-spot, at Kessingland (18 October 2001, GT); an Orthonama obstipata (Fab.), Gem, at Eye (3 November 2001, PK); Sciota adelphella (Fischer von Roslerstamm) at Reydon (AC) and Landguard (5 June 2001 and 6 June 2001, NO & MM); Mythimna l-album (L.), L-album Wainscot, a second record of this species from Landguard (7 October 2001, NO & MM); Mythimna vitella (Hubner), Delicate, from Landguard (10 October 2001, NO & MM) and Orfordness (13 October 2001, JA). Agrius convolvuli (L.), Convolvulus Hawk-moth, a regular migrant in the county was notable by its absence. The double-brooded Orthonoma vittata (Borkhausen), Oblique Carpet, appears to be restricted to the coastal areas within the county and although the moth is known to fly at dusk the few recent records of this species have all been made at light. The species inhabits fens and marshy habitats feeding on bedstraw as a larva and is widely distributed at low density across the country. It was rather unusual, therefore, to record it on three occasions at light during the year at; Westwood Marshes (30 June 2001, SMG), Minsmere (11 August 2001, SMG, NC) and North Warren (24 August 2001, SMG). A single record from Eye (PK) in 1996 is the only recent record we have for this species away from the coastal areas. The plume moth Agdistis bennetii (Curtis) is associated with saltmarsh habitats where the larvae feeds on sea-lavender and is known to occur in suitable sites along the Suffolk coast. The moth is a known wanderer being recorded away from its usual haunts and a few records this year gave some indication of how far it may travel inland with records from; Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Great Cornard (SR), Sicklesmere (SD) and Tunstall (SMG/ BENHS). A single Luperina nickerlii demuthi Goater & Skinner, Sandhill Rustic, a notable salt-marsh species, recorded by NS at Ipswich Golf Course is an example showing that even species that are not well known for wandering may at times be recorded away from their expected localities (see Plate 5). Regular moth-recording was carried out on the Orfordness National Trust reserve in 2001 by J. Askins. This produced some interesting species in the first year of regular recording on the reserve with; Evergestis extimalis (Scop.), Pima boisduvaliella (Guenee), Scopula emutaria (Hubner), Rosy

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Wave, Idaea rusticata atrosignaria (Lempke), Least Carpet, Triphosa dubitata (L.), Tissue, Meganola albula (D. & S.), Kent Black Arches, Malacasoma castrensis (L.), Ground Lackey, Mythimna pudorina (D. & S.), Striped Wainscot, Cryphia muralis (Forster), Marbled Green, Celaena leucostigma leucostigma (Hubner), Crescent and Abrostola triplasia (L.), Dark Spectacle all being recorded. There has been a recent increase in the amount of leaf-miner recording within the county. One of the results of the increased interest in this area of lepidoptera recording was a new species for the county when N. Sherman discovered the mines of Phyllonorycter platani (Staudinger) on London Plane trees near Suffolk College, Ipswich on 1 October 2001. Further examination of other London Plane trees within the town centre area proved it to be widespread and present in all locations searched. The larva of this species forms blotch mines on the underside of leaves which are readily noticeable as the leaf becomes distorted and the larva eats the leaf parenchyma from within. Subsequent searching in the west of the county established its presence there with a record from Great Livermere (DU). This species was first recorded in the country by Maitland Emmett at the BENHS exhibition in London in 1990. The mild autumn not only meant an extended period of leaf-miner recording but produced some late records of certain species; including Peribatodes rhomboidaria (D. & S.), Willow Beauty, Cyclophoria punctaria (L.), Maiden’s Blush, Miltochrista miniata (Forster), Rosy Footman and Orthopygia glaucinalis (L.) from Barnhamcross Common (13 October 2001, SMG). The latter species appears to have a good year in 2001 with additional records coming from Staverton (SMG), Ipswich (TP, NS, SG, JH), Minsmere (SMG), Bentley Long Wood (SMG), Santon Downham (JC & JS), Knettishall Heath (MH), Thurston (PB), Redgrave Fen (SMG), Little Cornard (SR), Weston (NM), Beccles (NM), Sicklesmere (SD), Elveden (SD), Eye (PK) and Brandon (GA). R. Eley (Nowton) reported fresh broods of Hypena proboscidalis (L.), Snout, appearing well into October and two further late records of Spilosoma lubricipeda (L.), White Ermine, on 17 August 2001 and Rivula sericealis (Scop.), Straw Dot, on 14 October 2001. Most recorders reported the majority of the autumn-flying ‘Sallow’ species appearing in lower than usual numbers in 2001, with the exception being Xanthia togata (Esper), Pink-barred Sallow. Dichonia aprilina (L.), Merveille du Jour, in contrast appeared to fare well with records occuring more frequently or for the first time in suburban moth traps as well as in its usual woodland haunts. This species is suspected of being an occasional migrant but the lack of records of this moth from the coastal recording sites would indicate that this was probably a local resident increase. Aporophyla nigra (Haw.), Black Rustic, is an autumnal species which is gradually increasing its range across the country from the south. Although not widespread in the county it continues to show signs of establishing itself more widely with records in 2001 from East Bergholt (JL), Bury St Edmunds (RE) and Brandon (GA). Information from recorders (SD, RE, PK, JH) throughout the county who keep detailed records of the moths attracted to their regularly operated lights presents a varied picture of the fortunes of some of our commoner moths but

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with some common trends appearing amongst their observations. As previously the declines seem to outnumber the increases and must be cause for concern if these trends continue at the same rate. Species which appeared to have fared particularly badly in 2001 include; Luperina testacea (D. & S.), Flounced Rustic, Allophyes oxyacanthae (L.), Green-brindled Crescent, Abraxas grossulariata (L.), Magpie Moth, Amphipyra tragopoginis (Clerck), Mouse, Polymixis flavicincta (D. & S.), Large Ranunculus, Peribatodes rhomboidaria (D. & S.), Willow Beauty, Xanthorhoe fluctuata fluctuata (L.), Garden Carpet, Amphipyra pyramidea (L.), Copper Underwing, Lithopane leautieri hesperica (Boursin), Blair’s Shoulder-knot, Conistra ligula (Esper), Dark Chestnut and Discestra trifolii (Hufnagel), Nutmeg. Species which appeared to have a generally better year include; Timandra comae (Schmidt), Blood-vein, Alcis repandata repandata (L.), Mottled Beauty, Rivula sericealis (Scop.), Straw Dot, Eilema lurideola (Zincken), Common Footman, Eilema complana (L.), Scarce Footman, Cryphia domestica (Hufnagel), Marbled Beauty, Melanchra persicariae (L.), Dot Moth, Agrotis clavis (Hufnagel), Heart and Club and Charanyca trigrammica (Hufnagel), Treble Lines. Some recorders had quite different experiences with some species; RE reporting a good year for Mythimna pallens (L.), Common Wainscot while PK, JH and SD reported this species in lower numbers than previously. Similarly with Hypena proboscidalis (L.), Snout, RE and SD reported a good year for this species but PK and JH experienced a downturn in numbers. Numbers of Xestia c-nigrum (L.), Setaceous Hebrew Character were shown to be returning to more usual numbers after a very good year in 2000. Please continue to send your moth records and any observations to me as county moth recorder; 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; Jim Askins (JA), Graham Austin (GA), Tony Butcher (AB), J Brown (JB), Paul Bryant (PB), N Calbrade (NC), John Chainey (JC), Alan Cornish (AC), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), Rafe Eley (RE), Steve Goddard (SG), Mike Hall (MH), Jeff Higgott (JH), Paul Kitchener (PK), Jack Levene (JL), Mike Marsh (MM), Norman Muddeman (NM), Nigel Odin (NO), Eric Patrick (EP), Stuart Read (SR), Neil Sherman (NS), Jenny Spence (JS), Glen Tyler (GT), Darren Underwood (DU), Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation (SBC), the Suffolk Moth Group (SMG) and the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS). References Agassiz, D. J. L. & Tuck, K. R. (1999). The Cypress Tip moth Argyresthia cupressella Walshingham, 1890 (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae) new to Britain. Entomologist’s Gazette. 50 : 11–16. Bradley, J. D. (2000). Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles. 2nd ed. (revised). Fordingbridge, Hants: D. J. Bradley & M. J. Bradley.

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Clancy, S. (2002). Further British Records of Dioryctria sylvestrella. Atropos. 16: 78. Goodey, B. (2000). Is the Large Ear Amphipoea lucens (Freyer) (Lep.: Noctuidae) resident in south-east England?. Entomologist’s Rec. J. Var. 112: 106. Morley, C., (1937). Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Ipswich: Suffolk Naturalists’ Society. Parsons, M. & Clancy, S. (2002). Dioryctria sylvestrella (Ratz.) – New to Britain and Ireland, and the Identification of the British Dioryctria Species. Atropos. 15: 16-18.

Neil Sherman

Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9JR

Plate 5: Sandhill Rustic (Luperina nickerlii demuthi Goater & Skinner), a notable salt-marsh species, at Ipswich Golf Course is an example showing that even species that are not well known for wandering may at times be recorded away from their expected localities (p. 132 ).

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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2001  

Tony Prichard

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