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NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS, 2001

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Aculeate Hymenoptera Recorders’ Report for 2001 The search through archive material from Morley and others is still ongoing, so it is perhaps a little too early to talk about “new county records”. However, there were a number of significant finds during 2001 that are certainly new “modern” records for the county, although these records probably highlight the dearth of recent recording rather than indicating either the spread of species or the discovery of genuinely rare populations. Throughout this report, references to Morley’s records for species refer to his 1935 and 1936 papers for the Society’s Transactions. During survey work around Mildenhall on 17 April 2001 PL took specimens of the red ant Myrmica lobicornis, these being the first modern records for this ant. Morely considered it to be rare, with records from Pakefield, Foxhall and the Lowestoft denes in 1922. April saw several other “modern” records, this being a time before most contract surveys have got underway. Morley describes the bee Andrena praecox as being “locally common” but a specimen caught by AK at Hadleigh on 7 April 2001 is the only recent record of which we are aware. This is surely a result of underrecording since this species is thinly widespread in Essex, utilising willow catkins and other early blossoms, with no reason to assume that it is not well spread across Suffolk. A similar case is that of Andrena trimmerana, although here even a second, summer brood seems to have eluded recent surveyors. AK took specimens at Bridge wood, Nacton on 21 April 2001 and Hadleigh on 11 April 2001. Morley seems to have been caught up in the early confusion concerning the two broods of this species and the essentially similar A. rosae and A. scotica, although specimens of A. trimmerana do feature in his collection. The bee Melecta albifrons is another relatively early flier, so that whilst Morley considered it to be “in most sand and gravel pits”, the only modern record in our possession is from Bridge Wood, Nacton on 7 May 2001. Bridge Wood also yielded what may be a truly new species to Suffolk, with the capture on 23 July 2001 of the tiny Sphecid wasp Stigmus pendulus. As recently as 1991 Falk considered this species to be known only from a handful of sites in Kent and north-east London. Now, however, it has been recorded from scattered locations in south-east England including north Essex and now south Suffolk. It is listed in Falk (1991) as an RDBK species i.e. a red data book insect with insufficient data to assign it more confidently to one of the three red data book categories. It is, however, an undeniably rare insect in Britain. Survey work by AK on a piece of species-rich Breck grassland (under dire threat of development) yielded several important records in July. This included the small mining bee Andrena minutuloides, a species not recorded by Morley although further research may throw up specimens previously thought to be the very similar A. minutula. Andrena minutuloides is recorded as being in West Suffolk in Falk (1991) but we are not aware of the precise locations of these records. It is listed as being Nationally Scarce (Na) and is thought to

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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 38

favour calcareous grasslands and chalk heath, so the Brecks should provide ample habitat for this bee. Other interesting records from this Breckland site include the bees Andrena hattorfiana (RDB3) and Andrena marginata (Na), both Breckland specialists, the digger wasp Cerceris quinquefasciata (RDB3 and a national Biodiversity Action Plan species) and also one of its probable parasitoids, the Ruby-tailed wasp Hedychrum niemelai (RDB3). This last species is noted by Morley under the name H. nobile from a single specimen in 1916 at Tuddenham and two females from Bramford Marshes in 1901. We currently know of no other recent records besides this Breckland site and another specimen taken on 22 July 2001 by AK at Martlesham Heath, although in reality it could occur at many of the sites where its host wasp occurs. Martlesham Heath provided one of the real finds of the summer, two females of the bee Lasioglossum sexnotatum, as previously reported in White Admiral No. 50. Peter Yeo also recorded this bee from Orford earlier in the summer (pers. comm). Martlesham also yielded one of two records of the small velvet-ant Smicromyrme rufipes, for which we hold no other recent records, although Morley describes it as local, with scattered records from Shrubland Park and Bentley near Ipswich up to Lowestoft. On 23 June PL and a group of his students from Flatford Mill Centre took a specimen of the bumblebee Bombus jonellus at Bawdsey. This is a more northern bee in Britain and Morley considered it to be rare in Suffolk, being rare at Barham but abundant on heather at Lowestoft. It is interesting to note that this bee has only just been added to the Essex list, possibly indicating a minor resurgence of this species in this part of the country. August saw the first modern record of the spider wasp Ceropales maculata, taken by AK in Tunstall Forest. Morley recorded this wasp from Eye, Monks Soham, Badingham, Hoxne and Barton Mills suggesting a sparse but broad distribution in Suffolk. Finally, encouragement that anyone can contribute to the study of the hymenoptera of Suffolk. Martin Sanford would appear to have taken the first recorded Suffolk specimen of the digger wasp Ectemnius sexcinctus – dead on the window sill of his office at the S.B.R.C! References Falk, S. J. (1991), A review of the scarce and threatened bees, wasps and ants of Great Britain, Research and Survey in Nature Conservation No. 35, Nature Conservancy Council. Morley, C. (1935), The Hymenoptera of Suffolk, Portio Prima, Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc., pp 17–52. Morley, C. (1936), The Hymenoptera of Suffolk, Portio Secunda, Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc., pp 132–162. Adrian Knowles 12 Blackbrook Road, Great Horkesley, Colchester, Essex CO6 4TL Paul Lee 155 Corton Road, Lowestoft NR32 4PR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 38 (2002)

Aculeate Hymenoptera Recorders’ Report for 2001  

Adrian Knowles

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