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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2002 TONY PRICHARD Moth recording in Suffolk in 2002 showed continued signs of growth with over 37,000 records being received from recorders across the county for the year. This compares with around 24,000 records in 2001, nearly 16,000 records in 2000 and in 1996 only 4600 records. Since 1996 the number of recorders sending in records each year has averaged between 40 and 50 whereas in the early 1990s records were received from roughly half this number of recorders. This recent increase in annual totals of records submitted has been largely due to many recorders now submitting more detailed records where previously only yearly summaries were submitted. This increase in the quality and quantity of the data held in the county moth record database should hopefully assist future analysis of the fortunes of the county’s moth fauna. Surveying work for Archiearis notha (Hubner), Light Orange Underwing, continued in early 2002 with Neil Sherman and myself visiting Raydon Great Wood and Ramsey Wood. The former site is not too distant from the county’s only known location for this moth at Wolves Wood and would appear to have suitable habitat, in the form of mature aspen trees. A technique for finding the adults suggested in Tutt (1901) involves kicking the trunks of aspen trees to set up a vibration in the tree trunk. This vibration in the trunk causes the catkins on the top of the tree to shake – dislodging any adults that are at rest there so that from below the moths can be seen fluttering around the tree-tops. This method proved very successful at Wolves Wood this year but did not reveal any adults at the other two sites; Raydon Great Wood and Ramsey Wood. A new pyralid moth recorded in Suffolk during 2002 by Matthew Deans was Duponchelia fovealis Zeller. This adult was spotted inside the recorder’s house at Rendham on 16 August and of the few previous sightings of this moth in the country the majority have been made in similar circumstances. This leads to the question as to the origin of this moth – did it emerge from household plant material or is this species becoming established in the wild? The species is naturally distributed in the Mediterranean region and Canary Islands where it feeds on a wide variety of plants. In recent years it has been reported as an increasing threat to protected crops in countries in northern Europe (Clarke, 2000) – time will show whether the same story is repeated in this country. Two further records of interest from Rendham in 2002 were Nudaria mundana (L.), Muslin Footman and MacDunnoughia confusa (Stephens), Dewick’s Plusia. The former was attracted to light on 16 July 2002 (MD), this record may not be too unexpected as a previous record exists for this species from Rendham in 1994 (MF, AL). The status of this species in the county is still emerging so I thought it would be worth documenting these records. Rendham is a reasonable distance from the sites of other records of this moth in the north-eastern area of the county (Prichard, 2000) and would seem to indicate that this moth may exist undiscovered in other parts of the county. The M. confusa was recorded from the night of 15 August and would appear to be only the second record of this species in the county.

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During 2002 the Suffolk Moth Group continued surveying for Archanara neurica (Hubner), White-mantled Wainscot, in the coastal reed-bed habitats of the county. A visit to the North Warren R.S.P.B. Reserve on 26 July 2002 by the moth group was targeted at recording this species. The moth has historically been recorded from this site but does not appear to have been recorded from the site for many years. The moth group had made previous visits to the reserve in 1998 and 2001 in an attempt to confirm A. neurica’s continued presence at the site but without success. The visit in 2002 by the group proved the benefits of persistence and several individuals of A. neurica were recorded. This moth night was also memorable due to the remarkable number of species recorded on the night – 251 species being attracted to the 10 lights. Given the large number of species it is not surprising that there were others of note; Archanara sparganii (Esper), Webb’s Wainscot, Herminia tarsicrinalis (Knoch), Shaded Fan-foot, Noctua orbona Hufnagel, Lunar Yellow Underwing, Earias clorana (L.), Cream-bordered Green Pea, Meganola albula (D. & S.), Kent Black Arches, Xestia baja (D. & S.), Dotted Clay, Xestia ditrapezium (D. & S.), Triple-spotted Clay, Simyra albovenosa (Goeze), Reed Dagger and Macrochilo cribrumalis (Hubner), Dotted Fan-foot. A visit to the privately owned Benacre Broad was undertaken by the moth group on 2 August 2002. This meeting was also mainly directed at determining the presence of A. neurica at this location as suitable dry-reed bed habitat was present and prospects of finding the species seemed good, given our improved understanding of the species’ habitat requirements. On the night the moth was successfully recorded and this significant record extends further north its previously known range in the county. Other species of note recorded on the same evening were; Chortodes brevilinea (Fenn), Fenn’s Wainscot, Xestia rhomboidea (Esper), Square-spotted Clay, Meganola albula (D. & S.), Kent Black Arches, Simyra albovenosa (Goeze), Reed Dagger, Chilodes maritimus (Tauscher), Silky Wainscot, and Herminia tarsicrinalis (Knoch), Shaded Fan-foot. A Suffolk Moth Group meeting planned to record the moths along Chalk Lane in the King’s Forest on 21 June 2002 was relocated to the nearby picnic area due to problems gaining access to Chalk Lane. This was rather fortunate in hindsight as a new micro-lepidoptera for the county was recorded when the tortrix moth, Archips oporana, (L.), came to one of the light traps. This very local species is normally on the wing from the end of June through July in areas of southern Britain with the larvae feeding on Scots Pine, Silver Fir, White Spruce and Juniper. Increasing interest in the recording of the microlepidoptera and improved reference literature is reflected in some further new county records of micro-lepidoptera. Pseudotelphusa scalella (Scop.), a gelechiid moth, was recorded in the county for the first time at Ipswich (TP) on 13 June 2002. The lifecycle of this species is not currently well understood with possible foodplants including oak or moss. The moth is widespread across the south of the country and usually flies in May and June. The rather scarce Spatalistis bifasciana (Hubner) was recorded at Bentley Long Wood on 30 May 2002 (TP). The larvae of this moth feed in the berries of Buckthorn, Alder Buckthorn or Dogwood with the adult normally flying during June and July. The species nationally would appear to be largely confined to the

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southern counties. Further micro-lepidoptera records of note from 2002 included; Acleris literana (L.) at Ramsey Wood on 19 April 2002 (SMG), only the second site in Suffolk for this species in recent years and the plume Merrifieldia tridactyla (L.) at Sicklesmere (3 August 2002, SD). The tortrix, Lobesia reliquana (Hubner) was recorded at Wherstead Wood (18 May 2002, TP) and King’s Forest (17 May 2002, SMG). This species, whose larvae feed on oak, blackthorn and birch, is widely distributed across Britain but has been infrequently recorded in the county in modern times. Eilema sororcula (Hufnagel), Orange Footman, continues to appear regularly at light at various sites within Suffolk. New sites where the species was recorded in 2002 include; Barnhamcross Common (15 June 2002, SBBC), Carlton Marshes (12 July 2002, SMG), Clare (14 June 2002, SMG), Eye (17 May 2002, PK), King’s Forest (17 May 2002, SMG), Saxmundham (2002, DY), Sizewell (10 May 2002, SMG) and Tunstall Forest (2002, DY). Conversely the pyralid Platytes alpinella (Hubner) appears to have returned to its former lower levels of abundance following good years in 1998 and 1999. Since 1999 records of this species have only been received from 1 or 2 sites a year and in 2002 the moth was only recorded from Orfordness (17 August 2002, JA, MM) and Landguard Common (28 July 2002, NO & MM). Heliothis viriplaca (Hufnagel), Marbled Clover, also seems to vary in its abundance from year to year. Following a relative increase in its recording during the mid-1990s this species appears to have returned to previous low levels. Records in 2002 of H. viriplaca were made at Maidscross Hill, Lakenheath (AM, 2002), Eriswell (22 June 2002, SD) and Orfordness (JA & MM, 22 June 2002). At Shingle Street on 27 July 2002 the pyralid, Cynaeda dentalis (D. & S.) (see Plate 4), was rather unexpectedly attracted to the lights being operated on the vegetated shingle. This was not a species thought to be currently resident in the county, although vague references to this species’ past occurrence in Suffolk are made in Beirne (1952) and Parsons (1993) no mention of the species is included in Aston (1961). I have been unable to trace the origins of the ‘Suffolk’ references to this species in the literature so I would appreciate any information that would shed more light on where and when the moth was previously recorded in the county. The origin of the adult that appeared to light poses a bit of a mystery as this site has been visited by moth recorders in the past and, as far as I am aware, without recording C. dentalis. The mystery deepened when a further adult was recorded at light on Orfordness (23 August 2002, SMG, JA, MM). The larvae of this species feed internally within the stems of Viper’s Bugloss. The foodplant occurs at both Shingle Street and Orfordness and other sites along the Suffolk coast so it may be possible that this area supports C. dentalis. The origin of these two individuals remains currently unresolved – has this moth been resident in Suffolk for many years, possibly at low density in a small area, has it recently arrived and become temporarily resident or were these merely records of wandering individuals? This year National Moth Night was held on 15 June 2002 and the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation held a moth night at Barnhamcross Common. This national event continues to raise the profile of moth recording across the country and support for the event continues to grow nationwide.

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One of the objectives of the Suffolk meeting was to look for Heliophobus reticulata (Goeze), Bordered Gothic, a species that has undergone a dramatic decline in recent years, with fears of possible extinction occurring in the future. H. reticulata failed to make an appearance but some other species of interest did; Thisanotia chrysonuchella (Scop.), Euzophera cinerosella (Zeller), Epirrhoe rivata (Hubner), Wood Carpet, Lithostege griseata (D. & S.), Grey Carpet, Eilema sororcula (Hufnagel), Orange Footman, Apamea sublustris (Esper), Reddish Light Arches, Elaphria venustula (Hubner), Rosy Marbled and Phtheochroa sodaliana (Haw.). Eana incanana (Stephens) is a tortrix moth whose larvae feed on the flowers and developing seed-heads of bluebells. In contrast to the relatively widespread occurrence of bluebells in the county’s woods there are few records of this species. The adult moth looks superficially like an adult Cnephasia and it is this similarity to this problematic genus that may explain why it may be being over-looked. In 2002 this species was recorded from Cutlers Wood on 5 July 2002 (SMG) and Offton Middle Wood on 10 July 2002 (TP, GB, NS). Recorders are requested to look more closely at prospective Cnephasia in suitable habitats during July as it is expected that this moth is more widespread than the current records indicate. Mesoleuca albicillata (Hubner), Beautiful Carpet, in contrast, is a readily identifiable species and was also recorded at the same meeting at Cutlers Wood. This species, which feeds as a larva on bramble from the middle of July to early September, and possibly surprisingly given the prevalence of its foodplant, is recorded infrequently at light across the county. A further species of interest recorded at Cutlers Wood on the same night was Incurvaria oehlmanniella (Hubner) that flies later in the year, June and July, than the similar but more common Incurvaria masculella (D. & S.). The larvae of the former species are known to feed on bilberry, dogwood and various species of Prunus. Previous records of Eupithecia egenaria H. & S., Fletcher’s Pug/Pauper Pug, in the county have previously been restricted to the west of the county. At a Suffolk Moth Group meeting at Minsmere (2 June 2002) several individuals of this moth were recorded at light amongst the avenues of common lime trees lining the entrance road to the reserve. It would seem that this moth could very well be discovered in other areas across the county in years to come. As well as searching for the adult moth using light the larvae of the moth may also be sought by beating lime when it is in flower during late June and July. The nationally rare, Luperina nickerlii (Freyer), Sandhill Rustic, may be confused with the more common Luperina testacea (D. & S.), Flounced Rustic, especially when recording on saltmarsh sites, L. nickerlii’s preferred habitat. This species may be easily overlooked if not specifically sought for among the greater numbers of the commoner L. testacea that appear to light. In 2002 this species was recorded at the following new sites; Kirton (31 July 2002, SMG), Landguard (5 September to 23 September 2002, NO & MM) and Orfordness (23 August 2002, SMG). Following comments on its discovery in the county (Prichard, 2002) further records of Dioryctria sylvestrella (Ratzeburg) were received during the year from Kenton Hills (16 August 2002, SMG) where over 15 individuals were noted and King’s Forest (6 September 2002, SMG).

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The occurrence of Acleris logiana (Clerck) in the county came to light this year. Original specimens from Martlesham Heath (October 1997, TP) and Burgh (7 April 1999, NS & TP) were initially identified as A. logiana but on consulting the literature (Bradley et al., 1973) were attributed to Acleris kochiella (Goeze) (=boscana) as A. logiana was stated to only occur in Scotland. Determination by dissection has since shown that these specimens are in fact A. logiana and I understand that the species has also been recorded in other areas of southern Britain. Further examples of this species, that is associated with birch woods, were recorded in 2001 and 2002 from Ipswich Golf Course (NS) on the following dates; 3 December 2001, 1 February 2002, 26 February 2002, 3 July 2002 and 28 October 2002; the July record providing some evidence for the idea that this species may be double-brooded in the southern counties. Leaf-miner recording in the autumn of 2002 provided some new vicecounty records and further new records for the county are likely to appear in the future as the popularity of recording this group of lepidoptera continues to gain interest. Records of particular note for the year include, Ectoedemia rubivora (Wocke) and Incurvaria pectinea Haworth at Bradfield Woods (20 October 2002, TP and Caloptilia azaleella (Brants), Azalea Leaf Miner, discovered by NS in a garden centre in Woodbridge on 31 December 2002. The mine of one of our smallest lepidoptera Enteucha acetosae (Stainton) was noted at Ipswich Golf Course (8 July 2002, NS) on sheep’s sorrel. Regular moth recording was started this year at Dunwich Heath NT by Mark Cornish and results from the first year were rather promising with the following highlights; Scopula rubuginata (Hufnagel), Tawny Wave, Scotopteryx luridata (Hufnagel), July Belle, Ennomos autumnaria (Werneburg), Large Thorn, Diacrisia sannio (L.), Clouded Buff, Spilosoma urticae (Esper), Water Ermine, Meganola albula (D. & S.), Kent Black Arches, Euxoa cursoria (Hufnagel), Coast Dart, Sideridis albicolon (Hubner), White Colon, Mythimna flammea (Curtis), Flame Wainscot, Aporophyla nigra (Haworth), Black Rustic, Chortodes elymi (Treitschke), Lyme Grass, and Hydraecia petasitis Doubleday, Butterbur. Records from Orfordness in 2002, another coastal site where recording continued this year included; Crambus hamella (Thunberg) , Orthosia opima (Hubner), Northern Drab, Archanara sparganii (Esper), Webb’s Wainscot, Chilonodes maritimus (Tauscher), Silky Wainscot, Cucullia chamomillae (D. & S.), Chamomile Shark, Aporophyla nigra (Haworth), Black Rustic and Cryphia muralis (Forster), Marbled Green. The year 2002 may not be remembered as an outstanding migrant year by many recorders but during the year some recorders had more success than others. The most notable records were Schinia scutosa (D. & S.), Spotted Clover, at Denham on 6 September 2002 (NW); Trichoplusia ni (Hubner), Ni Moth, at Landguard on 22 August 2002 (NO & MM) and again at Landguard Trachea atriplicis (L.), Orache Moth, on 18 July 2002 (NO & MM). Migrant records from Orfordness included; Macroglossum stellatarum (L.), Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Orthonama obstipata (Fab.), Gem, and Mythimna l-album (L.), L-album Wainscot. Recording during the year at Dunwich NT also produced a good selection of migrant records; Orthonama obstipata (Fab.), Gem, Macroglossum stellatarum (L.), Hummingbird Hawk-moth,

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Agrius convolvuli (L.), Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Hyles gallii (Rott.), Bedstraw Hawk-moth, Mythimna vitellina (Hubner), Delicate, Mythimna unipuncta (Haworth), White-speck, Mythimna l-album (L.), L-album Wainscot, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner), Scarce Bordered Straw and Heliothis peltigera (D. & S.) Bordered Straw (see Plate 5). Further reports of Orthonama obstipata (Fab.), Gem, during the year were received from Martlesham Heath (SG), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Denham (NW), Bawdsey (MD), Eye (PK), Great Cornard (SR) and Weston (NM). Heliothis peltigera (D. & S.), Bordered Straw, was recorded at Needham Market (TP), East Bergholt (JL), Rendham (MD) and Nowton (RE). Mythimna vitellina (Hubner), Delicate, also from Nowton (RE). Agrius convolvuli (L.), Convolvulus Hawk-moth, was reported from Southwold (LT) and Weston (NM). Although it has not yet been recorded from Suffolk I thought it would be worthwhile bringing to the attention of moth recorders in the county the arrival of Cameraria ohridella Deschka & Dimic, The Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner, in Britain. This moth has spread rapidly across Europe in recent years and has caused concern due to its unsightly and possibly detrimental effect on its foodplant, Aesculus hippocastanum, the Horse Chestnut tree. The mines of the caterpillar in the leaves, usually at high density, cause a brown discoloration of the leaves noticeable some distance from the tree. It has now been recorded in this country in the vicinity of London and given the rapid spread of this species on the continent it must only be a few years before this species is recorded in Suffolk. Please continue to send your moth records and any observations to myself 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 moth recorders who have submitted records during the year, not only those whose records and comments are mentioned here; Jim Asher (JA), Graham Bull (GB), Jon Clifton (JC), Mark Cornish (MC), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), Rafe Eley (RE), Malcolm Farrow (MF), Steve Goddard (SG), Paul Kitchener (PK), Alison Lea (AL), Jack Levene (JL), Alan Main (AM), Mike Marsh (MM), Norman Muddeman (NM), Nigel Odin (NO), Tony Prichard (TP), Stuart Read (SR), Neil Sherman (NS), Lenny Townsend (LT), Nigel Whinney (NW), David Young (DY), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG) and Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation (SBBC). References Aston, A. (1961). Supplement to the Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 11: 479–488. Beirne, B. P. (1952). British Pyralid and Plume Moths. Warne. Bradley, J. D., Tremewan, W. G., Smith, A. (1973). British Tortricoid Moths, Cochylidae and Tortricidae: Tortricinae. The Ray Society.

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Bradley, J. D. (2000). Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles. Second edition (revised). Fordingbridge, Hants: D. J. Bradley & M. J. Bradley. Clarke, J. S. (2000). Duponchelia fovealis (Zell.) arriving on imported plant material. Atropos 10: 20–21. Parsons, M. S. (1993). A review of the scarce and threatened pyralid moths of Great Britain. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. Prichard, A.W. (2001). Comments and Notes on some Suffolk Moths in 2000. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 37: 83–88. Prichard, A.W. (2002). Comments and Notes on some Suffolk Moths in 2001. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 38: 129–135. Tutt, J.W. (1901). Practical Hints for the Field Lepidopterist. The Amateur Entomologists’ Society. (1994 reprint). Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 39 (2003)


N. Sherman S. Dumican

Plate 4: ‘Starry brindled pearl’, a pyralid moth, Cynaeda dentalis Denis & Schiff. at Shingle Street on the 27 July 2002 and at light on Orfordness (23 August 2002. An extremely local micro-moth frequenting coastal localities. The larva feeds in the stem and on the leaf bases of viper's bugloss (p. 31).

Plate 5: Bordered Straw, Heliothis peltigera Denis & Schiff. A migrant species seen at Dunwich and Needham Market in 2002 (p. 34).

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2002  

Tony Prichard

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