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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2006 A. W. PRICHARD At the start of the year there was no indication that this would be a rather memorable year, with a profusion of migrant species making their way to the county and adding several new species to the county list. Conditions for moth recording in the county remained generally poor until the end of May. June and July brought a couple of months of good weather, followed by a rather wet August before the season ended with generally very favourable weather. From July until the tail-end of the recording season in October the coastal recording stations were regularly recording unusual migrant species along with the more common migrants. Returning to the earlier part of the year, a Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica (Clerck) was recorded at Milden by Juliet Hawkins on 21 April, a new species for the county. This moth had been expected in the county and this record adds to the picture of its continuing easterly advance across the country. The county moth group held a meeting near Benacre Broad, Covehithe on the 12 May. A reasonable selection of spring-time species were recorded and in an area of woodland near to the reed-beds Flame Wainscot Senta flammea (Curtis), Redgreen Carpet Chloroclysta siterata (Hufnagel) and Reed Dagger Simyra albovenosa (Goeze) appeared at light. A singleton Acleris logiana (Clerck) was also of interest, with this species appearing to be reasonably well established in the Sandlings. More interesting was the single Many-lined Costaconvexa polygrammata (Borkhausen) that also came to the sheet light. This species was once resident in the fens of East Anglia but became extinct in the 19th Century and since then occasional migrant records have been made, predominantly along the south coast. On the same night two other records of this species were made in Norfolk supporting the view that these moths were of migrant origin. A second influx of this species occurred in July with the moth appearing at Bawdsey (MD, 17 July), Minsmere (RH, 23 July) and Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 23 July). As the year progressed into June two presumed migrant/wandering species were added to the county list with Little Thorn Cepphis advenaria (HĂźbner) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 12 June) and Evergestis limbata (L.) at Bawdsey (MD, 23 June). The uncommon migrant Silver Barred Deltote bankiana (Fab.) was recorded at a few of the coastal sites; Bawdsey (MD, 13 June, 4 and 6 July), Orfordness (per DC, 12 June and 7 July) and Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 19 June). The rare migrant Spurge Hawk-moth Hyles euphorbiae (L.) was recorded at light at a couple of locations Landguard Common (NO, 24 and 27 June) and Rendham (MD, 16 August). Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica (Esp.), a slightly more frequent visitor, appeared at a few sites over the season at Minsmere (RH, 17 May), Worlington (TJ, 17 June) and Bawdsey (MD, 19 August). Red-necked Footman Atolmis rubricollis (L.) seems to have become a regular migrant recorded in the county over recent years and it could possibly have colonised certain areas, although this remains to be confirmed. In 2006 it was noted at Bawdsey (MD, 11 June, 4 July), Thetford (SC, 11 June), Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 12 June), Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 2, 5 and 20 July) and Kelsale-cum-Carlton (DI, 2006).

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A rather elusive and infrequently recorded species in the county is Alder Kitten Furcula bicuspis (Borkhausen). This species is resident in neighbouring Norfolk but for some reason does not appear to favour Suffolk. The larva feeds on alder (Alnus glutinosa) and birch (Betula). It was slightly unusual for two individuals of this moth to be recorded in one year, the first near Thetford (SC, 11 June) and the second at Redgrave Fen (SMG, 16 June). Ancylis diminutana (Haw.) was also recorded at both sites at the same time. The larvae feed on sallow (Salix), spinning the leaves together into a ‘pod’ within which it resides. Oblique Carpet Orthonama vittata (Borkhausen) was a further notable species recorded at Redgrave Fen, an unusual record as this moth appears mainly coastal in its distribution in Suffolk. The Suffolk Moth Group held one of its meeting at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Lackford Lakes. The group regularly records at West Stow Country Park, which is almost directly opposite the reserve, on the other side of the River Lark. The two sites differ in their habitats with the Lackford Lakes site having more fen and deciduous woodland areas along with sallow or alder carr. Macro-lepidoptera of note recorded at the meeting on the 7 July included Dotted Fan-foot Macrochilo cribrumalis (Hübner), Double Lobed Apamea ophiogramma (Esp.), Coronet Craniophora ligustri (D. & S.) and Small Seraphim Pterapherapteryx sexalata (Retzius). Of more interest possibly were some of the micro-lepidoptera recorded, these included the only recent record of Apotomis semifasciana (Haw.) in the west of the county, Ethmia dodecea (Haw.), Platytes alpinella (Hübner), Phlyctaenia perlucidalis (Hübner) and Pempeliella dilutella (D. & S.). The latter species feeds as a larva on thyme (Thymus) and the few records that we have of this species have come predominantly from Suffolk Breckland. In July migrant records accounted for two new species for Suffolk with Elegia similella (Zincken) at Minsmere (JL & J Higgott, 18 July) and Scarce Dagger Acronicta auricoma (D. & S.) at Orfordness (per DC, 22 July). Other migrant records included Feathered Beauty Peribatodes secundaria (Esp.) at Bawdsey (MD, 4 July), Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla (D. & S.) at Cavenham Heath (SMG, 15 July) and Scarce Black Arches Nola aerugula (Hübner) at Bawdsey (MD, 19 July), Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 19 and 20 July) and further inland at Mendlesham (SW, 25 July). Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae (Fab.) has been recorded annually at Landguard Common since 2003 and Bawdsey since 2005, which may suggest that the species has established itself in the area. Further records were made in 2006 at Bawdsey (MD, 25 and 26 July, 8 and 16 August) and Landguard Common (NO, 21, 25 and 26 July). It was also noted at Orfordness (per DC, 22 July). Two further migrants appearing in July were Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites (Esp.) at Aldeburgh (SMG, 21 July) and Ni Moth Trichoplusia ni (Hübner) at Landguard Common (NO, 29 July). After surveying by the Suffolk Moth Group in the coastal fens over recent years the current distribution of White-mantled Wainscot Archaneura neurica (Hübner) appeared to be reasonably well established. The moth appears in suitable fens between Thorpeness and Covehithe. There was some indication that the moth may have recently established itself in the reed-beds between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, at the southern end of its known distribution, and

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 43 (2007)


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the moth was recorded there again this year at a moth group meeting on 21 July. Records this year from Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 20 July) and Shingle Street (TP & SW, 22 July) therefore were rather unexpected. These records suggest a significant extension in the moth’s southerly distribution as the sites are regularly recorded sites and it would be surprising if the species had previously been over-looked. As recorders continue to study and gain expertise in the smaller lepidoptera of the county additions are made to the county list – Nemapogon wolffiella (Karsholt & Nielsen) at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (J Higgott per RH, 29 June), Monopis crocicapitella (Clemens) at Landguard Common (NO, 20– 22 July and 22 August), Coleophora adspersella Benander at Orfordness (per DC, 7 July), Monochroa hornigi (Staudinger) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 2 July, gen. det. JC), Mompha langiella (Hübner) as larval mines at Elveden (BP, 17 July), Syncopacma larseniella (Gozmány) at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (RH & J Higgott, 19 June and 7 July) and Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 27 July) . During a Suffolk Naturalists’ Society field meeting at Great Glemham Coleophora conyzae Zeller larval cases were found on fleabane along with cases of the more common Coleophora follicularis (Vallot) (TP, 21 June). The Elachistidae is an under-recorded family of micro-lepidoptera where the larvae feed by mining the leaves of their foodplant – predominantly grasses. In 2006 Elachista pomerana (Frey) was recorded at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (JL & J Higgott, 18 July) as a new species to the county. Two further interesting records from this family were made at Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, gen. det. JC) in 2006 with Biselachista utonella (Frey) on 30 July, apparently the only record of this species in the county in recent times and Biselachista scirpi (Stainton) another poorly recorded species on 12 June. August saw a further species added to the county list with several records of Scarce Silver Y Syngrapha interrogationis (L.) from Ipswich (JCa, 5 August), Landguard (NO, 6 August), Minsmere (RH & J Higgott, 5 and 12 August), Bawdsey (MD, 13 August), Hollesley (NM, 14 August) and Nowton (RE). Other migrant records of note included Eupoecilia ambiguella (Hübner) noted at Landguard (NO) and at Bawdsey in August (MD), Cydia amplana (Hübner) at Hollesley (NM, 26 August), Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi (Dup.) at Bawdsey (MD, 24 August) and Golden-rod Brindle Lithomoia solidaginis (Hübner) at Sicklesmere (SD, 20 August). The once resident Portland Moth Actebia praecox (L.) also appeared as a migrant at Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 18 August). Two records of Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata (Rambur) appeared close together at Bawdsey (MD, 14 August) and Hollesley (NM, 15 August). The usually rare migrant Great Brocade Eurois occulta (L.) appeared in unusually high numbers in both eastern and western parts of the county at Landguard (NO, 3 and 4 August), Elveden (SD, 4–5 August), Euston (SD, 4– 18 August), Blythburgh (DW, 5 and 16 August), Bawdsey (MD, 15 August), Hollesley (NM, 16 August), Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 16 and 17 August), Foxburrow Farm (NM, 17 August), Nowton (RE, 2006) and Barrow (AP, 2006). Migrant activity was exceptional in September with recorders on the coast adding yet further species to the county list. These included the microlepidoptera species Euchromius ocellea (Haw.) at Bawdsey (MD, 29

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September), Hellula undalis (Fab.) at Languard (NO, 14 September) and Antigastra catalaunalis (Duponchel) at Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 15 September), Bawdsey (MD, 15 September), Reydon (A Cornish) and Landguard (NO, 21 September). New macro-lepidoptera included the aptly named Beautiful Marbled Eublemma purpurina (D. & S.) at Bawdsey (MD, 21 September) and Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 23 September) and Blair’s Wainscot Sedina buettneri (Hering) at Rendham (MD, 23 September). Normally a very rare migrant to our county, with the last record in 2001, an influx of Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra (L.) occurred in September at several sites near or on the coast, with nightly catches sometimes reaching double figures. Recorded sites included Landguard Common (NO, 11 and 14 September), Minsmere (RH et al., 14–18 20, 21, 23, 24 and 26 September), Bawdsey (MD, 14–16 September), Blythburgh (DW, 14–17 September), Rendham (MD, 15 September), Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 14 and 16–18 September), Hollesley (NM, 16, 17 and 23 September), Reydon (BW, 14 and 17 September), Shingle Street (NM, 16 September) and Westleton (KA, between 18 and 21 September). Other migrants of note that first appeared during the month of September were Porter’s Rustic Proxenus hospes (Freyer) at Bawdsey (16 September), Clancy’s Rustic Platyperigea kadenii (Freyer) at Bawdsey (MD, 18 September, between 10 and 30 October), the only recent record of Uresphita polygonalis (D. & S.) at Landguard Common (NO, 30 September), a rather worn specimen of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini (L.) at Blythburgh (DW, 21 September) and singletons of Death’s-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos (L.) at Darsham (Anon., 9 September), Sudbourne (MF, 30 September) and Wrentham (DR, October). In October, as resident moth activity declined for most of the county’s inland recorders, migrant activity along the coast continued to produce records of interest and note. A second influx of Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites (Esp.) occurred turning up at Bawdsey (MD, between 17 and 29 October), Blythburgh (DW, 17 October), Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 15 and 16 October), Landguard Common (NO, 29 July and 16 October) and Orfordness (per DC, 10 September). One of the few inland rarer migrant records reported at this time was a Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta (Hübner) at Eye (PK, 16 October). This being a very irregular migrant to our county, although the previous record was made only two years ago at Bawdsey (MD, 8 November 2004). Other migrants in the month of October included Redheaded Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala (D. & S.) at Bawdsey (MD, 12 October), Crocidosema plebejana Zeller at Landguard (MH et al., 10–30 October) and Bawdsey (MD, 17, 27 and 29 October), Diasemiopsis ramburialis (Dup.) at Dunwich Heath (DB, 15 and 24 October) and Landguard Common (NO, 24 October), Palpita vitrealis (Rossi) at Bawdsey (MD, 24 September, 17 and 29 October), Ipswich (LC, 21 October), Landguard Common (NO, 9 October) and Dunwich Heath (CM & DB) and lastly Silverstriped Hawk-moth Hyles celerio (L.) at Dunwich Heath (MD, 15 October) Some of the commoner migrant species were recorded in too great a number in 2006 to detail but here are listed only: Udea ferrugalis (Hübner), Nomophila noctuella (D. & S.), Vestal Rhodometra sacraria (L.), Gem Orthonama obstipata (Fab.), Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli (L.),

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Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum (L.), Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel), Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia (Hübner), Delicate Mythimna vitellina (Hübner), Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) and Silver Y Autographa gamma (L.). Sciota adelphella (Fischer von Röslerstamm) was recorded at Bawdsey (MD), Eye (PK), Hollesley (NM), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Landguard (NO) and Shingle Street (NM). The Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) did not live up to its name in 2006 with numerous records from around the county and, for this year at least, was more numerous than the normally commoner Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera (D. & S.). With the addition of so many migrant species to the county list during the year I wonder about the value of such a list without any further contextual information for each species. How important to our understanding of the county moth fauna are species that arrive here solely due to foreign populations and the prevailing weather systems? They may well be a source of potential colonists and this has turned out to be the case for a few species in recent years. For the majority though they continue to be just periodic visitors to the county. The county list also contains moth species that have become extinct in the county but these are poorly documented. It is harder to prove that a species has disappeared from the county in comparison to proving its existence but the disappearance of a species from the county is surely as important as the discovery of an addition. This is a problem that becomes harder with some of the more poorly recorded micro-lepidoptera where the absence of any recent records may be due solely to the lack of recording effort. What purpose would we like the county list to serve in our studying of the county’s moth fauna in the future? I expect something more than simple listing those species recorded in the county and possibly giving more significance to the current resident species. I would like to thank those moth recorders who have submitted records during the year, not only those whose records and comments are mentioned here; K Alexander (KA), David Brougham (DB), Jan Cawston (JCa), Sean Clancy (SC), Jon Clifton (JC), Dave Cormack (DC), Liz Cutting (LC), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), Rafe Eley (RE), Malcolm Farrow (MF), Tim Freed (TF), Robin Harvey (RH), Doug Ireland (DI), Paul Kitchener (PK), John Langmaid (JL), Nick Mason (NM), Clive Moore (CM), Bob Palmer (BP), Adrian Parr (AP), David Riley (DR), Neil Sherman (NS), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG), Barry Wentworth (BW), David Wilson (DW), Steve Woolnough (SW) 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. References Morley, C. 1937. Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Ipswich: Suffolk Naturalists’ Society. Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 43 (2007)

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2006  

Tony Prichard

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