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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2007 A. W. PRICHARD After the success of the previous year 2007 made a cold start and the numbers and diversity of moths being recorded was limited in contrast to some of the recent warm early springs. An average March was followed by an exceptionally warm and dry April that led to busy moth traps and many species emerging early. There were hopes that this was a sign that 2007 would be as good for moth recording as 2006 but from May onwards the weather deteriorated and never really recovered for the whole of the summer. Recorders in the county were reporting poor catches from late spring through to early autumn. Autumn and winter recording appears to have been more in line with an average year although moth numbers appeared to be generally lower than the norm and the number of migrants was considerably reduced. Epinotia granitana (H.-S.) was reported as a species new to Britain (Beaumont, 2007) during the year and discovered in Suffolk. This tortrix moth was found by Harry Beaumont at the Center Parcs Holiday Village near Elveden during a visit over the period 14–17 May. HB found the moth on an oak tree, lodged deep in a crevice, during some daytime searches for psychid cases on 15 May. The moth is known to feed as a larva on the needles of Norway Spruce Picea abies and a mature plantation of the foodplant was growing near to where the moth was found. This may suggest the moth is resident at the site and possibly elsewhere in the county. The search for psychid cases also provided a record of the psychid Diplodoma laichartingella (Goeze) (GF, 14 May), a poorly recorded species. The larva forms an untidy case from a wide variety of small pieces of detritus – grit, plant material and parts of dead insects and can be found climbing tree-trunks in woodland in the spring and is easier to locate on trees having smoother bark. Some further records of note from the visit included Dioryctria schuetzella Fuchs (GF, 12 July), Eulamprotes atrella (D. & S.) (GF, 10 July), Archips oporana (L.) (GF, 12 July) and Assara terebrella (Zincken) (GF, 9 & 12 July). There were several sightings of Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum (L.) during the period mid-February to April at Sudbury (MWh, 11 February), Gorleston-on-Sea (KK & PA, 20 February), Ipswich (RS, 26 March), Trimley Marshes (MWr, 12 April) and Blaxhall (RP, 28 April). As the season progressed into April a couple of more interesting migrants were recorded at Bawdsey by Matthew Deans. A new macro-lepidoptera species for the county was Dotted Chestnut Consitra rubiginea (D. & S.) on the night of 16 April followed by a Blossom Underwing Orthosia miniosa (D. & S.) on 22 April. Continuing into May a Blair’s Mocha Cyclophoria puppillaria (Hübner) found at Ipswich (NS, 24 May) was a further migrant of note, being the second record for the county and the first in East Suffolk (the previous record was from the King’s Forest (RE, 1996)). It proved a poor year for the Light Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias (L.) with only two reports received (TP, singleton on 31 March & NS, two on 6 April) at its only known site in Suffolk, Wolves Wood. Over the winter large areas in the western part of the wood, where the majority of

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sightings have occurred, had been coppiced with almost all the mature Aspen Populus tremula trees being removed. It waits to be seen whether the combined pressures of poor weather during the flight period and extensive change in habitat puts an excessive strain on the population. Since the arrival in Suffolk of Pale Pinion Lithopane hepatica (Clerck) in 2006 this species has been recorded at several sites in 2007 – Monks Eleigh (AW, 14 March), Hollesley (NM, 19 May), Elveden (SD, 8–21 April), Sicklesmere (SD, 23 March), Nowton (RE) and Landguard (NO & MM, 13 March). The widespread nature of some of these records would suggest that the species is likely to be a rapid colonist of the county. A few such moth species still continue to thrive and expand their range against a backdrop of generally decreasing moth populations and reductions in distribution. The recording of the pyralid Vitula biviella (Zeller) as a new species occurring in the county was reported in [Langmaid & Young, 2007] when it was found at light in Rushmere St Andrew on 19 July 2006 (J Higgott). In 2007 the moth occurred frequently at two sites (NS, Ipswich on 18 nights) and (MD, Bawdsey on 14 nights) between mid-June and mid-August. It was also recorded on a couple of occasions from Hollesley (NM) on 25 & 27 July. This would seem strong evidence that the species is now resident in at least two locations in the county and another species that appears to be faring well, at least in the short term. There were some records of note for the under-recorded family of Coleophoridae during the year and although a large number of the species in this family can be identified from their case-bearing larvae most of the notable records were from adults recorded at light – Coleophora binderella (Koller) at Minsmere (JL, J Higgott & RH, 28 July), Coleophora therinella Tengström at Eye (PK gen. det. JC, 13 July), Coleophora salinella Stainton at Dunwich Heath (CM & DB gen. det. JC, 12 August), Coleophora taeniipennella H.-S. at Dunwich Heath (CM & DB gen. det. JC Dunwich Heath 1 August) and Minsmere (JL, J Higgott & RH, 27 July) and Coleophora clypeiferella Hofmann (CM & DB gen. det. JC, 29 July). A larval record of note was Coleophora milvipennis Zeller on birch Betula at Thorpeness (TP, 29 October). The plume moth Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla (D. & S.) has been seen only a couple of times in the county previously to 2007 at Landguard Common (NO, 1997) and Cavenham Heath (SMG, 15 July 2006). During the year it was recorded a further two times not far from the coast at Lower Hollesley Common (NM, & MD, 10 July) and at Bawdsey (MD, 12 July), with both of these individuals considered to be of migrant origin. A few further miscellaneous records of notable micro-lepidoptera for the year were Recurvaria nanella (D. & S.) at Ipswich (NS, 4 August), Caryocolum vicinella (Douglas) at Orford Ness (MM & JA, 28 July), Acleris kochiella (Goeze) at Minsmere (RH, 6 March) and Pammene obscurana (Stephens) at Ipswich (NS, 23 April). The distinctive Dentated Pug Anticollix sparsata (Treitschke) was seen at a Suffolk Moth Group meeting at Pashford Poors Fen on 15 June. It would seem

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to be a rare moth in Suffolk with the only other known records of this species being from the North Cove area (NM, 2003 and 2006). The larvae feeds on Yellow Loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris and would be expected to occur elsewere in the county based on the distribution of the foodplant – it has been found just across the county border into Norfolk at Lopham Fen. At the same SMG meeting Grey Carpet Lithostege griseata (D. & S.), Blackneck Lygephila pastinum (Treitschke), Epinotia demarniana (Fischer von Röslerstamm) and Phlyctaenia perlucidalis (Hübner) were also attracted to light. The moth group held a joint meeting with the Essex Moth Group at a plant nursery on the outskirts of East Bergholt on the night of 13 July. This offered a good opportunity to socialise with moth recorders from the neighbouring county as well as the main activity of recording. As the nursery grounds contain some exotic plants there was always the possibility of something out of the ordinary appearing at the lights. Prior to setting up the light traps swarms of the recent colonist Ectoedemia heringella (Mariani) were observed swarming around their foodplant Holm Oak Quercus ilex. A single Dioryctria schuetzella Fuchs (TP & GB, 13 July) was the highlight of the night but there were further records of note with Shaded Fan-foot Herminia tarsicrinalis (Knoch), Festoon Apoda limacodes (Hufnagel), and Anania verbascalis (D. & S.) from a total of 105 species recorded. The tortrix Spilonota laricana (Heinemann) is a species that may be being over-looked by recorders due to its similarity with S. ocellana (D. & S.) and in 2007 the species was recorded from Ipswich (NS, 10 July). S. ocellana is widespread in the county with the larva feeding on a wide variety of trees and shrubs, while the larva of S. laricana feeds on larches Larix and Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis and is little known in the county. When encountering darker specimens of S. ocellana, particularly in the vicinity of any larches, it would be worth considering S. laricana as a possibility. Of the two closely related species, Treble-bar Aplocera plagiata (L.) and Lesser Treble-bar Aplocera efformata (Guenée), Treble-bar is the more widespread and commoner species within the county, being found in most places where its foodplant occurs. The reason for this difference in prevalence is not readily apparent as the two species feed on similar foodplants – various types of St John’s Wort Hypericum – and also have similar lifecycles with two broods during the year. As records of Lesser Treble-bar occur at infrequent intervals the recording of the species at King’s Forest (JL & J Higgott, 27 July) is worthy of mention. The Suffolk Moth Group (SMG) held a recording meeting at the Lackford Lakes SWT reserve on 3 August. This was one of the more successful events for the group during the year with over 130 species recorded. Of particular interest was the rare Salix-feeding tortrix Apotomis semifasciana (Haw.) and from the macro-lepidoptera the Red Data Book species Marbled Clover Heliothis viriplaca (Hufnagel) and Tawny Wave Scopula rubiginata (Hufnagel). Other localised species recorded included Stathmopoda pedella (L.), Phtheochroa inopiana (Haw.), Mere Wainscot Chortodes fluxa (Hübner), Square-spotted Clay Xestia rhomboidea (Esper) and Small Wainscot Chortodes pygmina (Haw.).

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Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae (Fab.) is now regularly recorded in ones and twos at a couple of coastal sites – Landguard (NO & MM, 4, 7, 8 & 10 August) and Bawdsey (MD, 13 July, 3, 5, 11–13 August) – with an additional record from further inland at Ipswich (NS, 5 August). As with other coastal areas in the south of the country it would appear that this species has now established itself – one would expect sightings at other coastal recording stations in the same time frame if all these individuals were of a migrant origin. Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea (D. & S.) is now regularly recorded in the Felixstowe Peninsula and surrounding areas with records since 2004 from Landguard, Trimley St Martin and Bawdsey. Three sightings of this species in Ipswich (LC, 12, 18 & 28 July) may indicate that the species has begun to extend its range further inland. The leaf-mining lepidoptera produced some significant records during the year. A new species to the county Phyllonorycter comparella (Dup.) was recorded as leaf-mines at a couple of sites in the west – Knettishall Heath (TP, 4 August) and Mildenhall (TP, 8 October). The larvae form typical Phyllonorycter mines on the underside of White Poplar Populus alba and Grey Poplar Populus canescens during July, September and October. There is another species, Caloptilia stigmatella (Fab.), that mines Populus and may produce similar mines but the larva of this species will leave the mine to pupate. As P. comparella pupates within the mine this allows the two species to be distinguished once the larva has pupated. As an under-recorded group it can be difficult to say with confidence for some of the rarely recorded leaf-mining lepidoptera whether the lack of records is due to genuine rarity in the county or not. I list here some records for species for which we have few previous records – Bohemannia quadrimaculella (Boheman) at Ipswich (NS, 13 July), Ectoedemia sericopeza (Zeller) at Thorpeness (TP, 29 September), Phylloporia bistrigella (Haw.) as leaf-mine record at Ipswich (NS, 9 July) following an adult record at light on 21 May, Phyllonorycter heegeriella (Zeller) at Minsmere (JL, J Higgott & RH, 27/28 July), Enteucha acetosae (Stainton) at Wortham Ling (SMG, 13 October), Phyllonorycter mespilella (Hübner) at Ipswich (NS, 2 November) on whitebeam, Phyllocnistis saligna (Zeller) at Flatford Mill (TP, 20 October) and Cosmopterix liengiella Lienig & Zeller at Minsmere (JL, J Higgott & RH, 28 July) recorded as an adult at light. Caloptilia falconipennella (Hübner) was recorded at Ipswich (NS, 31 August and 17 September) and Great Glemham (TP, 12 October), this would appear to have been largely over-looked as a species in the county and no doubt will be found to more widespread than its current known distribution would indicate. As a rule the majority of leaf-mining lepidoptera species are recorded from the larval leaf-mines as these are more widely encountered and easier to determine than the adult. An exception to this appears to be the Elachistidae for which the vast majority of records come from adult sightings. Records of note from this family in 2007 were Elachista alpinella Stainton at Ipswich (NS gen. det. JC, 8 September), Elachista albifrontella (Hübner) at Eye (PK, 6 July) and the first record since Morley’s time of Elachista humilis Zeller at

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Ipswich (NS, 27 July). Given that the most of the larvae of this family feed on different types of grasses it is surprising that the leaf-mines are not more frequently encountered and recorded. The late summer and autumn saw a certain amount of migration activity but nothing to match that of the previous year in terms of quantity or variety. Most notable was Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa (L.) recorded at Dunwich Heath (CM & DB, 14 August), the first record since the 19th century. A little further north at Dunwich in mid-October David Brown recorded Blair’s Wainscot Sedina buettneri (Hering) on 16 October. A record that missed being mentioned in last year’s notes was that of Autumn Green Carpet Chloroclysta miata (L.) again recorded by David Brown at Dunwich on 18 October 2006. Autumn Green Carpet appears from the older literature to have been more widely distributed and common in the county while the similar Red-green Carpet was the rarer of the two species at the time. In recent years there has been a surge in the population of Red-green Carpet and it is now relatively common and can be encountered in most areas of the county, appearing away from woodland in suburban traps in some areas. The Autumn Green Carpet population seems to have declined in the first half of the 20th century and the species appeared to have died out in the county with no confirmed records since the 1930–1940s. The origin of the individual from Dunwich raises the question as to whether the species may be present in the Dunwich area in low numbers as a resident or whether it was merely a wandering individual. Further presumed migrant records received during the year included Cydia amplana (Hübner) at Ipswich (NS, 12 August), Bright Wave Idaea ochrata (Scop.) at Bawdsey (MD, 16 June) and Orford Ness (JA & MM, 13 July), Scarce Silver Y Syngrapha interrogationis (L.) at Eye (PK, 23 August) after a run of records in 2006, Porter’s Rustic Proxenus hospes (Freyer) at Bawdsey (MD, 9 & 21 August), Clancy’s Rustic Platyperigea kadenii (Freyer) at Bawdsey (MD, 6 & 14 October), Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites (D. & S.) at Landguard Common (NO & MM, 2 October), Waved Black Parascotia fulignaria (L.) at Hollesley (NM, 11 July) and Obscure Wainscot Mythimna obsoleta (Hübner) at Bawdsey (MD, 20 June). During July and August there was a small influx of Yponomeuta rorrella (Hübner) with records from a scattering of sites – Landguard (NO & MM, 15 July), Lackford SWT Reserve (SMG, 3 August), Ipswich (NS, 2 August), Bawdsey (MD, 4 August) and Mendlesham (SW, 17 August). 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; Peter Allard (PA), Jim Askins (JA), Harry Beaumont (HB), David Brougham (DB), David Brown, Graham Bull (GB), Jon Clifton (JC), Liz Cutting (LC), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), Rafe Eley (RE), John Everson (JE), Graham Finch (GF), Robin Harvey (RH), Paul Kitchener (PK), Keith Knights (KK), John Langmaid (JL), Mike Marsh (MM), Norman Muddeman (NM), Nigel Odin (NO), Rob Parker (RP), Neil Sherman (NS), Richard Stewart (RS), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG), Arthur Watchman (AW), Marjory White (MWh), Steve Woolnough (SW) and Mick Wright (MWr)

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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 Beaumont, H. E. 2007. Epinotia granitana (Herrich-Schäffer, 1851) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae, Olethreutinae) new to Britain. Entomologist’s Gazette 58: 268–270 Langmaid, J. R. L. & Young, M. 2007. Microlepidoptera Review 2006. The Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation. 119: 241–266. Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road Ipswich Suffolk IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 44 (2008)

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2007  

Tony Prichard

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