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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2009 A. W. PRICHARD Most recorders seemed to find the moth recording season of 2009 an improvement on the previous couple of years. A dry warm spring continued through to June to be followed by a rather wet July that limited moth recording during the peak of the recording season. Fortunately drier weather returned in August and the autumn also remained largely dry and warm. The eriocranids are a small group of micro-lepidoptera known as ‘Purples’, mostly appearing in early spring but with some emerging a little later into May. All of the eight species found in Britain have been recorded in Suffolk. One species, Eriocrania subpurpurella (Haw.) feeds on oak Quercus and another E. chrysolepidella Zeller feeds on Hornbeam Carpinus while the remaining six species feed on birch Betula. E. subpurpurella is easily identified as an adult or from its mine and is a common and widespread species in Suffolk. E .chrysolepidella is currently known from one site in the county at Wolves Wood RSPB Reserve. Our knowledge of the distribution and status of the birch-feeding species has been rather limited as the adults can be tricky to identify without resorting to dissection and consequently we have few records of this group. Until recently determination of the larval mines has been similarly difficult, but recent keys in Bengtsson & Palmqvist [2008] and on the leaf-miner web site www.leafmines.co.uk have enabled these birchfeeding species to be identified from their mines. Searches for the larval mines in 2009 by TP and NS would seem to indicate that the birch-feeding species are likely to be reasonably common wherever the foodplant occurs. Eriocrania unimaculella (Zetterstedt), E. semipurpurella (Stephens) and E. cicatricella (Zetterstedt) were all found at Wherstead Woods, Reydon Wood, Tunstall Common and Westleton Heath. E. unimaculella was also found at Thorpeness and E. cicatricella at Blaxhall Common and Ipswich Golf Course. E. sangii (Wood) was also found at Wherstead Woods, Tunstall Common, Thorpeness Golf Course and Blaxhall Common. Both it and E. semipurpurella were found at Walberswick. E. semipurpurella in addition was found Thorpeness, Blaxhall Common, Ipswich Golf Course and Lower Hollesley Common. The remaining two species appear a little later; E. sparrmannella (Bosc) was found at Hinderclay Fen and Tattingstone while E. salopiella (Stainton) was found at Hinderclay Fen and Ipswich Golf Course. Recorders are encouraged to look for these species at a time in the year when moth recording is not at its peak. At the other end of the recording season but still on the subject of leafminers, the Suffolk Moth Group held its annual leaf-miner recording day at Town Marshes, Eye on 10 October. This site provided some interesting records; the most notable being mines of Ectoedemia hannoverella (Glitz) in the leaves of Black Poplar hybrids Populus × canadensis. This appears to be the first record in the county away from its previously known centres in the Ipswich/Woodbridge area and the Brecks. Two species found on lime Tilia were also noteworthy: Stigmella tiliae (Frey) and Roeslerstammia erxlebella (Fab.), the larva of the latter species only mines the leaves in its first instar and the mine is characteristically made in the very tip of lime leaves. The

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afternoon of the meeting was spent at Hinderclay Fen where among the fifty plus species recorded were the more localised Coleophora milvipennis Zeller and C. follicularis (Vallot), both poorly recorded species in the county. A species that proves very elusive for many moth recorders is the Early Long-horn Adela cuprella (D. & S.). Nationally, this species is very localised and erratic in appearance, abundant one year and then scarce or absent for several years after. Where it does occur, the adults can be seen flying around the flowers of sallow bushes in early spring. The eggs are laid on the sallow flowers and the larva later feeds in a case on withered leaves underneath the sallow bushes. It is a species I have made repeated searches for in the county over the years without success. The appearance of the moth at Ipswich Golf Course in April this year [NS, 2–12 April] is the only modern Suffolk record of the moth that I am aware of. NS reported that at its peak about 100 individuals were seen flying around flowering sallow bushes. It is unlikely to have been over-looked previously at this well-recorded site. The status of the Goat Moth Cossus cossus (L.) in the county is a cause for some concern with records now appearing to come from two main areas only – from the north-west of the county around Mildenhall and Lakenheath and in the south-east of the county around Ipswich, Woodbridge and the area up to Aldeburgh. The moth was recorded at two of the moth group events in the north-west of the county during 2009, the first at Maidscross Hill, Lakenheath on 12 June, when two adults were attracted to light, and a little later at Lakenheath RSPB Reserve on 3 July when a singleton was recorded. I later received a report from a member of the public of a wandering caterpillar of this species being found in the town of Lakenheath itself. This would seem to indicate that a reasonable population in the area. The county distribution of the Forester Moth Adscita statices (L.) seems now to be limited to Breckland, almost certainly due to a loss and degradation of open grassland habitats over a long period of time. Even in Morley’s time the species was thought to have declined and be restricted to north-east Suffolk but I have no further records of the moth from this area. Sharon Hearle (SH) of Butterfly Conservation has been doing some work on various management regimes to promote the Grey Carpet Lithostege griseata (D. & S.) in Breckland and this has had some unexpected benefits as the thistles and Viper’s Bugloss Echium vulgare growing on the strips of disturbed ground produced as part of the management regime have attracted the Forester Moth. SH observed the moth from the following sites in 2009 - West Stow, Barnhamcross Common, Maidscross Hill, Mildenhall, parts of the King’s Forest, Cavenham Heath and Wangford. This has helped alleviate to an extent some of the concerns about this species as it has not been recorded that frequently in recent years and at some known sites for the moth the habitat appears degraded, in one case at least due to conservation work undertaken. It could well be that this species is more widespread than thought but poorly recorded, it can be hard to see when flying with its dark hindwings and green forewings, being more reminiscent of a flying beetle. If a site lacks nectar sources on which the moth may be seen feeding it may well be over-looked. Over the years I have given the occasional thought to the value of an alltime moth list for the county - and a particular question that keeps recurring is

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how much value, particularly for current moth recorders, is there in knowing about long extinct species very unlikely to return to the county as their habitat has been to all extents permanently lost? The all-time checklist gives little indication of currently resident species, so would a list reflecting the species that are currently thought to be resident in the county be of more use? This latter thought stirred Jon Nicholls to produce a current checklist that was followed by one produced by the moth group in 2000 listing only those species recorded in Suffolk since 1990 and this has proved a useful guide for some moth recorders. Our experience of using this latter type of checklist is that under-recorded and elusive species tend to miss being included in the checklist. Three examples of species last recorded in Suffolk in the 1930s or earlier and so missing from the ‘current’ checklist were re-discovered in 2009. The first of these was Glyphipterix schoenicolella Boyd found at Market Weston Fen [LG, 28 May] and additionally exemplifies how knowing your quarry aids success. G. schoenicolella feeds on Black Bog-rush Schoenus nigricans and LG, knowing that the foodplant occurred at Market Weston Fen, was able to track down the moth with relative ease. The second example is for a related species, G. equitella (Scopoli), that was recorded at light at Bawdsey [MD, 3 and 8 August]. As the moth feeds on the widespread Biting Stonecrop Sedum acre, it is almost certainly being over-looked at other sites. The final example in this group of three is the Netted Sweep Epichnopterix retiella (Newman), a member of the psychids or bag-worms, that was found at Erwarton [TP, 23 May] when several individuals were swept with little effort from the grass on the sea-wall. In contrast, the discovery of Scythris inspersella (Hübner) was rather fortuitous. I encountered this species while looking for the larval spinnings of Mompha conturbatella (Hübner) at Tunstall Common on 20 June 2009. There were quite a few untidy spinnings in the flowerheads of Rosebay Willowherb Epilobium angustifolium at the site but they did not match descriptions of the commoner species feeding on Rosebay Willowherb. When adults eventually emerged from the spinnings the diagnosis of the rather drab S. inspersella was relatively easy. Nationally the moth would appear to be quite scarce and apparently has only been recorded from south-west and south-east Yorkshire and Norfolk. A new species of moth for Britain, Cydia inquinatana Hübner, was recorded at a Moths Count public event at Minsmere RSPB Reserve on 13 June by RH, J Higgott et al. This individual is likely to have been a migrant, arriving during a period when other migrant species were being recorded. Several other micro-lepidoptera of note were recorded at the same event – Coleophora genistae Stainton, Elachista albifrontella (Hübner), Monochroa tenebrella (Hübner) and Carpatolechia notatella (Hübner). The year produced a couple of further micro-lepidoptera records of particular note from the reserve with Nemapogon wolffiella Karsholt & Nielsen [RH & J Higgott, 28 June] and Ancylis badiana (D. & S.) [RH, 2 August]. The latter species was in Morley’s time considered to be fairly frequent in the eastern part of the county but the most recent record prior to 2009 that I am aware of is from 1959 in Stowmarket. It is a distinctive species and unlikely to have been over-looked

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and may have declined with the loss of its grassland habitat. A further record of N. wolfiella was found at Eye during the year [PK, 15 August]. The Suffolk Moth Group visit to Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve on 3 July attracted a large number of out-of-county moth recorders, who had come along with the hope of seeing our target species of Marsh Carpet Perizoma sagittata (Fab.). In addition to a singleton of that species and a Goat Moth C. cossus previously mentioned, several other localised fen species were recorded, including Phiaris micana (D. & S.) [TP], a very localised species in Suffolk with the only other recent records coming from Minsmere RSPB Reserve and Monochroa lucidella (Stephens) [NS], a species feeding on Common Spikerush Eleocharis palustris. A couple of coleophorids were taken away by JC and later determined to be Coleophora taeniipennella (H.-S.) and C. clypiferella Hofmann. A new coleophorid species for the county was recorded in 2009 with Coleophora lassella Staudinger, a nationally notable species feeding on Toad Rush Juncus bufonius, being found at Ipswich Golf Course [NS, 6 August]. A few further records from this under-recorded group included Coleophora albidella (D. & S.) found at Eye [PK, 1 July, JC gen. det.], a couple of adult records from Ipswich Golf Course of Coleophora deauratella Lienig & Zeller [NS, 10 August] and Coleophora sternipennella (Zetterstedt) [NS, 23 August]. Larval cases of Coleophora artemisicolella Bruand were found at Lackford Lakes SWT Reserve [TP, 5 September], the larvae feeding on the flowers of Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris. Some records of localised tortricid moths from 2009 included Phtheochroa sodaliana (Haworth) at Elveden [GF, 16 June], a species where the larvae feed on the berries of Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica. Spatalistis bifasciana (Hübner) was recorded at Eye [PK, 2 July] and Apotomis lineana (D. & S.) also at Eye [PK, 21 July] and Mendlesham [SW, 31 July and 5 August]. The aspen-feeding Epinotia maculana (Fab.) was recorded in late autumn at Wolves Wood RSPB Reserve [TP & NS, 30 October], the moth’s late flight period and habitat requirements may account partially for the limited number of records we have of this species. The rare Eucosma rubescana (Constant) has been documented as occurring in Suffolk but I have been unaware of any specific localities or detail until it was recorded at Orfordness [MM] on 3 July and 25 July. The larvae of this species feed on flowers of Sea Aster Aster tripolium so it is possible that the species could be found in other saltmarsh areas along the coast, although these habitats are relatively well recorded. Further records of interest of the micro-lepidoptera from 2009 were Ocnerostoma friesei Svensson at Ipswich Golf Course [NS, 11 August], Elachista biatomella (Stainton) at Landguard [NO, 11 July], Elachista atricomella Stainton at Martlesham Heath [SG, 7 September], Caryocolum vicinella (Douglas) at Orfordness [MM, 1 and 6 August], Agonopterix purpurea (Haworth) at Bawdsey [MD, 6 May], Agonopterix conterminella (Zeller) at Redgrave Fen [SMG, 18 July], Syncopacma larseniella (Gozmány) at Ipswich Golf Course [NS, 15 July, gen. det. JC] and records of Assara terebrella (Zincken) from Bawdsey [MD, 20 May], Sicklesmere [SD, 17 June] and Elveden [GF, 16 June].

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Since the Suffolk Wildlife Trust has taken over parts of Dunwich Forest, the Suffolk Moth Group has been visiting to help establish a baseline list of the moths present in the forest. A visit on the 31 July 2009 was planned to look for White-mantled Wainscot Archanara neurica (Hübner) in the dry reed-beds on the northern edge of the forest. At this meeting two individuals of Devon Carpet Lampropteryx otregiata (Metcalfe) were recorded, a species not previously known to occur in Suffolk. Details of the discovery and photographs of the moth were published on the Moth Group’s web site and an article sent off for publication [Sherman, 2009]. Following this, an article was published [Higgott, 2009] reporting a record of the moth in the same vicinity from 4 August 2007. It would therefore appear that the moth has been resident at the site for at least a few years. The species has been expanding its traditional range in other parts of the country in recent years so it is not so unexpected that that the moth should appear in Suffolk. The moth group visit also managed to record the target species White-mantled Wainscot A. neurica and the following noteworthy species - Monopis monachella (Hübner), Oblique Carpet Orthonama vittata (Borkhausen), Fenn’s Wainscot Chortodes brevilinea (Fenn) and Reed Dagger Simyra albovenosa (Goeze). The pugs can be a tricky group to identify and some species are probably over-looked by some; one of this group is Golden-rod Pug Eupithecia virgaureata Doubleday, a rare moth in Suffolk. The foodplant of the firstbrood larva does not appear to be fully understood but the second-brood larva feeds on ragworts Senecio and Golden-rod Solidago virgaurea. Even in Morley’s time this species was considered to be rare, so it was unusual to have three records of the moth in 2009 at North Cove SWT Reserve [SMG, 7 August] and Bawdsey [MD, 8 and 12 August]. The country saw a large influx of immigrant Rannoch Looper Itame brunneata (Thunb.) arrive during the period late May to early July. Most of the sightings were from south-eastern counties, particularly Kent and Suffolk. Suffolk records included Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 30 May), Bawdsey (MD, 9 June), Minsmere RSPB Reserve, (RH, 9 June), Dunwich (CM, 10 June), Bradwell (KK, 11 June), Orfordness (MM, 12 June), Maidscross Hill (SMG, 12 June), Bawdsey (MD, 12 June), Minsmere RSPB Reserve (RH et al., 13 June and RH, 15 June) and Eye (PK, 26 June). The influx is described in more detail in Higgott & Davey (2010). Late May also saw a small influx of Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica (Esper) arrive on the coast, these may well have been part of the migrant wave that also brought the Rannoch Looper. At Bawdsey three individuals were recorded by MD on 26 and 28 May and a single was also recorded at Landguard [NO, 26 May]. Later in the year it was again recorded at Bawdsey [MD, 31 August]. A single Concolorous Chortodes extrema (Hübner) was recorded from Orfordness [MM, 30 May]. Towards the end of June a few more notable migrants were reported, Porter’s Rustic Proxenus hospes (Freyer) at Landguard [NO, 25 June and also 17 August], Silver Barred Deltote bankiana (Fab.) at Hollesley [NM, 25 June] and Ipswich Golf Course [NS, 30 June], Scarce Black Arches Nola aerugula (Hübner) at Orfordness [MM, 26 June]. Sciota adelphella (Fischer von Röslerstamm) at Bawdsey [MD, 29 June] and Eye [PK, 27 and 28 June].

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The month of July did not prove so productive for the more interesting migrant species with only Evergestis limbata (L.) being recorded from Bawdsey [MD, 4 July and 20 July] and Oncocera semirubella (Scopoli) from Bawdsey [MD, 12 July] and Ipswich Golf Course [NS, 12 July]. Dewick’s Plusia MacDunnoughia confusa (Stephens) was recorded from a couple of sites; Eye [PK, 15 July] and later into autumn at Bawdsey [MD, 14 September]. As late summer arrived, so did some more notable migrants. The most noteworthy being a new species for the county Dusky Hook-tip Drepana curvatula (Borkhausen) found at Bawdsey [MD, 2 August]. A couple of days later a Rest Harrow Aplasta ononaria (Fuessly) also appeared at Bawdsey [MD, 4 August]. A second individual of this species was recorded at Landguard a few days later [NO, 7 August]. A further new species for the county, Northern Rustic Standfussiana lucernea (L.), was also recorded at Bawdsey around this time [MD, 6 August]. Cydia amplana (Hübner) was recorded on a couple of occasions at Ipswich Golf Course [NS, 6 August] and Landguard [NO, 13 August]. Marbled Grey Cryphia raptricula (D. & S.) was recorded at Landguard [NO, 3 August] and Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar (L.) was recorded at Bawdsey [MD, 10 August]. A large number of Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata (Rambur) were reported by the coastal recording sites between the 22 July and 31 August, with sightings from Bawdsey [MD], Aldeburgh [MS], Landguard [NO], Reydon [JE] and Hollesley [NM]. Late autumn saw the migrant recording season drawing to a close with the following more unusual species, Red-headed Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala (D. & S.) at Bawdsey [MD, 2 November] and White-speck Mythimna unipuncta (Haw.) again at Bawdsey [MD, 31 October] and also Landguard [NO, 16 November]. Acknowledgements 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; Jon Clifton (JC), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), John Everson (JE), Graham Finch (GF), Steve Goddard (SG), Lee Gregory (LG), Robin Harvey (RH), Sharon Hearle (SH), Paul Kitchener (PK), Keith Knights (KK), Mike Marsh (MM), Nick Mason (NM), Clive Moore (CM), Nigel Odin (NO), Neil Sherman (NS), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG) and 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 Bengtsson, B. A. & Palmqvist, G. (2008). Lepidoptera: Micropterigidae – Psychidae: Fjärilar: Käkmalar – säckspinnare. ArtDatabanken. Higgott, J. B. (2009). Devon Carpet Lampropteryx otregiata in Suffolk. Atropos 38: 67. Higgott, J. B. & Davey, P. (2010). The Rannoch Looper Itame brunneata in Southern England, 2009. Atropos 40: 26–34.

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Morley, C. (1937). Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Ipswich: Suffolk Naturalists’ Society. Sherman, N. (2009). Devon Carpet Lampropteryx otregiata (Metcalfe) (Lep.: Geometridae) – a moth new to Suffolk in 2009. The Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 121: 305. Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 46 (2010)

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2009  

Tony Prichard

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