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COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2011 A. W. PRICHARD This year continued the recent run of relatively poor recording seasons as a cold harsh winter was followed by a hot dry spring, which lasted until the early part of the peak recording season of summer. The summer months were generally wet and recording activities were impeded to an extent although there was still a trickle of notable migrant records during this wet period. Autumn arrived early and a long dry period during October and November brought some further notable migrant records. In (Prichard, 2010) the sighting of the elusive micro Adela cuprella (D. & S.) was reported at Ipswich Golf Course by NS in 2009. Further sightings of this species in 2011 were made by NS on 10th April at a couple of sites at Bromeswell and Staverton. The moth was also seen again by NS at Ipswich Golf Course between 3rd April and 17th April. Not long after, an early season Suffolk Moth Group meeting at Mendlesham on 7th May turned up a new species for the county when the bird-dropping mimic Cochylis molliculana Zeller appeared at the lights. This moth is in the process of rapidly colonising the country having first been recorded in Britain in 1993 at Portland. As the larva feeds in the seedheads of Bristly Oxtongue Helminthotheca echioides, a common and widespread plant, it is likely that this species will become a frequent sight in the near future. I have received a few records for Map-winged Swift Hepialus fusconebulosa (DeGeer) in the last few years. These have been reported from the Breckland area of the county while the only historical Suffolk record listed in Morley was from near Eye in 1859. The moth is generally more prevalent in northern and western parts of Britain with more localised populations in the south-east. The Suffolk Brecks are a popular area for recording moths and it seems improbable that a widespread, largish moth such as the Map-winged Swift could have been over-looked for so many years by a variety of recorders. One possibility is that it occurs in small, localised pockets associated with a particular soil type as occurs in Hertfordshire, where it is found associated with flinty soils. This year, the moth was recorded at Maidcross Hill, Lakenheath by a group of seasoned recorders (MH et al., 12th August). As often occurs, the individual was not retained or photographed and so no positive proof exists of the record. Maidscross Hill is a frequently recorded site so it is unlikely that this species has been over-looked in the past and it leaves some doubt as to the veracity of the record. Any recorders who do encounter this species in the county in future are requested to retain the specimen for confirmation. The Suffolk Moth Group held a meeting in Elveden Forest on 9th July with the objective of recording Map-winged Swift and Satin Beauty Deileptenia ribeata (Clerck), as this is in the vicinity of some recent Map-winged Swift records. The night’s recording proved quite productive with 130 species recorded with some worn Satin Beauties, but no Map-winged Swifts. With the warm dry spring bringing forward the flight periods of some species, it could well be that the Satin Beauties were from the tail end of their flight

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period and a possible explanation for why they were all so worn. A Vitula biviella (Zeller) recorded at the lights was the first time that this species had been seen in the west of the county since it was first recorded in the county in 2006. Morophaga choragella (D. & S.) was also found and, although this species is still considered localised, it is no longer the rarity that it was once thought to be. Other species of note seen included Ethmia dodecea (Haw.), Blastodacna hellerella (Duponchel), Cydia coniferana (Ratzeburgh), Dioryctria sylvestrella (Ratzeburg), Capperia britanniodactyla (Gregson), Clouded Magpie Abraxas sylvata (Scop.), Clouded Buff Diacrisia sannio (L.), Blackneck Lygephila pastinum (Treitschke), Lunar Yellow Underwing Noctua orbona (Hufn.) amd Mere Wainscot Chortodes fluxa (Hßbner). A new site for Coleophora fuscicornis Zeller was discovered at Levington (TP, 19th May) when several adults were swept from a grassy area containing the foodplant Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma. This site is set back from the sea-wall unlike the other known Suffolk site at Erwarton, where it is at risk from disturbance from works maintaining the sea-walls. Other Coleophora records of interest from the year included C. conyzae Zeller at Mendlesham (SW, 27th June) and C. sternipennella (Zetterstedt) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 1st August). A meeting of the Suffolk Moth Group was held at the Sizewell Belts Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve on the 4th June with the objective of finding Devon Carpet Lampropteryx otregiata (Metcalfe) at the site. Weather conditions on the night were far from optimal with a strong wind blowing and recording activities were relocated to the nearby Kenton Hills. Over 120 species were recorded, a fair number given the poor conditions, and the more interesting of these included Glyphipterix thrasonella (Scop.), Cream Wave Scopula floslactata (Haw.), Lunar Yellow Underwing Noctua orbona (Hufn.), Dark Spectacle Abrostola triplasia (L.), Pinion-streaked Snout Schrankia costaestrigalis (Stephens) and Shaded Fan-foot Herminia tarsicrinalis (Knoch). The four Rannoch Looper Itame brunneata (Thunberg) and Ortholepis betulae (Goeze) recorded appear to be part of a larger migrant influx occurring at the time. On the same night both species were also recorded at Bawdsey (MD, 4th June) and in the following days other Suffolk records of Rannoch Looper included those at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 13th and 14th June) and Landguard Common (NO, 13th, 15th and 26th June). A new macro-lepidoptera species was added to the county when Whitebarred Clearwing Synanthedon spheciformis (D. & S.) was attracted to a pheromone lure at North Cove Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve (NS, 4th June). The larva feeds internally on alder and birch trees and has a two-year lifecycle. Like most clearwing moths, even though it is a day-flying species it can be quite elusive to track down without the use of pheromone lures. Nationally, the moth is a localised species with three main population areas – in the west of England and Wales, the southern counties of England and in the northern areas of East Anglia. In (Prichard, 2005) the presence of Sixbelted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis (D. & S.) at Little Blakenham Pit was reported along with an expectation that this species would appear elsewhere in the county. Since then, the moth has been found at several

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further sites; of particular interest is the finding of the moth in areas of coastal vegetated shingle, a habitat that the moth has not been classically associated with. In 2011, it was recorded from areas of vegetated shingle at Aldeburgh (TP, 22nd July) and Landguard (NS, 21st August). A couple of further inland records were made at Hadleigh (PB, 21st June) and Stowmarket (PB, 31st July). Marbled Coronet Hadena confusa (Hufn.) appears to have always been a rather scarce species in the county with scattered records from most of the more frequently recorded areas. Each year I usually receive just one or two records for the species and in 2011 a single record was received from Maidscross Hill (RHi, 30th June). The larva feeds on a range of plants of the genus Silene, most commonly Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris and Sea Campion Silene maritima, so availability of its foodplant is unlikely to be a limiting factor. It can be confused with the related and similar Varied Coronet Hadena compta (D. & S.) that arrived in Britain in the late 1940s and has since spread rapidly across the country, arriving in Suffolk in 1953 when it was recorded by Alasdair Aston at Polstead. Since its arrival it has become well established and widespread in Suffolk. The larva feeds on Sweet William Dianthus barbatus in gardens and also on Bladder Campion, so the moth is often found in garden moth traps. In contrast to Marbled Coronet, I received nineteen records for Varied Coronet during the year from a scattering of sites. Nemaxera betulinella (Paykull) was recorded at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 11th July), the first county record of this species since it was seen in Bentley Woods in 1937. It is a tineid species that feeds as a larva on fungi, mostly bracket fungi of which Piptoporus betulinus is the most commonly used. Phyllonorycter comparella (Duponchel) makes blotch mines on White Poplar Populus alba and Grey Poplar Populus canescens and was found as leaf-mines at Lackford Lakes Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve (TP, 27th August). Another rarely recorded Phyllonorycter seen in 2011 was an adult of Phyllonorycter ulicicolella (Stainton) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 5th June), the leaf-mine of this species is particularly hard to detect in the stems of its foodplant, Gorse Ulex europaeus, and, as far as I am aware, the mine has not been seen in Suffolk. The ash-feeding Zelleria hepariella Stainton was recorded at two sites, Woolpit (PB, 14th April) and Bramfield (RH, 21st August), the former being of particular note as it is the first record in the west of Suffolk. Further micro-lepidoptera records of 2011 included Argyresthia glaucinella Zeller at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (RH, 26th June), Denisia albimaculella (Haw.) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 25th May), Cosmioites stabilella (Stainton) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 5th June), Monochroa tenebrella (Hübner) swept from a carpet of Sheep’s Sorrel Rumex acetosella at Mellis (TP, 3rd July), Caryocolum vicinella (Douglas) at Orfordness (MM, 30th July and 5th August), Syncopacma larseniella (Gozmány) at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (RH and Jeff Higgott, 27th June and 1st August), Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla (D. & S.) at Tattingstone (BJ, 18th July) and Ancylis diminutana (Haw.) at Wolves Wood (SMG, 28th May).

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Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea (D. & S.) is a species that died out in Britain in the early part of the 20th century, but has since returned and is rapidly colonising parts of southern England from footholds in Kent and Essex. Records of the adult now occur regularly in the area between Felixstowe and Ipswich giving a strong indication that the moth is now established in south-east Suffolk. On 11th August at a meeting of the Suffolk Moth Group at Landguard Common a few larvae of Small Ranunculus were spotted by NS on the seed-heads of Prickly Lettuce Lactuca serriola, this is the first record of the larvae since its re-establishment in the county. Further records of larvae were found by TP on 12th August at Trimley St Martin and on the southern outskirts of Ipswich. These latter records were from road verges close to the A14 where the foodplant is common and no doubt provide the moth with corridors along which to spread. Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea (D. & S.) appears to be another colonising species moving into the county from both the west and the east; nationally, the species is expanding its range and becoming more widespread where it does occur. Reports of this species in 2011 included Barrow (AP, 2nd April), Sudbury (SR, 11th October), Dunwich Heath (CM, 24th September) and Trimley St Mary (Jonathan Smith, 30th September). Pale-lemon Sallow Xanthia ocellaris (Bork.) appears to have had a relatively good year with sightings at Little Blakenham NS & TP, 29th September), Landguard Common (NO, 30th September), Burgate (MT, 24th September) and Belton (KK, 4th October). Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica (Clerck) continues to be recorded from sites around the county as it becomes further established with records in 2011 from Hen Reedbed reserve (JE, 27th April), Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 15th April), Fritton (BJ, 23rd April), Bramfield (RH, 19th August), Euston (SD, 13th May), Dunwich Heath (CM, 31st March and 14th April), Dunwich (CM, 9th May) and Belton Common (BJ, 13th October). Some other interesting macro-lepidoptera records from the year included Dentated Pug Anticollix sparsata (Treitschke) at Fritton Marshes (KK and BJ, 2nd August), Lesser Treble-bar Aplocera efformata (GuenĂŠe) at Maidscross Hill (MH et al., 2nd September), August Thorn Ennomos quercinaria (Hufn.) at Elveden (SD, 2nd August), September Thorn Ennomos erosaria (D. & S.) at Bramfield (RH, 7th August) and Water Ermine Spilosoma urticae (Esper) at Grundisburgh (MH). The moth group held its annual leaf-mining day at Hadleigh and Raydon this year on 15th October and there were a few records of note with several cones of Caloptilia semifascia found at Hadleigh, while at Raydon Ectoedemia hannoverella and Phyllocnistis saligna were recorded. The former species, C. semifascia, appears to have become more prevalent in the last decade and can be regularly encountered around the county with the following further records in 2011 from Pakenham (TP, 11th September), Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 12th October) and Sicklesmere (SD, 2nd September). Phyllocnistis saligna continues to be recorded most years and this year mines were seen at Lackford (TP, 27th August) while the adult was recorded at light at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 13th August). Other leaf-miner records for the year included

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Tischeria dodonaea at Purdis Heath (TP, 23rd October) and Phylloporia bistrigella as an adult at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 9th May) and as a leaf-mine at Upper Hollesley Common (AB & MB, 30th July). A further new species was added to the county list when the bagworm Psychoides filicivora (Meyrick) was recorded in a garden at Oulton Broad (RG, 22nd October). The case-bearing larvae were found feeding on Hart’s-tongue Fern Asplenium scolopendrium, although the more usual foodplants are Soft Shield-fern Polystichum setiferum and Male-fern Dropteris filix-mas. The owner of the garden is a pteridologist and has many native and non-native species of fern growing in their garden. This species was first recorded in Ireland in 1909 and has since been recorded in other mainland counties especially in coastal counties in the west. It is thought that the origin of some of these moths may be from imported ferns. Two records from Dunwich Heath (CM) were the first migrant records of note for 2011 with Red-headed Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala (D. & S) on 1st April and Blossom Underwing Orthosia miniosa (D. & S.) on 19th April. White-speck Mythimna unipuncta (Haw.) was seen at Landguard Common (NO, 7th May) and later on in the year at Orfordness (MM, 5th November). The month of June brought some further notable species with Bordered Gothic Heliophobus reticulata (Goeze) at Landguard Common (NO, 3rd June) and then Silver Barred Deltote bankiana (Fab.) (NO, 13th June). A couple of Dotted Rustic Rhyacia simulans (Hufn.) appeared at the end of June and into July with records from Landguard Common (NO, 27th June) and Dunwich Heath (CM, 5th July). A Spurge Hawk-moth Hyles euphorbiae (L.) at Landguard Common (NO, 6th July) may have been either of local or continental origin. Later in the month Evergestis limbata (L.) was seen at Reydon (JE, 17th July). August provided an increase in migrant activity with Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa (L.) at Landguard Common (NO, 2nd August), Pigmy Footman Eilema pygmaeola (Doubleday) at Shingle Street (NM, 2nd August), Dotted Footman Pelosia muscerda (Hufn.) at Ipswich Golf Course (NS, 4th August) and at the same site Conobathra tumidana (D. & S.) (NS, 15th August). There were records of Oncocera semirubella (Scop.) at several sites; Landguard Common (NO, 3rd August), Mendlesham (SW, 22nd September) and Dunwich Heath (CM ,16th August). In addition, Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar (L.) was seen at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (KP, 25th August). Autumn brought a new species to the county with Spoladea recurvalis (Fab.) being recorded at Landguard Common (NO, 11th and 12th October). This species is a scarce migrant from the tropics that can elsewhere be a pest on food crops such as beet and maize. Ni Moth Trichoplusia ni (Hßbner) was also recorded at Landguard Common (NO, 22nd September). The colourful Crimson Speckled Utetheisa pulchella (L.) was recorded at Dunwich Heath (CM, 14th October), Silver-striped Hawk-moth Hippotion celerio (L.) was recorded at Hollesley (RW, 15th October) and Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata (Geyer) at Belton (KK, 4th October), the latter being the second county record for the species. Finally, in late November there were further records of Red-headed Chestnut on 21st November at both Landguard Common (NO) and Dunwich Heath (CM).

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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: Andy Banthorpe (AB), Melissa Banthorpe (MB), Paul Bryant (PB), Matthew Deans (MD), Stan Dumican (SD), John Everson (JE), Roger Goulding (RG), Mark Hammond (MH), Robin Harvey (RH), Roy Hilton (RHi), Martin Hough (MH), Brian Jones (BJ), Keith Knights (KK), Mike Marsh (MM), Nick Mason (NM), Clive Moore (CM), Nigel Odin (NO), Adrian Parr (AP), Stuart Read (SR), Kevin Peace (KP), Neil Sherman (NS), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG), Mark Timms (MT), Raymond Watson (RW), 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 Prichard, A.W. 2005. Comments and Notes on some Suffolk Moths in 2004. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 41: 97–102 Prichard, A.W. 2010. Comments and Notes on some Suffolk Moths in 2009. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 46: 39–45 Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road Ipswich Suffolk IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 48 (2012)

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2011  

Tony Prichard

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