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BUTTERFLY REPORT 2014

COMMENTS AND NOTES ON SOME SUFFOLK MOTHS IN 2014 A. W. PRICHARD A relatively warm start to the recording season saw most recorders reporting sightings of early spring-time species appearing well in advance of their usual flight periods. The warm spell also brought with it some possible migrants with the most notable being a Pine Cone Tortrix Gravitarmata margarotana (Heinemann) at Dunwich Heath (6 April, CM). This is the first county record of this species that feeds on a wide variety of coniferous species and was first recorded in the UK in 2011 from Kent. As this species has only relatively recently colonised nearby Belgium and Holland it seems to be a good candidate to colonise this country in the near future. Another early migrant was a Blossom Underwing Orthosia miniosa (D. & S.) recorded at Ipswich Golf Course (30 March, NS). The vast majority of records I receive each year come from recorders running light traps and although this a very productive means of recording it can give a distorted picture of the status of some species that do not readily come to light. Searching for moths during the day can be quite productive and uncover some interesting records as was shown by a daytime meeting of the moth group held at Bradfield Woods NNR on 4 May. One of the objectives of the meetings was to assess the status of Porrittia galactodactyla (D. & S.) at the site as there were no records of the moth for several years. Although there was plenty of burdock only two of the plants found showed the characteristic signs of P. galactodactyla feeding so future surveys will be carried out to monitor this nationally declining species. Paracrania chrysolepidella (Zeller) mines were found on hazel, making this the second site known for this species in the county. Two of the scarcer Micropterix were also found, with M. tunbergella (Fab.) being beaten from hawthorn and M. mansuetella (Zeller) found on sedge flowers, these two species were only known previously from Wolves Wood in Suffolk. Looking for these species in some of our other ancient woods in the area would seem to have a good chance of success as these species have likely been over-looked in the past. Other species of note recorded at the site include Coleophora paripennella Zeller larval cases on knapweed and Ypsolopha nemorella (L.) larvae beaten from honeysuckle and an adult of Nemopogon wolffiella Karsholt & Nielsen. In the afternoon the group moved on to Grove Farm SWT reserve where species of interest seen included Small Yellow Underwing Panemeria tenebrata (Scop.) flying in a damp meadow, further larval cases of C. paripennella and adults of the tortrix Grapholita jungiella (Clerck). At a moth group meeting at Wolves Wood RSPB Reserve the recording of Elachista adscitella Stainton (31 May, SMG) added a new species to the county list. This is a small leaf-mining moth that inhabits woodland areas where the larvae feeds by mining the leaves of Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) The recording of this group of moths is rather neglected due to their Elachista adscitella new to Suffolk

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small size and difficulties with identification so the species may well be resident in other Suffolk woods. Bisigna procerella ([D. & S.]) is a pretty micro-moth that is nationally rare and appears to have been known only from Kent, where it is locally established. A record of the species from Woolpit (18 July, PB) was a further addition to the county list and rather unexpected being so far from its known haunts. The larva is thought to feed on lichens on tree-trunks. A further record of interest from Woolpit was Metalampra italica Baldizzone (29 July, PB) and is the first record in the west of the county for this scarce species that appears to be slowly expanding its range in Britain since its arrival in 2003. It has previously been recorded at Dunwich and Bramfield and was seen again at the latter site this year (11 July, RH). A further record of interest from Bramfield during the year was the infrequently recorded plume moth Gillmeria ochrodactyla ([D. & S.]) (12 July, RH), while another scarce plume species Hellinsia carphodactyla (Hßbner) was recorded at a moth group meeting held at Grove Farm SWT on 6 June. Bohemannia auriciliella (Joannis) is a very scarce species in Britain, recorded sparingly from Kent, Sussex and Hampshire. An adult male recorded at light in Tangham Forest (21 June, RW) is a new addition to the county list and a notable record nationally. The early stages of the moth are not well known but it is thought that the larvae may feed in the twigs of Bohemannia auriciliella new to Suffolk birch. Niditinea striolella (Matsumura) was another new species to Suffolk that was recorded in 2014, when it was recorded on two occasions at Staverton Park (16 June and 3 July, RW). The early stages of this nationally scarce species are also not that well known but the adult moths have been reared from birds’ nests. A couple of further records of interest from Staverton Park during the year were Niditinea striolella new to Suffolk Coleophora orbitella Zeller (3 July, RW) and Grapholita tenebrosana Duponchel (3 July, RW). Some recording at coastal sites by P Kitchener during the year turned up some moths of note. From Dunwich came a new species to Suffolk when Monochroa arundinetella (Boyd) (26 June) appeared at light. The larvae of this moth mine the leaves of Greater Pond-sedge (Carex riparia) and to a lesser extend Lesser Pond-sedge (C. acutiformis) and the mines can be searched for in March. Two other species recorded at Dunwich by PK were Monochroa moyses Uffen (22 June) and Olive Crescent Trisateles emortualis ([D. & S.]) (23 June). The larva of M. moyses also feeds by mining leaves but uses Sea Club-rush (Bolboschoenus maritimus) as its foodplant.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 51 (2015)


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The recording of Olive Crescent away from its previously known sites possibly indicates that the species is continuing its range expansion and that future surveys for the larvae and adults of this species should consider looking further afield than previously. A record of the tortrix moth Cydia inquinatana (Hübner) at Iken (31 May, PK) is likely to be of migrant origin. One of the Suffolk Moth Group meetings of the year was held in part of the King’s Forest near Wordwell on 13 June. This site has been visited reasonably frequently over the years and supports a selection of the Breck specialities. The habitat at this site has changed over the last decade becoming more open as the grassy ride has been widened as part of work to encourage the Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages (L.) butterfly and neighbouring conifer blocks have also been felled. Some of the more localised species seen on the night have been recorded previously from the area; Delplanqueia dilutella ([D. & S.]), Archips oporana (L.) and Coleophora pennella ([D. & S.]), but there were quite a few new species too with Stenoptilia annadactyla Sutter, Assara terebrella (Zincken), Coleophora striatipennella Nylander, Nematopogon metaxella (Hübner), Acompsia cinerella (Clerck) and Eucosma metzneriana (Treitschke). The latter species was also recorded on a couple of occasions from Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve during the year (3 May and 21 June, KP) and as this species is a recent colonist in Britain these records would provide growing confirmation that the moth is established in this part of the county. As the larva feeds on species of mugwort and wormwood (Artemisia), plants that are widespread in the county, the moth could be expected to occur elsewhere over the forthcoming years. A visit to Ashby Warren by B Jones and K Knights on 22 June attracted several footman species to the light traps from the common Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata (Forster), Scarce Footman Eilema complana (L.), Buff Footman Eilema depressa (Esper), Orange Footman Eilema sororcula (Hufnagel) to the scarcer Rednecked Footman Atolmis rubricollis (L.) and Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra (L.). Sightings of Red-necked Footman are becoming more common and in larger numbers and on this occasion seventeen were seen. Of even more interest were the six individuals of Four-spotted Footman seen, a species that is resident in the southwest of Britain but is normally considered a migrant in Suffolk. A return visit was made on the 3 July and BJ and KK recorded a remarkable forty-five Four-spotted Footman giving a strong indication that a local population is established in the area. Several other species were recorded at the site over the year and these included Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula ([D. & S.]), Juniper Pug Eupithecia pusillata ([D. & S.]), Ptycholomoides aeriferana (Herrich-Schäffer), Spatalistis bifasciana (Hübner) on 22 June and Agonopterix yeatiana (Fab.) on 13 September. Juniper Pug Eupithecia pusillata ([D. & S.]) is a species that appears to sporadically recorded in the county, occurring for a few years and then apparently disappearing for a similar period. The last period the moth was recorded in Suffolk was from 2006 to 2008 with records from Barrow (2006, AP), Eye (29 August 2007), Reydon (2008, AC) and Little Blakenham (28 June 2008, PW). As already mentioned the species was recorded in 2014 from Ashby Warren (22 June and 3 July, BJ & KK) but also appeared during the year at Hollesley (27 July, RW) and Felixstowe (2014, MM). Lunar Thorn Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 51 (2015)


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Selenia lunularia (Hßbner) continues to turn up infrequently with records from Sicklesmere (12 July, SD) and Spexhall (1 October, TH) and a similar picture exists for September Thorn Ennomos erosaria ([D. & S.]) with just one record of this moth in 2014 from East Bergholt (24 July, LC). Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula (L.) populations are now largely confined to the south and west of Britain but it was once a scarce resident in Suffolk that appears to have become locally extinct around the first half of the last century. Recently it has been thriving and expanding its range particularly in a northerly direction. It will be interesting to see in future years whether a record at Ixworth (22 June, LB) is merely a first step in future re-colonisation and will lead to further sightings of this pretty dayflying moth. Toadflax Brocade Calophasia lunula (Hufnagel) is a recent colonist in the county and now appears to be established in the Ipswich area, with reports of caterpillars feeding on Purple Toadflax (Linaria purpurea) in gardens. It is also appearing in light-traps and the following records were received this year in Ipswich (15 June and 27 August, PK) and (8 June and 14 June, SL). Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea (D. & S.) continues to consolidate its distribution in the county with records from Chelmondiston (31 Mar, SG), Lackford (9 Apr, PL), Hollesley (13 April, RW) and Landguard (24 October, NO). Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata (Geyer) is a recent UK colonist having first been recorded in West Sussex in 1984 and now well established across parts of southern England. It would appear to be established in Suffolk with regular records since its arrival in 2011. This year I received reports of sightings from Bawdsey (27 May, M Deans), Sicklesmere (18 October, SD) and Ipswich Golf Course (31 October, NS). Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata (Rambur) has been slowly expanding its national range since its arrival in Cornwall in 1959 and seems to have a decided preference for coastal areas, which is reflected in its Suffolk distribution. This preference would not seem to be a limitation based on its foodplant as the larva is known to feed on various types of cypress; Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa), Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) and Lawson’s Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana). Further Suffolk records in 2014 were made at Landguard (14 August, NO), Hollesley (14 August, RW) and Reydon (4 and 5 August, JE). Black-spotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginosa (Scop.) was first recorded in Britain in 2011 in Kent and there now appears to be a small population of the moth in the area. The species has been rapidly expanding its distribution across the continent and an individual recorded as new to the county in Black-spotted Chestnut Felixstowe (27 November, MM) could be a Conistra rubiginosa new to Suffolk wanderer from the Kent population or a primary immigrant. Other species of note recorded in Felixstowe by MM in 2014 included Wormwood Cucullia absinthii (L.), Toadflax Brocade Calophasia lunula (Hufnagel), Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea ([D. & S.]), Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata (Rambur), Crocidosema plebejana Zeller and Tachystola acroxantha (Meyrick). Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 51 (2015)


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Some of the other interesting records for the year not mentioned elsewhere included Ethmia quadrillella (Goeze) at Lakenheath RSPB Reserve (8 June and 29 July, KP), Pammene obscurana (Stephens) (22 May, NS) and Cydia cosmophorana (Treitschke) (23 May and 8 June, NS) at Ipswich Golf Course, Dystebenna stephensi (Stainton) at Hollesley (11 July, RW) and (17 July, NS) at Ipswich Golf Course, Zelleria hepariella Stainton at Hollesley (20 July, RW) and Tinea pallescentella Stainton (27 August, NO) at Landguard. The arrival of scarcer migrants started early in the year with a presumed migrant Tissue at Hollesley (3 April, RW) and a singleton record of Concolorous Photedes extrema (Hübner) at Orford Ness NNR (23 May, MM). As the summer months approached Obscure Wainscot Leucania obsoleta (Hübner) was seen at Dunwich Forest (8 June, WC) and Crambus pratella (L.) at Orford Ness NNR (6, 7 and 13 June, MM). The latter species is assumed to be a migrant but confirmed records of this species seem to be localised to an area of the coast between Orford Ness and Sizewell and if of migrant origin then it would seem more reasonable for the species to arrive on a broader front and be appearing at other coastal recording stations. MM also recorded the following scarcer species at Orford Ness over the year with a Mere Wainscot Photedes fluxa (Hübner) on 18 July, a singleton Hoary Footman Eilema caniola (Hübner) on 2 August and a Beautiful Marbled Eublemma purpurina ([D. & S.]) on 22 August. A moth group meeting at Aldeburgh-Thorpeness beach on 25 July had a very successful evening with over 180 species recorded. Several migrant species were seen with Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea (L.), Cydia amplana (Hübner), Dotted Footman Pelosia muscerda (Hufnagel), Silver Y Autographa gamma (L.), Plutella xylostella (L.) and three Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (L.) butterflies making their way into the moth traps. The group also recorded some localised resident species with White-mantled Wainscot Archanara neurica (Hübner), Green Arches Anaplectoides prasina ([D. & S.]), Reed Dagger Simyra albovenosa (Goeze), Eucosma lacteana (Treitschke), Epinotia signatana (Douglas) and Epinotia caprana (Fab.). Dotted Footman was also recorded around the same time at Ipswich Golf Course (24 July, NS) and Hollesley (27 July, RW) and RW also recorded E. caprana at Hollesley later in the year on 28 September. A Silvery Gem Eucarta virgo (Treitschke) recorded at light at Blythburgh (24 July, DW) was a new species for the county and only the third record for the UK. The second record for the UK was made at Weybourne by R Eagling in Norfolk the preceding night, so there may well have a been a small migrant wave arriving in the country at this time. The moth currently Silvery Gem Eucarta virgo new to Suffolk appears to be expanding its range on continental Europe having been recorded from central European and Scandinavian countries. The larvae is generally polyphagous on herbaceous plants including

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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Dandelion (Taraxacum), Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Mint (Mentha) and willow (Salix). Some further records of summer migrants included Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar (L.) at Landguard (1 August, NO), Portland Moth Actebia praecox (L.) at Hollesley (25 July, RW), Scarce Silver Y Syngrapha interrogationis (L.) at Bawdsey (24 July, M Deans), Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites (Esper) at Landguard (27 August, NO) and Great Brocade Eurois occulta (L.) also at Landguard (29 July, NO). As the end of the recording season approached there were further sightings of interest with Duponchelia fovealis Zeller at Hollesley (28 Sep, RW), Uresiphita gilvata (Fab.) at Ipswich (23 October, PK) and Spoladea recurvalis (Fab.)at Hollesley (17 October, RW). Since I wrote last year’s report a couple of items relating to the 2013 report have arisen that need mentioning. The first was the omission from the previous report [Prichard, 2014] of some records of note from Orford Ness NNR in 2013 recorded by Mike Marsh, these included Antigastra catalaunalis (Duponchel) (4 October), Uresiphita gilvata (20 October) and a new species for Suffolk - the Pine Processionary Thaumetopoea pityocampa ([D. & S.]) (16 August). I also have a correction to make to last year’s report in that records made by PK that referred to Bourne Park in Ipswich should have been quoted simply as Ipswich. 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; Paul Bryant (PB), Lucy Burbridge (LB), Wendy Carter (WC), Alan Cornish (AC), Liz Cutting (LC), Stan Dumican Pine Processionary Thaumetopoea (SD), John Everson (JE), Suzanne Grimwood pityocampa new to Suffolk in 2013. (SG), Dave Grundy (DG), Robin Harvey (RH), Tony Hopkins (TH), Brian Jones (BJ), Paul Kitchener (PK), Keith Knights (KK), Peter Lack (PL), Stuart Ling (SL), Mike Marsh (MM), Clive Moore (CM), Nigel Odin (NO), Adrian Parr (AP), Katherine Puttick (KP), Neil Sherman (NS), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG), Raymond Watson (RW), Phil Wilkins (PW), David Wilson (DW) 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. 2014. Comments and notes on some Suffolk Moths in 2013. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 50: 49–54. Tony Prichard (TP) 3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9JR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 51 (2015)

Comments and notes on some Suffolk moths in 2014  

A. W. Prichard

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