Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter

Issue 22 - May 2001

Edited by Jon Nicholls

In this issue


What a start to the new year! Rain, rain and more rain, good weather for Nymphulinae but not much else. I have now moved to my new address in darkest Suffolk and have found very few moths in my trap on the odd occasions I have thought it worthwile putting it on. The only moth in numbers has been the Hebrew Character. Adding to that has been the Foot and Mouth situation which has meant access to sites has been very reduced. If you are looking at the SMG field trips list then it is essential that you phone TP beforehand to check whether the event will take place at the planned location.

As I explained in the last newsletter I have moved location to Felsham and changed job and so unfortunately no longer have the time to do the newsletter anymore. I have enjoyed doing it over the past five years and I hope you have found it useful. When I went to my first SMG meeting in 1994 the number of regular travelling mothers in Suffolk seemed to be at a low ebb with Arthur and Jan Watchman the only regulars. Since then the interest in the SMG has wazed and waned but it is at a high at the moment, often with so many people at a Friday evening event that there are problems with overcrowding! This is a healthy state of affairs and long may it continue.

When Arthur resigned as county recorder I volunteered to help transfer the many records to the SBRC database as joint recorder with Tony Prichard. As most of this is done now I feel that this is a good time to let Tony take full control as he has been doing most of the work anyway.

All monies collected for the newsletters will be passed on to the new editor so those of you in credit will continue to receive yours.

I hope te recent scraps of sunshine will bring out the moths and fill the traps, especially in Felsham!

Moths at Ipswich Golf Club, October 2000 to April 2001 - Neil Sherman

Considering the cold wet weather over the period, it was surprising that any moths were seen at all!

In October, species of note were Diurnea phryganella, Barred Sallow (seen on the 24th). Due to the terrible conditions, attention switched to leaf mines, a poorly recorded group at this site. With help from Tony Prichard, 36 species were identified, all new to the list.

November saw good numbers of the Scarce Umber (peak 6 on 29th) and he local Northern Winter Moth. Also seen was Streak (on the 12th) and 8 more species of leaf mine.

December produced very little with Mottled Umber, more Scarce Umber and (on time!) December Moth, mostly seen around the clubhouse lights.

No trapping was done at all in January, with the only moths being seen were Satellite (on 22nd - in the tea hut keeping warm!) and the first Pale Brindled Beauty and Spring Usher (on the 25th) on the tea hut window.

February was more interesting, with Small Brindled Beauty, Dotted Border, March and Pale Brindled Beauty (all on the 7th). The first Ealy Moth for 4 years was seen on the 11th. The larval borings of the Lunar Hornet  Clearwing were found on site while coppicing Sallow (on the 28th), and the old emergence holes of its relative the Hornet Moth were also seen at the base of poplars. Also seen during the day was the first Grey Shoulder-knot of the year.

Common Quaker and Small Quaker both made their first appearances of the year (on the 6th and 23rd respectively) in March, in previous years they have been recorded in February. Both these and all other species seen during the month were in very low numbers. Of note were: Yellow Horned (maximum 10 on the 30th), Oak Beauty and Small Brindled Beauty (the highest ever count of 21 on the 6th). Best night's trapping was the 30th, with 17 species recorded (4 lights in operation). The first Orange Underwing since 1995 was also seen this month, on its daytime flight up on the heathland.

Things improved in April with 23 species seen. Of interest were: Aluctia hexadactyla (1st and 23rd), Frosted Green, Lunar Marbled Brown (first recorded on the 22nd with 12 seen on the 27th), Brindled Beauty (a scarce species here with one on 22nd), Pine Beauty (2 on 27th), Purple Thorn and the first Great Prominent (27th). Another Orange Underwing was also spotted on the 6th, flying around birch.

Records from recorders around the county

Ipswich Golf Club, May to June - Neil Sherman

Finally the moth season seems to be taking off, with only small numbers of Orthosias along with some other interesting species. Full list included; Eriocrania subpurpurella, Least Black Arches, Birch Mocha, Grey Pine Carpet, Chocolate-tip, Orange Footman, Muslin Moth, Hebrew Character, Brown Silver-line, Common Pug, Maiden's Blush, Lunar Marbled Brown, Buff-tip, Great Prominent, Knot Grass, Common Quaker, Frosted Green, Brindled Pug, Clouded Drab, Esperia sulphrella, Epinotia immundana, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Agonopterix arenella, Pebble Hook-tip, Brimstone, Double-striped Pug, Narrow-winged Pug, Green Carpet, Yellow Belle, Pale Oak Beauty, Grey Birch, White Ermine, Poplar Hawk-moth, Flame Shoulder, Treble Lines, Barred Red, Sprice Carpet, Brindled White-spot and Heart and Dart. Also seen durign the day on the 1st were Satellite caterpillar and Monopis laevigella in a bird box.

Suffolk Moth Survey - Tony Prichard

Thelnetham Fen - 18th May 2001

The Suffolk Moth Group night planned for Thelnetham Fen actually ended up taking place at Barnhamcross Common, Thetford due mainly to a water-logged fen and the prospect of a night avoiding ticks. Moth of the night turned out to be False Mocha, which was found on the final trap round. Lengths of species lists are now starting to look more respectable; Monopis weaverella, Caloptilia robustella, Plutella xylostella, Agonopterix arenella, Cochylis atricapitana, Syndemis musculana, Epinotia immundana, Scoparia ambigualis, Chinese Character, Frosted Green, False Mocha, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Streamer, Water Carpet, Purple Bar, Small Phoenix, Grey Pine Carpet, Green Carpet, Ochreous Pug, Brindled Pug, Double-striped Pug, Yellow-barred Brindle, Latticed Heath, Brimstone Moth, Pale Oak Beauty, Common White Wave, White-pinion Spotted, Iron Prominent, Great Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Lunar Marbled Brown, Pale Tussock, Ruby Tiger, Cinnabar, Least Black Arches, Flame Shoulder, Red Chestnut, Shears, Pine Beauty, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character, Chestnut, Oak Nycteoline and Nut-tree Tussock.

Westleton Heath - 25th May 2001

As night fell temperatures dropped and mist formed over most of the heath, ending at 4C by the end of the evening. With 6 lamps 20 species were recorded at light along with a couple of other species flying at dusk. Species of possible note included; Birch Mocha, Great Prominent, Bordered White, Ochreous Pug and Brindled Beauty.

Great Martins Wood - 26th May 2001

Neil Sherman and myself made a daytime visit to Great Martins Wood, near Bentley as part of a Suffolk Naturalists' Society recorders meeting. Of interest where the large numbers of Speckled Yellow (40+), the Maple Pug larvae beaten from Field Maple and the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth nectaring at Red Campion.

Wrentham - 1st June 2001

The meeting at Kitchen Wood, Wrentham turned out to be rather a quiet night. The site is a privately-owned piece of ancient woodland previously coppiced. 4 MV lights were run. The only thing of note was a quite unusual form of Maiden's Blush picked up as we cleared up. It was rather on the small side and the red median fascia split into two as it approached the costa. Full list included; Caloptilia syringella, Pseudoswammerdamia combinella, Endrosis sarcitrella, Syndemis musculana, Crambus lathoniellus, Oak Hook-tip, Maiden's Blush, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Broken-barred Carpet, Green Carpet, Small White Wave, Clouded Border, Brown Silver-line, Scalloped Hazel, Waved Umber, Pale Oak Beauty, Common White Wave, Light Emerald, Lime Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, Marbled Brown, Pale Tussock, Least Black Arches, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Angle Shades, Treble Lines and Green Silver-lines.

National Moth Night - Jon Nicholls

Just a reminder that National Moth Night this year will be on August 11th.

Cheap Lights - Jon Nicholls

Lyco Direct are by far the cheapest supplier of bulbs I have found. They sell 125W bulbs for £3.29 each (+ VAT) if you order 6 or more (£4.99 if you buy 1). Postage is free on orders over £40, £3.99 on orders less than £40. To order you ring a freephone number (0800 525980) and they deliver next day. They sell a whole range of different wattage bulbs but not deal in entomological equipment.

Book Reviews

Enjoying Moths by Roy Leverton - Neil Sherman

This book encourages us to go out and enjoy moths, and is written in such an enthusiastic and easy-going style as to appeal to expert and amateur alike. There are lots of books covering identification, but this is the first to actually cover the subject of mothing itself for many years.

Subjects covered include the structure and colour of moths, distribution, identification, finding moths (by day and night), rearing, photography, recording moths and conserving moths, all written from personal experience and a lot of it new information. Supplementing the text are excellent photographs, most taken by the author himself.

What is most useful are the tips and anecdotes dotted throughout the text. For example, the recipe for sugar is given, including the warning to keep it fresh; if you stay out longer than planned on a good night you may want to consume the sugar yourself! Another good tip - did you know your bathroom makes a good moth trap? I certainly didn't! The section on photography is exceptionally good; showing that only simple equipment can be used to good effect.

I found this a most enjoyable read, with lots of relevant information for my current moth studies - I found it very hard to put down for long. A definite must for all full and part-time lepidopterist bookshelves.

Tortricoid Identification Guide - Jon Nicholls

A new guide to the identification of European Tortrix moths is due out this year. Called; Die Wickler (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) Mitteleuropas, Bestimmung, Verbreitung, Okolgie. With genitalia drawings and 50 colour plates it could be a great help with the identification of this interesting but difficult group. However it may, by having so many non-UK moths in it, be even more confusing. Also the quality of the plates is also very important. I have a Pyralid book in the same series and the plates are no where near as good as the Goater ones.

Pug book - Jon Nicholls

Apparently the plates for the forthcoming Pug book from Harley Books are going to be a bit late. The plates have been rejected by the publishers and will have to be re-done. So don't hold your breath....