Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter
Issue 35 - Winter 2004/2005
In this issue
In the Winter issue last year I made a comment about wondering if
numbers of moths would be down in 2004 due to the long dry summer of
2003. Comments received from various recorders around the county would
tend to give a rather mixed picture - from a below average year through
to a good year. My personal impression was that it was a good year with
the added bonus of being a good migrant year. What sort of season lies
in store for 2005? Not very much until this cold snap finishes.
The SMG events programme has now been finalised and as usual we plan to
visit various parts of the county. Last year's visits to Belton
certainly made a dent in the lack of recent records for that area and
we're returning again this year for a couple of visits. There are a
couple of events with overnight stays (Orfordness and Havergate). If
you would like to go on these then please get in touch as places need
to be reserved due to limited accomodation.
I have just about finished entering the majority of moth records for
2004 but there are still some recorders who have not sent in records.
Can I give a gentle reminder to send these in sooner rather than later
as I would like to finish the data entry process while we're still in
the quiet season. That said I will accept records at any time and there
is no cut off date for sending in records for a year.
Two issues ago I posed a question - what is the modern name for the
moth previously known as the Goose Egg. As I forgot to give the answer
in the last issue and nobody mentioned the omission to me there was/is
obviously a lack of interest in the answer! Despite the apathy here is
the answer - Chinese Character. I find it hard to visualise the Chinese
Character as anything like a goose egg, maybe that is why the name lost
favour. Of more interest locally is the Grey Carpet, an earlier name
for the Sloe Carpet Aleucis
distinctata, and a possible source of confusion in old
references with what we now call Grey Carpet Lithostege griseata.
The annual indoor meeting for 2005 has now been arranged for the 2nd
April at Needham Market - details below.
Thanks to all the contributors of articles and photos for this
Red-headed Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala (D. &
- a moth new to Suffolk - Matthew Deans
The Red-headed Chestnut Conistra
erythrocephala (D. & S., 1775) is a widespread species
breeding in almost every European country. Its larvae are
believed to feed on fresh young Oak, Elm or Hornbeam leaves then
descend to continue feeding on various ground-cover plants like
Dandelion, plantains, bedstraws, etc. The moth occurs in two
forms: the nominate form and the form glabra.
Its confusion species are The Chestnut and perhaps the Dark
Chestnut. However, the Red-headed Chestnut can be identified by
its larger size and the presence of two or three small black dots in
the lower half of the reniform stigma which are
First recorded in the U.K. in East Sussex in 1847, the moth appeared to
be resident there until 1874 and then again between 1913 and 1932 in
the woods around Lewes and Eastbourne. Away from this area (and
excluding questionable records from the Canterbury, Kent area)
approximately a dozen British records followed in the twentieth
century, mostly from south-east England. Of interest to Suffolk
recorders are the records from our adjacent counties of Norfolk (at
Wells on 28.10.45) and, more recently, in Essex (Dovercourt, 09.11.03,
C. Gibson). So with records to the north and south of Suffolk,
perhaps it was inevitable that the species would one day turn up in the
Winds from the south during the last week of October 2004 had produced
a good run of scarcer immigrants at Bawdsey. On Sunday 31 October
alone single Gem, White-speck and Scarce Bordered Straw were all
trapped. Having reported these captures to Steve Nash (Migrant
Moth web-site coordinator), he alerted me to the fact that Tuesday
night was looking promising for immigrants.
Monday 1 November produced another Scarce Bordered Straw. A
south-easterly airflow was forecast for the Suffolk coast on Tuesday 2
November. These conditions brought a moth to the Robinson trap
which I tentatively identified as a Red-headed Chestnut! I was
quietly confident with the identification so I told a few people that I
had a probable Red-headed Chestnut.
Chestnut - 2nd November 2004 © Matthew Deans
Chestnut -- 25th November 2004 © Matthew Deans
A few days before the Bawdsey capture, I had studied photographs on the
'Atropos' and 'Moths of Dungeness' web-sites of specimens of Red-headed
Chestnut taken in Kent recently. The 'Atropos' specimen was a
well-marked individual of the form glabra
- which was brighter with more contrast than mine. James
McGill kindly emailed me photographs of a nominate form individual
taken in Somerset earlier this year. Once I saw these pictures, I
was in no doubt that my specimen was definitely a Red-headed Chestnut
of the nominate form.
The Bawdsey specimen was larger than a Chestnut, exhibited three small
black dots within the reniform stigma and showed a darker wedge-shaped
mark on the leading edge of the forewing near the tip.
Incredibly on the same night as the Bawdsey individual two Red-headed
Chestnuts were trapped at Portland, Dorset and another at Dungeness,
Kent. I emailed Steve Nash the news and he replied to say that he
had also trapped one at Swanage, Dorset! So there it was,
five trapped in the country on the same night. More records
followed with a total of 13 recorded between 25 October and 16
November. This was the largest ever influx into the
U.K. There were also three records in the late winter/early
spring period, making a total of 16 in the U.K. during 2004.
I thought the story was now over....... That was, until 25
November when I inspected the Robinson trap at Bawdsey to discover
another Red-headed Chestnut! Incredibly it was the only moth in
the trap. This was also of the nominate form and was just over
three weeks after the first County record. This specimen had more
obvious black dots in the reniform stigma although the wing edges were
slightly worn. A few Silver Ys had been trapped in the
preceding days and the winds had been from the south or
south-west. It will be interesting to see if any appear
after hibernation in early-spring 2005.
South, R. 1980 reprint. The Moths of the British Isles, series
Skinner, B. Second edition 1998. Moths of the British Isles.
Waring, Townsend & Lewington, Field Guide to the Moths of Great
Britain and Ireland.
Websites visited: Essex Moth Group, Suffolk Moth Group, Atropos,
Migrant Moth.com, Moths of Dungeness, Portland Bird Observatory.
Footnote: Since this
was written more records have come to light, see Atropos 24 Winter
notably one at Bradwell, Essex during 2004.
Indoor Meetings, Winter 2004/2005 -
Dissection Workshop - 20th November 2004
This well attended workshop was held at Ipswich Museum and we must
thank Jon Clifton for coming along and taking us through the techniques
of genitalia dissection (in moths!). The group held a similar workshop
several years ago, again led by Jon, but since then technology has
moved on a bit. With a dissecting microscope connected up to a digital
and TV it was possible for those present to see just what Jon was doing
under the microscope. Following demonstrations on different types of
moth there was time to try a few dissections ourselves on moths that
had been brought along -
this managed to confirm a few tentative determinations made earlier in
the year. Possibly not a technique that will appeal to all, a
microscope is essential and costs a few pennies, but hopefully it gave
at least an appreciation of what is involved. Thanks are due to Ipswich
Museum for providing a meeting room
for the event.
demonstrating dissection techniques © David Lampard
Identification Workshop - 1st December 2004
This was a chance to work through some of those troublesome photos or
specimens that have been lying around unidentified for too long. On the
night attendance was a bit on the low side but with the material to
hand we still managed to finish rather later than expected. Neil
Sherman did a section on some of the pugs and already I've been asked
if this could be repeated at the next workshop. This event will be run
again later on this year. If you would like particular areas covered
then shout now so as to give us the chance to photograph material if it
has not already available.
Annual Indoor Meeting - Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market - 2nd April
2005, 11.00am to 4.30pm
The annual indoor meeting of the group has been arranged for 2nd April
2005 and will again take place at Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market.
Doors will open at 10.30am with proceedings starting 11.00am. This will
be an informal meeting with myself giving an overview of the recording
season of 2004 and various other bits and pieces based on data from the
county moth database. The format for the rest of the day will be
largely down to members of the group. So please bring along any digital
photos/slides/exhibits or anything that you think might be of interest
to other members of the group. If nobody brings anything along it will
be a very short meeting. If you do intend bringing anything along then
please let me know so that I can hopefully come up with some sort of
running order. Refreshments will be available but lunch will not be
provided, although there is a coffee shop at the farm and pubs not too
far away or bring a packed lunch. Feedback from last year's
meeting was generally very good, so if you didn't come along last year
then why not make a date of it this year.
Alder Carr Farm (Grid reference: TM091553) is on the eastern outskirts
of Needham Market and is sign-posted from the A14. There is ample car
parking at the site.
A cautionary note on Langmaid's Yellow
Underwing Noctua janthina and
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe - Matthew
Deans and Jon Clifton
Most readers will know that the European species Noctua janthina was
first identified in the U.K. and named as Langmaid's Yellow Underwing
by John Langmaid following a specimen trapped in Hampshire in
2001. This short note is aimed at outlining some of the
identification pitfalls these two species can present, following the
capture of specimens of both species in the U.K. by Matthew Deans in
Two early janthe/janthina caught at 125w M.V. light at Rendham, Suffolk
on 15 July 2004 were upon capture believed to be Langmaid's, as one in
particular exhibited a hindwing with broad black terminal fascia
extending all the way along the costa, thus forming an orange spot
(pic. 1). The underside of the forewing was not as extensively
black as a typical Langmaid's and showed finger-like projections (pic.
2), which unfortunately pointed towards these being Lesser
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings. This was not clearly seen until
the moths were removed from the setting boards.
|Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe
Rendham, Suffolk (15 July 2004) © Matthew Deans
Yellow Underwing Noctua janthina
Dungeness, Kent (7 Aug 2004) © Matthew Deans
|Picture 1 - upperside
|Picture 3 - upperside
|Picture 2 - underside
|Picture 4 - underside
Whilst trapping in the Long Pits at Dungeness, Kent on 7 August, Paul
Bryant, Matthew Deans and Lee Gregory obtained two specimens showing a
similarly patterned hindwing to the Rendham specimen, but more
importantly had an extensive dusky black underside to the
forewing. These features are depicted in photographs 3 and 4.
To further the complication of these two species most of their biology
seems to differ very little indeed from habitat, larvae (some
differences in early instars), food plant and even genitalia. Referral
to an original paper written by Michael Fibiger et al, sensu auctorum a
complex of three species from Nota lepid. 14 (1) from 1991, to
Noctuidae Europeae Volume 2 page 83, and to Noctuidae Europeae Volume
3, pages 154, 155 does not give much more information for separation
It is thus clear that given a probable janthina in the field close
scrutiny must be advised, text should be consulted and if possible,
access to specimens of both species should be sort before a clear
identification can take place. Most importantly, retain the specimen!
Many thanks to Colin Plant and Norman Hall for helpful comments.
Here is another picture quiz courtesy of Neil Sherman. Each
picture shows part of an adult moth or caterpillar of a species that
may be seen in Suffolk. This year Neil has included some of the larger
micros. Answers will appear in the next issue of the newsletter.
The L-album Wainscot is an unmistakable moth with the white letter 'L'
on the forewing being diagnostic. First recorded in the U.K. in
Devon in 1901, the moth was believed to be an immigrant, occurring on
the south coast, until the 1930s. Then it was considered to be a
resident breeder in Devon (although apparently no wild larvae were
|L-album Wainscot, Bawdsey © Matthew Deans
Since the 1930s until the present day, the moth occurs from Cornwall
eastwards to Kent including the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of
Wight. Away from the south coast there have been records of
immigrants from North Hampshire, Berkshire, London and
In Kent the L-album Wainscot was first recorded at Dungeness in
1934. This was the sole record until 1989 when four were recorded
in the area. Since the early 1990's the moth has been recorded
annually, increasing in numbers and distribution and appears to have
colonised areas a few miles inland of Dungeness itself. It occurs
regularly in both broods although numbers of the moth are generally
greater in the second brood - a phenomenon noted in Suffolk too.
The species has spread north through Kent, with records coming from the
Isle of Thanet, where in 2004 a good count of five was made on 28
September at Elvington. The moth has also started spreading to
sites west along the Thames estuary.
In Essex there were seven records during 2003 from widespread sites
covering the second-brood period September/October.
The first Suffolk records involved singletons at Landguard in 2000 and
2001 (N Odin & M Marsh). Records came from Orfordness and
Landguard during 2002 (J Askins, N Odin & M Marsh). In 2003
the moth was recorded from new sites at Dunwich Heath (M Cornish) and
Bawdsey (M Deans), in addition to the two previously mentioned
sites. However in 2004 the status in Suffolk was to change rather
On the first night I ran my M.V. Skinner trap at Bawdsey on 16 June
2004, I recorded a single L-album Wainscot. Two more were trapped
on 1 July, with a further singleton on 8 July.
Then no more L-album Wainscots were trapped at Bawdsey until 10
September when three appeared in a Robinson trap. The species was
then trapped virtually nightly (when the trap was run), with 59
recorded by the month's end. Another 28 individuals were logged
throughout October, with the last of the year on 19th. So to
summarise: four were trapped during the first-brood (16 June to 8 July)
and 87 were trapped during the second-brood (10 September to 19
October), see graph below. The peak was late September as shown.
In addition to the moths trapped within the Bawdsey Manor Estate, Nick
Mason caught thirteen individual L-album Wainscots on ten trap-nights
between 13 September and 9 October in his garden at nearby Hollesley
(and two other localities in the village). His trap run
occasionally at Shingle Street had produced negative
I became rather keen on establishing exactly where the centre of the
population was in Suffolk and what was going on. Clearly with
this number of moths they were not all immigrants? I enlisted the
help of Nick Mason and several members of the Suffolk Moth Group to get
involved in some survey work.
Nick Mason, Tony Prichard and I trapped at East Lane, Bawdsey (a site c2 miles north of the Bawdsey Manor
Estate) on 22 September and recorded a single L-album Wainscot at 125w
M.V. light. Then Nick Mason and I trapped by the allotments at
Shingle Street on 29 September and failed to record any L-album.
So it would appear that the main population stretches from Bawdsey Quay
northwards to East Lane (and possibly no further north, as none
recorded at Shingle Street). Then there was the population
slightly inland of Shingle Street at Hollesley to explain!
Further up the coast Tony Prichard, Neil Sherman and I trapped at
Aldeburgh halfway cottage with negative results, although this was
thought of as a long shot!
Could it be that there is a breeding colony in the Bawdsey area and
that the occasional records elsewhere on the Suffolk coast are
My thanks in particular to Sean Clancy and Nick Mason for information
provided used within this article.
South, R. 1980 reprint. The Moths of the British Isles, series
Skinner, B. Second edition 1998. Moths of the British Isles.
Waring, Townsend & Lewington, Field Guide to the Moths of Great
Britain and Ireland.
Websites visited: Suffolk Moth Group, Essex Moth Group, Moths of
Dungeness, Planet Thanet.
The Horse-Chestnut Leaf Miner Cameraria
ohridella was first found near Lake Ohrid in Macedonia (hence
its unusual latin name) and soon spread through Europe rapidly,
reaching Britain in July 2002 at Wimbledon, south London. Its predicted
dispersal, as with other leaf mining adventive colonists such as Phyllonorycter leucographella
(1989) and Phyllonorycter platani
(1991) was documented as it spread through the south of England and the
Home Counties later that year.
It first reached Suffolk, found by Neil Sherman, in August 2004 at the
Ipswich Golf Course (VC25) with further records throughout the county
now standing at over 15 sites covering both VC's with a bias to the
south and east (AWP - possibly due to
In Norfolk mines were also discovered in August at Surlingham Church
(VC27). It was then seen at a further five sites throughout the year in
both VC's. Norwich and Thetford being two main areas.
The mines are fairly distinctive with one side of the leaf being
'blistered' although care is required not to confuse these with a very
common leaf mould which also affects the leaf.
|Mine to the right and mould infection to the
- adult moth
|Photos © Rob Edmunds
More information can be found at the Leaf Mining web site at www.leafmines.co.uk
Introduction to Moths Course at Sandwich
Bay, June 2005 - Tony Prichard
Tony Davis of Butterfly Conservation has brought to my attention a
course that is being run by Butterfly Conservation and the Sandwich Bay
Bird Observatory Trust. The course is primarily intended as a
beginner's course but there should be plenty of interest for more
experienced recorders as well. The course runs from the evening of
Friday 25th June to mid-afternoon of Sunday 27th June, with moth lights
being run on the Friday and Saturday nights. Daytime activities include
a number of identification workshops, including identifying moths
caught during the night-time sessions. There is a charge; £60 for
residential places and £35 for non-residential places, with a
limited number of the latter. Species of interest that caught my
eye when I was looking at the lists for 2004 (when I'm told the
conditions were not favourable) were; Six-belted Clearwing, Bright
Wave, Rest Harrow, Pigmy Footman, Water Ermine, Kent Black Arches,
Toadflax Brocade and Reddish Light Arches. If you would like further
details then contact myself and I will pass on contact information.
Dissection News - Jon Clifton
Many thanks to all recorders handing me on examples of Cnephasia from 2004. I have now
finished dissecting well over twenty of these from various sites in
Suffolk. With interest is the discovery of Cnephasia pasiuana from the
Ipswich, Martlesham and Minsmere areas, the first recent records from
(interestingly Norfolk also produced one from the north coast also
constituting the first recent record) Further records of Cnephasia genitalana have also came
to light (pardon the pun) via genitalia examination.
Of other interesting micros dissected from the 2004 season where Acleris logiana, thought of once as
almost a Scottish speciality but has been turning up over various
southern counties over the past few years. Suffolk now holds in excess
of twenty records from six sites of this handsome looking moth, the
majority from the Ipswich area giving the clear impression of a local
breeding population (again Norfolk has produced its first two records
in 2004 as well).
Unfortunately only one of the metallic green Coleophora of the trifolii group
where handed onto me, from Paul Bryant. This turned out to be Coleophora alcyonipennella from
Of significant interest was the discovery of a female Scythris potentillella from the
Ipswich Golf Course found outdoors resting on the work shed wall
in August. The first Suffolk record for over twenty years, old records
being from Thorpeness (1972) and Lakenheath (1980/81), albeit the true
identity being somewhat clouded with only males being examined and
which tended to resemble both potentillella
and cicadella in
genital characteristics, this female surely meaning the nomenclature is
|Scythris potentillella © Jon Clifton
|Cnephasia pasiuana © Jon Clifton
The capture of Catocala conjuncta
at Minsmere RSPB was overshadowed by the much more handsome Cosmiotes consortella (pun intended
of course!) captured in August and handed onto me with a batch of
micro's for determination. Well done all there.
Thanks to Tony Prichard, Neil Sherman and Jeff Higgott for dates and
This year's survey has been progressing well with the majority of the
this year being carried out by Neil Sherman and myself with additional
help from Graham Bull, Matthew Deans and Nick Mason. Mild weather in
and into early January meant that most of the visits to our regular
survey sites had been
completed ahead of schedule. As it would appear that counting the
larvae in their earlier instars provides more accurate estimates of
population numbers this was fortunate. We have managed to add a few new
sites for the species with Westleton Common, Martlesham Common and
Wenhaston Black Heath all providing positive results. On the downside
some of the surveyed sites now seem to be suffering from encroachment
of either bracken or sand sedge, and the effect of this will need to be
monitored in future surveys. Experience has shown that if bracken or
sand sedge occurs in more than just small amounts in an area that
larval numbers are significantly reduced or even absent. It would also
appear that heathland management in the Sandlings is going to see more
widespread use of grazing and the impact of this on Lunar Yellow
Underwing will need to be assessed in future surveys - findings in the
Brecks would indicate that grazing has not proved beneficial in the
Of particular interest have been exceptionally high counts of Lunar
Yellow Underwing larvae at Tunstall Common. Our first visit to this
site on 13th December recorded 236 larvae in one survey area. All
counts are adjusted to give a standard comparison value (number of
larvae per surveyor per hour) and this count of 236 has an adjusted
count of 236 (there were three of us counting for 20 minutes). This is
an extremely high adjusted count - we would normally expect between
30-50 as an adjusted count for a reasonable area of habitat and our
previous highest adjusted count was 88. Two further visits have been
made to the site since then and adjusted counts of 182 and 226 were
made, so numbers were holding up prior to the cold snap.
With the recent spell of cold weather larval counts have been
temporarily suspended so I have resorted to analysing some of the data
from this year's survey so far. 17 nights of surveying have been
carried out from 5th December to 11th February. 12 main areas have been
visited with 25 survey sites covered. We have made 159
records covering 17 species of moth, with a total of 2150 caterpillars
counted and of these 1573 were of Lunar Yellow Underwing larvae.
Species recorded as larvae are Lunar Yellow Underwing, Large Yellow
Underwing, Lesser Yellow
Underwing, Yellow Shell, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Green
Carpet, Yellow Belle, Cream-spot Tiger, Autumnal Rustic, True Lover's
Knot, Square-spot Rustic, Lunar Underwing, Straw Underwing and Angle
It will be interesting to see what effect this cold weather has had on
larval numbers. Limited experience in the past has shown a drop in
numbers following very cold periods.
European Butterflies Web
Site - Tony Prichard
With the increasing interest in digital photography and the internet
there has been a rise in the number of moth picture web sites over the
last few years. As with most web sites they can be widely varying in
quality and coverage. European Butterflies by Chris Jonko at http://www.lepidoptera.bai.pl/
in my view is one of the top sites at the moment - covering not just
butterflies but all European lepidoptera. The design of the web site is
very elegant and simple to use. Although the text is mainly in Polish
there is increasing support for other languages and English species
checklists are provided. All species appear to be covered with the
level of information and photographs being more limited for the
micro-lepidoptera.- not surprisingly. Distribution data seems to be
lacking for the UK although the European distribution maps give a
broad view of a moth's distribution. A site well worth a visit to
a browse around, a lot of information is presented graphically so the
lack of English doesn't detract too much.
If you like the site how about supporting it by contributing a
few (or more) photos of moths that may be missing or under-represented
- Chris has previously been in contact with me about supporting the
site so any contributions should be well received.
reports - Tony Prichard
SMG Moth Night - Aspal Close - 3rd September 2004
This was a second attempt to look for Oak Lutestring at this local
nature reserve with good numbers of old oak pollards. The event
had been opened to the public and was well attended. Fortunately for
them a good number of moths were attracted to the light and they seemed
to go away happy enough. Conditions were reasonably
favourable and we did quite well with over 60 species recorded. A
few interesting species turned up amongst the commoner late summer and
autumnal usual suspects with Tawny Wave, Platytes alpinella, Feathered
Gothic, Frosted Orange and Hedge Rustic.
SMG Moth Night - Walberswick - 10th September 2004
In contrast to the previous meeting we struggled to get over thirty
species on this night, although we were not helped by the cool windy
weather. Looking for Rush Wainscot, in particular, we were
although time-wise we were possibly getting a bit near the end of its
season. Species of possible note included Acleris cristana (an unusual
form), Udea ferrugalis, Dark
Sword-grass, Frosted Orange and Large
Moth Night - Little Blakenham Pit - 11th September 2004
At a previous group moth night in 1996 we had had an abundance of
Treble-bar to light and to a lesser extent Lesser Treble-bar.
Maybe not too surprising as there is plenty of the foodplant in the
chalk pit. Since then we have made the odd return visit to look again
for Lesser Treble-bar without any success and our lack of luck
continued on this night - no Lesser Treble-bar but a few Treble-bars. A
visit from Lord Blakenham and his guests kept us busy as we showed
them the various species that had turned up so far. While we were
around the traps a pair of keen eyes spotted a Vestal and this raised
some excitement, not only amongst the guests. Other species recorded
out of the total of 39 were Mullein Wave, Autumnal Rustic, White-point,
Brindled Green, Brown-spot Pinion, Centre-barred Sallow and a larva of
SMG Daytime meeting - Priestley Wood - 12th September 2004
This daytime meeting was switched to Bonny Wood. At a meeting earlier
in the season when we visited Priestley Wood we had discovered that
there was not
much in the way of shrubs and trees suitable for searching for larvae.
As this visit was primarily targetted at looking for Mocha larvae it
was thought that Bonny Wood would be just as suitable a venue.
Whether this was a wise decision is not will not be known as we failed
to find any Mocha larva. Leaf-miner records formed the bulk of the
species list with the more notable including Caloptilia semifascia (forming
cones on field maple) and Ectoedemia
septembrella mines and Eucalybites
auroguttella cones on St John's Wort. Macro-moth larvae found
Small Yellow Wave, Scalloped Hazel and Common White Wave.
SMG Moth Night - Clare Country Park - 17th September 2004
A quiet cool night with few moths flying. Two leaf-miners provided
interest, with Phyllonorycter platani
mines being common on the London Plane tree in the car park and Cameraria ohridella mines also
being found in trees next to the car park. Interestingly, we have
checked for P. platani here
in the past with no luck so it would suggest it to be a recent arrival
at the site.
Moth Night - Minsmere RSPB Reserve - 18th September 2004
Intended primarily as a meeting to search for Marshmallow Moth on the
reserve, just in case it had arrived since our last search. Evidently
not, as we failed to find any adults in the traps or by searching the
foodplant with torchlight. Twenty-six species were attracted to the
light with a fair represenation of autumnal species, Monopis monachella, the pretty
black and white tineid, being the only species of particular note.
SMG Moth Night - Barnhamcross Common - 24th September 2004
Although planned as a moth light session we spent most our time at this
meeting searching the brambles and ivy blossom with torches. This
latter method was more productive than the moth lights and also helped
to keep us warm. A fair selection of autumnal species were found at the
ivy and brambles including a migrant Pearly Underwing.
Moth Night - Aldeburgh - 28th September 2004
A visit to the usual Aldeburgh-Thorpeness beach site as part of the
L-album Wainscot search organised by Matthew Deans. No L-album Wainscot
but some other species of interest were Monopis obviella, White-point,
Feathered Brindle, Deep-brown Dart and Large Wainscot, with 20 species
recorded in total.
SMG Moth Night - Northfield Wood - 1st October 2004
An extremely quiet night and with no brambles or ivy blossom to search.
So quiet that even the hornets didn't bother making an
appearance. 11 species recorded with nothing particular of note.
SMG Leaf-miner Recording Day - Lineage and Bradfield Woods -
9th October 2004
The group's now annual leaf-miner recording event started off at
Lineage Wood. The wood has a good selection of trees, shrubs and plants
and so promised to produce a good species list. Strangely the results
did not live up to our expectations with only 52 species
recorded. Species of note included Ectoedemia septembrella, Stigmella tiliae, Bucculatrix albedinella, Deltatornix torquilella, Phyllonorycter quinnata, Coleophora badiipennella, Coleophora violacea and a
Chocolate-tip larva in a few spun leaves.
Following a pub lunch in Lavenham - very enjoyable - we moved on to
Bradfield Woods. The results failed to improve on the morning session
with only 47 species recorded. Ectoedemia
rajella and P. kleemannella
were amongst the more infrequently recorded species noted on the day,
but even most of these are not particularly rare in the county.
Moth Night - Raydon Great Wood - 7th November 2004
An ad-hoc moth night searching yet again for Plumed Prominent at this
ancient wood. Moths were thin on the ground and Plumed Prominent failed
to appear. Only 10 species recorded including Udea ferrugalis, Spruce Carpet,
Autumnal Moth and Sprawler
Moth Night - Hintlesham Wood - 16th November 2004
Another moth night in the series of Plumed Prominent searches. We have
not searched this wood before for this species, although previous
searches at the neighbouring Ramsey Wood had proved negative. Activity
at the lights was slightly up on the visit to Raydon Great Wood.
Included in the 13 species recorded were Northern Winter and Winter
Moths, Scarce Umber, Sprawler, Green-brindled Crescent and November
Moth Night - Alder Carr Farm - 21st November 2004
The Plumed Prominent search continued at Alder Carr Farm, where there
is some field maple in the copse and neighbouring hedgerows. It would
appear that it is unlikely that the Plumed Prominent is there. Moth
activity was at an extremely low level - only 5 species.
Moth Night - Priestley Wood - 7th December 2004
The final Plumed Prominent search of the year. After so many negative
results we decided to return to a known site where the moth has
previously recorded in high numbers. It looks as though we may have
been too late in the moth's flight period by this stage as again we
drew a duck on the target species. 7 species recorded - December Moth,
Winter Moth, Northern Winter Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty, Mottled Umber,
Satellite and Chestnut.
from Recorders around the county
Records reported in
this section have not been checked by the Suffolk Moth Panel. Many
thanks go to the recorders who provide write-ups for this section.
at Bawdsey - October to December 2004 - Matthew Deans
Some typical late-autumn moths appeared during the first half of the
month including the first Epirritas
(November Moths), Grey and Blair's Shoulder-knots, Merveille du Jour
(9th) and both Red and Yellow-line Quakers.
However the clear highlight of the first week was the capture of a
pristine Convolvulus Hawk-moth on 3rd followed by The Delicate on
5th. A Clouded Yellow butterfly was a fine sight by day on 6th.
Other interest was provided by the ongoing surveying and capture of
L-album Wainscots (28 in Oct, last one on 19th) and Black Rustics (five
in Oct). Scarcer resident species trapped included two Deep-brown
Darts and a Large Ranunculus (8th). The Large Wainscot appeared
in good numbers almost nightly with 125 recorded throughout the month.
Mild conditions resulted in late records of both Red Underwing and
Willow Beauty on 12th with another Delicate.
The first Red-green Carpet for the site and first Feathered Thorn of
the year were trapped on 13th. Single Scarce Bordered Straws were
taken on 14th and 15th along with ten Pearly Underwings between 13th
A very un-seasonal catch was a Shoulder-striped Wainscot on 15th which
according to the literature should have finished in July!
With recent good catches of immigrants, four traps were run on 16th
which resulted in 251 moths of 35 species being trapped - very
impressive for mid-October. The highlights were a staggering 41
Dark Sword-grass, 9 Pearly Underwings and two more Scarce Bordered
Straws! Also of note were the 72 Angle Shades trapped that night
- most of these were clearly immigrants too.
The run of immigrants continued with two more Delicates trapped on 18th
followed by singles on 20th, 22nd and 24th.
Further Red-green Carpets were trapped on 17th, 22nd and 24th and Dark
Chestnut put in an appearance on four nights with Streak on two
October nights. The first Mottled Umber - a well-marked specimen
- was taken on 27th.
The much publicised Harlequin Ladybird was discovered on the site on
23rd - it will be interesting to monitor moth numbers to see if there
is any effect from this potentially devastating pest.
Odd micros this month included an un-seasonal Pleuroptya ruralis (Mother of
Pearl) on 22nd and a very streaky Acleris
cristana on 28th.
A fitting end to a fantastic month in which 77 species were recorded
were single Gem, White-speck and Scarce Bordered Straw which graced the
trap on 31st.
|White-speck © Matthew Deans
|Convolvulus Hawk-moth © Matthew Deans
The traps were operated on 28 nights during the month producing
immigrant totals of six Plutella
xylostella (Diamond-back), 27 Udea
ferrugalis, five Nomophila
noctuella (Rush Veneer), one Gem, one Convolvulus Hawk-moth, 39
Turnip Moth (mostly immigrants), 120 Dark Sword-grass, 30 Pearly
Underwings, eight White-points, seven Delicates, one White-speck, 258
Angle Shades (mostly immigrants), five Scarce Bordered Straws and 78
The month opened with single Dark Sword-grass, Scarce Bordered Straw
and Silver Y all trapped on 1st. Resident species on that date
included Streak and Large Wainscot.
A south-easterly airflow on 2nd brought a new moth to Bawdsey and for
Suffolk - a Red-headed Chestnut - of the nominate form (see separate
article). Also in the traps were single Gem, Pearly Underwing and
ten Udea ferrugalis. A
Mottled Rustic was a strangely un-seasonal sight, although in recent
years they have started to appear in October. A late
example of the pyralid moth Orthopygia
glaucinalis was at the security lights.
On 7th a Dark Arches was an odd sight next to a December Moth! It
was the first record at Bawdsey since August.
Another exciting immigrant on 8th was a Red Sword-grass in the Robinson
trap. A pristine specimen - this was only the second recent
Suffolk record since Morley's time (the other being at Landguard in
1996). Another new moth for the site on the same night was an Acleris logiana in the Skinner
Late examples of Mallow appeared on 11th, Turnip on 17th; with Large
Wainscot and Brick on 24th. The night of 24th also produced the
first Scarce Umber and Winter Moth of the season.
Another Red-headed Chestnut of the nominate form on 25th was both the
second site and County record. Incredibly it was the only moth in
the Robinson trap that night!
The month ended quietly with colder nights. A single late Angle
Shades and Silver Y on 30th were the most noteworthy.
A culmination of 21 nights trapping produced an excellent haul of
immigrants. Totals were 48 Udea
ferrugalis (Rusty-dot Pearl), one Nomophila noctuella (Rush Veneer),
one Gem, five Dark Sword-grass, two Pearly Underwings, one Red
Sword-grass, two Red-headed Chestnuts, 47 Angle Shades, one Scarce
Bordered Straw and 30 Silver Ys.
The first week of the month saw a few late examples of Brick and
Yellow-line Quaker in the traps. Some of the over-wintering
species like Grey Shoulder-knot, Satellite and Chestnut also put in an
appearance before they went into hibernation. The last Feathered
Thorn of the year was noted on 4th at the security lights.
A mild south-westerly airflow on 4th brought two Udea ferrugalis and three Silver Ys
to the traps. The only other migrant this month was a single Plutella xylostella on 8th.
Numbers of December Moths soon started to drop-off (16 recorded up
until 16th) as the Winter Moth numbers increased (60 recorded all
month). Totals of 17 of the highly variable Mottled Umber were
noted during the month along with two Scarce Umbers.
Three Dark Chestnuts appeared mid-month with a single on 14th and two
A cold spell during the run up to Christmas meant that hardly any
trapping was done through to the end of the year.
Moths at Ipswich Golf Club - October to
December 2004 - Neil Sherman
October 2004 was quite good for recording moths, with some mild nights
during the second half of the month producing some interesting trapping
results (more on this later). Moth traps were run on 7 nights,
producing a species list of 51 moths (36 macros).
Macro records of possible note included the following. Firstly, and
most noticeably at this site was the regular appearance of the
Red-green Carpet. 20 were seen in total, these being the best ever
figures - it is normally only seen once a year! Flounced chestnut was
seen 3 times at light, with 2 more sightings feeding at brambles. The
Deep-brown Dart appeared on the 4th, the last for the year. The Dark
Chestnut was first seen on the 4th, when 3 were found after dark on
bramble. The first appeared in the trap on the 28th. The Blair's
Shoulder-knot trapped on the 12th was the first record away from the
clubhouse area - another appeared on the 19th (eaten by a Hornet
unfortunately!). The only Green-brindled Crescent so far were trapped
on the 19th (2). Other more usual moths seen were Streak (5 records),
Mallow (3 records) and Merveille du jour (2 records). 2 Macros seen
were not expected - Buff Footman (12th) and Pebble Hook-tip (19th).
This follows the trend in recent years of moths appearing out of season.
Micro numbers were few, these were the ones of note at this site: Udea ferrugalis (2 records), Acleris logiana (regular) and Diurnea lipsiella (also regular).
2 trapping sessions were of note for the totals of species/numbers
appearing. 31 species were trapped on the 19th, this being the highest
for the site in October. The 28th produced a total of 18 species, but
there were 227 moths! Amongst this total were 77 November (Epirrita) sp, 70 Yellow -line
Quaker, 36 Chestnut and 14 Feathered Thorn. This was easily the highest
ever total for an October night at the site.
The Ivy blossom/brambles surveying continued at the start of the month,
until both finished for the year during the second week. As with last
month, here is a table of the results.
Numbers of both these species noticeably increased at light after both
the food sources dried up - maybe the moths were becoming more
mobile in their searching for food so hence were caught by the traps.
|Moths at bramble © Neil Sherman
moths in the trap © Neil Sherman
November continued on with the same mild theme, with a few short cold
snaps the only interruptions to the pattern. This produced probably the
best number of moths for November at this site since recording began in
1994 and also the best night (more on this later).
25 species were noted, with the following of possible note. Streak was
seen 3 times with the last on the 16th. The Chestnut was noted
regularly, with a highest count of 41 on the 7th. Northern Winter Moth
was recorded twice, but surprisingly no Winter Moths. Scarce Umber
first appeared on the 12th, and was seen regularly after that. Silver Y
was noted twice, on the 16th and 23rd - this is not the latest record
for the site though as I have one record for December (in 1994). The
macro that has provided the most interest was the Red-green Carpet.
There were records on the 1st (1), 7th (2) and 16th (3). This follows
on from the 20 seen in October. In total, I have recorded 36
individuals of this moth in 2004 - compare this with the number of
records for all previous years back to 2001 (when I recorded the first
one at the site) - a total of 5! This is equal to the highest number of
the moth I saw in one night this year (on the 24th October).
Micros noted included Diurnea
lipsiella (seen once), Epiphyas
postvittana (1) and most unusually a Scoparia ambigualis (16th).
As already mentioned, the mild conditions resulted in the best ever
trapping night for November at this site, on the 23rd. 10 species were
seen, with a total of 82 moths, all in the ALS Robinson trap. This
catch included 50 December Moths, 10 Scarce Umbers, 8 Mottled Umbers
and 2 Northern Winter Moths to name but a few.
© Neil Sherman
Very little trapping was done in December, with a trap only going out
once at the start of the month (8th). Moths seen included Northern
Winter Moth (2), Winter Moth (11) and Scarce Umber (3). Also noted this
month were the borings of the Lunar Hornet Clearwing (2nd), found while
coppicing Sallow bushes.
Mention was made in my last report of a possible record of a Porter's
Rustic on the 19th August. As this moth was worn, it was kept as a
specimen to be determined at a later date. It was taken along to the
British Entomological Society meeting in London in November, and
compared with other specimens that had also been recorded on the south
coast at the same time. All present on that day (Tony Prichard, Graham
Bull, Matthew Deans, Jon Clifton and myself) agreed that the moth was
that species, this being the first record for Suffolk of this rare
The moth species list for 2004 currently stands at 685, with a few more
species still awaiting confirmation. This compares well with 2003, when
681 species were noted, showing that, despite the periods of bad
weather 2004 was a good year for moths at this site (2003 being in most
people's opinions a very good year).
Eye Moths, Winter 2004/5 - Paul Kitchener
Generally, mild nights were the norm throughout
October and November and there was usually something of interest in the
trap during those months. The twenty species seen in November was the
best total for that month I’ve had since I began trapping in Eye in
1996. The trap was out for a total of only eight nights in December and
January with the latter month proving the better of the two for a
Late records for Clepsis
consimilana (19th October), Pseudargyrotoza
conwagana (20th October) and Monopis
obviella (15th December) were of interest. Other micros of note
were Acleris hastiana (8th
November and the first winter record for the site), Plutella xylostella (singles, 20th
October and 7th November, bringing the year total to fifteen - last
year's total was ninety nine) and Udea
ferrugalis (singles, 29th October and 5th November, bringing the
year total to seven, one more than last year).
It was an excellent autumn for the Mallow, the last one appearing on
the 25th October. A very welcome sight beside the trap on the morning
of the 1st November was a Red-green Carpet, a moth I last saw in Eye in
© Paul Kitchener
It was my best autumn ever for Feathered Thorn, up to three being
seen most nights up to 8th November, but a December Moth on the 1st
November proved to be the only one of the winter (one better than last
year however!). Three records of the Turnip in October were perhaps
typical, whilst Setaceous Hebrew Character continued to be seen
throughout that month, the last one being caught on the 1st November,
equalling my latest ever record. Five Sprawlers between 29th October
November were quite a surprise as there was only one previous site
record (and I’d only seen two in Eye in eight years). Another moth that
had it’s best year for some time, as far as my records for Eye can
tell, is the Large Wainscot, with a total of seven between 1st October
and 11th November.
Other bits and pieces for this period have included a Satellite
October), only the third of the year, but I’ve only seen one in the
previous two years(!), the last Silver Y of the year (23rd October) and
an Angle Shades (8th November). This last species has had a very poor
year, the total being a paltry seventeen individuals.
Mottled Umber was seen in typical numbers, the first on the 8th
November, but they were all over by the end of the year.
A species that has proved strangely scarce here in
Eye is the Winter Moth, with no more than ten records in a winter since
1996. The total of ten individuals this winter was better than the
blank last year however! It doesn’t seem to be a moth that is greatly
attracted to light traps, even actinic, but my totals also include
those few seen at lighted windows.
A few Dark Chestnuts and Pale Brindled Beauties in January kept the
interest going, but two Early Moths (the first on the 29th)
were particularly welcome, as it not only suggested better things to
come, but also they were the first for the site since 2003. The first
January (just) Orthosia records
that I’ve had for Eye were produced on the 31st
, when single Common Quaker and Hebrew Character were in the trap.
However, no more have been seen since and last year none were seen
|Early Moth © Paul Kitchener
|Pale Brindled Beauty © Paul Kitchener
February, so far (and at the time of writing, on the 22nd,
there is another heavy snow shower), has been very quiet. Four night’s
trapping, all in the first two weeks, produced just four species, new
ones for the year being Emmelina
monodactyla and Chestnut.
I’m sure though, that once this cold snap is over,
things will really start to take off and I’ll be out enjoying the Eye
nightlife once again.
Mendlesham Green - Steve Woolnough
Since last reporting, the trap has only been run the once; on 31st
It was a mild night and produced the reasonable total of 13 moths of 9
different species, the highest total since 29th September. It included
four new garden records, with three Feathered Thorn, singles of
Sprawler and Satellite, and three Yellow-line Quaker. A single Silver Y
was also present, together with a late Green-brindled Crescent. The
three remaining species were Turnip Moth, Red-line Quaker and Blastobasis decolorella.
With that, garden mothing ended for the year on a total of 318 species
from 96 trapping nights.
Moths at Rendham - October to December
2004 - Matthew Deans
The trap was first run on 4th with Red Underwing, two Merveille du Jour
and a Yellow-line Quaker adding flavour to autumn mothing at
Rendham. The Green-brindled Crescent was first seen on 5th when
three came to light along with Spruce Carpet and a late
Migrants were thin on the ground (compared with Bawdsey) although a
Pearly Underwing and a White-point brightened things up on 6th after
strong southerly winds. The same night produced two specimens of
Another southerly airflow on 12th brought warm and overcast conditions
resulting in a good count of 21 species. This included late
examples of Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing and Burnished Brass in
addition to the more expected Mallow, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Brick and
Red and Yellow-line Quakers.
An impressive 24 species were trapped on 13th including a Feathered
Thorn and three Dark Chestnut - both new for the year. The first
December Moth of the year appeared on 27th.
Throughout the month Merveille du Jour appeared regularly brightening
up the catch - 15 were recorded this month. There has been an
increase in Feathered Ranunculus trapped here in recent years - October
was no exception with 11 recorded. Another good total was the 15
Brown-spot Pinions trapped throughout the month - a species we take for
granted and quite scarce in some parts of the U.K.
Mild conditions prevailed throughout the first few days of the month
but moth numbers were still very low. A single Udea ferrugalis was trapped on 1st
along with a December Moth and the year's first Sprawler.
On 2nd the first Mottled Umber of the autumn was trapped along with a
Pale Mottled Willow and another Sprawler.
Feathered Thorns appeared in reasonable numbers with five trapped on
3rd. This night also produced a single late Blood-vein - the
first November record for Rendham.
Moth numbers were generally low in the garden compared with
Bawdsey. Two Udea ferrugalis
were an interesting catch on 8th (a scarce species at Rendham) and
compares favourably with the good numbers trapped at my Bawdsey site
Further specimens of Sprawler appeared on 4th, 9th, 11th and 16th - all
singletons apart from two on the last date. They were most often
discovered in the grass surrounding the trap.
The 10th saw the first Winter Moth appear on a brick wall by a security
light and was a depressing reminder of things to come.
Two Scarce Umbers trapped on 23rd were the first for the year.
This night was a good one for December Moths with 12 trapped.
The trap was run on 4th with two Mottled Umbers, Scarce Umber and two
Winter Moths trapped. The outside lights attracted a late Brick
and eight Winter Moths the same night. The following night the
trap was again run but drew a complete blank!
|Mottled Umber © Matthew Deans
|Scarce Umber © Matthew Deans
From then on with cold nights, it was not surprising that the month was
dominated by Winter Moths noted at outside lights or on windows.
Please send any Suffolk
moth records, moth articles or other queries to myself (preferably via
email) at :
3 Powling Road,
Suffolk IP3 9JR
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
web site (home of the SMG): http://www.suffolkmothgroup.org.uk/
Recorder : Brian Goodey, 298 Ipswich Road, Colchester, Essex. CO4
This is the newsletter
for the Suffolk Moth Group. It is available for download from the
Suffolk Moths website and subscribers can receive email notification
when new issues are produced.
Paper copy are available at a £2 per annum subscription. It is
usually intended for four issues
to be produced a year although the precise time of production varies. I
always on the look out for articles that will be of interest to moth
in Suffolk, although field and site reports should be topical. Please
contact me for publication deadlines as this varies with each issue and
tends to be flexible.
Robinson Trap (better by design)
with larger, more robust rain guard.
rain collecting area inside, no more wet egg cartons.
in 80w or 125w MV set up and with optional
cable to control box.
| 15w Heath
output more moths!
polypropylene weighing only 1.5kg (portable model).
robust than the old type Heath Trap.
electronics are fully wired and fully waterproof including
to the bulb, correctly colour coded leads, internal fuses
photo cell all fitted as standard.
in MV or actinic set up. Portable or mains with actinic.
Guards also available.
ALS 125/80w control boxes have the choke and capacitor fully
firmly mounted onto a metal plate to allow safe transit
the unit coming away from the mounting.
weatherproof glands are fitted as standard.
|Full range of
products including electrical kits, specimen pots, nets, generators,
bat detectors, pond nets, malaise traps and dissecting equipment. Visit
us at our web site www.angleps.btinternet.co.uk for full details or
phone for a price list.
PO Box 232, Northwich Delivery Office, CW8 3FG.
For friendly advice phone us on 01263 862068/01606 783371 or e-mail
Proprietors: J Clifton & A Wander