Overall 2009 was a much better year than either 2007 or 2008. A number of extra people started running moth traps regularly in their gardens in 2009 and this is reflected in the increased number of records submitted.
There were four new county records this year – Raspberry Clearwing, Rannoch Looper, Jersey Tiger, and Obscure Wainscot. For further details see species list below.
During the year the Recorders ran lights in the field at the following places – Ampthill Park, Bromham Lake LNR, Chalton STW, Clophill (in the grounds of the current St Mary’s Church), Dunstable STW, Flitton Moor, Flitwick Moor, Harrold-Odell CP (HOCP), The Lodge (RSPB Sandy), Luton Hoo (the Walled Garden), Marston Vale CP (MVCP), Maulden Wood, Millbrook Golf Course, Sandy Smith NR and Stockgrove CP. The visit to The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) on 22nd August was in support of a ‘Moths Count’ event organised by the RSPB. We trapped several times in Maulden Wood, which formed part of the BNHS re-survey of the site; this also contributed to a joint Butterfly Conservation/Forestry Commission project looking at Lepidoptera in a number of woods in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
Members of the BNHS and the local Butterfly Conservation branch were encouraged, by articles in their newsletters, to go out and record day-flying moths. This was an initiative to increase the knowledge of numbers and distribution of a group that has been under-recorded in the recent past. This was reasonably successful and we hope that the records flow continues.
We attended the White-spotted Pinion training event run by Paul Waring at The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) on 6th August followed by trapping adjacent to Carthagena Golf Course near Sutton. The rain that evening was torrential but despite this two Robinson traps were run, catching three specimens of the target species.
Two National Moth Night (NMN) events were held over two nights (the organisers of NMN giving some leeway regarding the weather at this time of year). The first was held at Maulden Wood on 18th September and was also a BNHS event, which about 25 people attended. The second was at Flitwick Moor on the 19th September.
Talks on macro-moths during the year were given to the BNHS and the youngsters of the Wildlife Watch Group at Randalls Farm.
We are assisted in recording by a network of people regularly running light traps in their gardens. These are at Ampthill (two sites), Arlesey, Bedford (two sites), Biggleswade (two sites), Bromham (two sites), Carlton, Clifton (two sites), Dunstable, Eaton Ford (two sites), Haynes, Heath & Reach, Kempston, Lower Stondon, Luton, Renhold, Sandy, Stotfold, Studham, Turvey, Upper Caldecote and Wilden. Some individuals also run portable traps in good habitat in their own locality which adds to the coverage. In addition, with the kind assistance of Ian Woiwod and Phil Gould, we have access to the records from the Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS) traps in the county. These are situated at Cockayne Hatley and Eaton Bray.
We have continued working on checking and transcribing records that were not already within the dataset. All of the scarce species are covered but there are old records of common species that still require transcription. There are also still some other old records included in early Bedfordshire Naturalists that need adding to the database. We are always keen to hear of any other records old or new that may not appear in the data collected so far.
A short note with respect to county boundaries and recording jurisdiction: County Moth Recorders around the United Kingdom use the Watsonian Vice-county boundaries to record, Bedfordshire being VC30. These boundaries remain static and will never change. With the digitisation of maps it is now much easier to ascertain where the VC30 boundary departs from the Bedfordshire administrative boundary than it was at the time that Arnold et al. (1997) was written. Hence as Recorders we will be concentrating on recording within the VC30 boundary though we will be very happy to receive all records from within Bedfordshire, passing on those that fall outside the VC30 boundary to the relevant recorder, whilst retaining a copy on the county database.
The following list includes species of interest recorded in VC30 during 2009 but it should be noted that we are keen to receive records for all species including those regarded as very common as without these records the dataset is incomplete and we will not be able to track future changes in abundance and distribution. A list of the macro-moths of VC30 with their current status is on the Beds Moth Group website www.vc30moths.org.uk or available from the Recorders on request. This is amended at least once a year and often more frequently.
16 Gold Swift Hepialus hecta (L.)
Only ever recorded in small numbers and not every year, there were two recorded in 2009. One male was trapped at Maulden Wood 2nd July and one female trapped at Flitwick Moor 5th July (AMB & MGB). This species is probably under-recorded as it has a tendency to fly early in the evening around dusk before some light traps are switched on (CRBB pers comm).
17 Common Swift Hepialus lupulinus (L.)
A common species in the county and the vast majority of records are of fewer than ten individuals trapped/seen at any one time. It is therefore noteworthy to record that 200+ were recorded coming to MV light at Sandy Smith NR 29th May (AMB & MGB). The two highest previous counts of Common Swift were 100 at Cardington 9th June 2005 (JWC) and 57 in the Eaton Bray I RIS trap 5th June 1980 (GBu).
18 Map-winged Swift Hepialus fusconebulosa (DeG.)
Again just one record in 2009, of a female from Maulden Wood 16th June (AMB & MGB).
162 Goat Moth Cossus cossus (L.)
One adult was trapped at Knotting on 7th Aug (RW), the 12th record for the county. This was most unexpected as it was believed to be extinct in the county. The last records of Goat Moth were all larval (1983, 1980 (bred through), 1978, and 1970) and this is the first VC30 record of an adult since 1956, which was recorded at Cardington Road, Bedford, by B.B.West.
171 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena
lonicerae (Schev.) ssp. latomarginata Tutt
On 10th May at Chicksands MOD Base, along the public footpath that crosses the old ‘elephant cage’ site KB reported unprecedented numbers of larvae of this species and commented that it was ‘impossible to walk along it without treading on them. In the densest areas, roughly at TL107396, there are around 100 per square metre. Must be thousands in total.’ A couple of weeks later AMB walked the same path and there were so many pupal cases that some grass stems had up to six on them.
The weather within the main recording period for these species was generally favourable this year. A number of people bought pheromone lures for the different species and tried these out in both new and old locations. Hopefully this will be repeated in future years as our knowledge of the distribution of these species in the county is still very incomplete.
369a Raspberry Clearwing Pennisetia hylaeiformis
The first county record at Studham on 29th Mar was of a gall on a raspberry cane containing a larva of this species, which was bred through and emerged on 18th July, with a further four adults seen there on 16th Aug (CRBB). The first adult, however, was attracted to a pheromone lure in Clifton 14th July (ARO). There were also two additional records: two to lure at another site in Clifton 25th July (KT & MH) and one to lure at Dunstable Downs 8th Aug (CRBB). For information on how to find this species and its occurrence within the UK please see the relevant articles on its discovery (Reid 2008 & 2009).
370 Hornet Moth Sesia apiformis (Cl.) [Nb]
Newly emerged adults were seen in Pegnut Wood 21st June (AD) and Eaton Ford 28th June (RIB) and a singleton was attracted to a pheromone lure at Stanford Wood 29th June (ARO). Emergence holes were seen at Bromham (AMB & MGB), Podington (500 in many poplars) (DVM & HAS) and Shillington (including remains of cocoons) (AMB).
373 Currant Clearwing Synanthedon tipuliformis
Just one adult was seen in 2009, attracted to pheromone lure at Sandy 14th June (DD & ML).
374 Yellow-legged Clearwing Synanthedon vespiformis
Singletons to pheromone lures at Maulden Wood 16th June (AMB & MGB) and The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) 16th July (RIB & ARO).
378 Orange-tailed Clearwing Synanthedon
andrenaeformis (Lasp.) [Nb]
Adults to pheromone lures at Clifton 15th (2 garden) and 29th (1 churchyard) June (ARO), 4th July (2 churchyard) (RIB & MW); MVCP 16th June (1) (AMB & MGB); and Cockayne Hatley 27th (1) and 29th (max 3) June and 5th July (1) (IPW).
379 Red-belted Clearwing Synanthedon myopaeformis
There were ten records of this species in 2009. One was found in a garden in Arlesey on 25th July (WK) and the rest were of males to pheromone lures as follows: Clifton 15th (4) and 29th (8) June (ARO, in his garden); Clifton churchyard 29th June (1) (ARO) and 4th July (2) (RIB & MW); Cockayne Hatley 29th June (1) (IPW); Lower Stondon 2nd July (1) (AMB & MGB); and Eaton Socon 5th July (2) (RIB). Note the record from Lower Stondon is from the Recorders’ garden where there is a Crab Apple species present. However, as it took the clearwing 25 minutes to respond in suitable conditions, it is believed to have originated from some distance away as the species is normally very quick to respond to lure if present in the vicinity.
380 Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis
All records were to pheromone lures as follows: Clifton 16th June (1) (ARO); Lower Alders NR 2nd July (3) (AMB & MGB); Arlesey Old Moat NR 5th July (1) (AMB & MGB); Biggleswade Common 22nd July (3) (RIB); and Bromham Lake NR (1), Felmersham NR (1), and HOCP (4) all 25th July (AMB).
382 Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis
([D. & S.]) [Nb]
One to pheromone lure at Bromham Lake NR 25th July (AMB).
1633 Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris (L.) [Nb]
Larval webs were seen at Harrold 15th and 23rd May and again 30th June (HAS).
1637 Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus (L.)
One adult to a light trap 18th July Sandy (DD & ML) and two larval records: one in Rowney Warren 14th Apr (KB) and one from Cooper’s Hill 25th Apr (AMB & MGB). Of note, after four larvae were reared from eggs laid by a female in Lower Stondon 2007, adults started emerging from pupae in late June 2009 (1m, 1f). A further female emerged 10th July and finally a male on 15th July (AMB & MGB).
1643 Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia (L.)
Adults emerged in Apr 2009 (two males and a female) from larvae collected in 2008 from Cooper’s Hill. The female was used to attract a male at Cooper’s Hill 25th Apr (AMB & MGB). There were also two larval records – Sharnbrook Summit 31st May (1) (HG) and Sharpenhoe Clappers 20th June (IS).
1647 Barred Hook-tip Watsonalla cultraria (Fabr.)
There were three records this year: Studham 25th May (CRBB) and Maulden Wood 2nd July and 10th Aug (2) (AMB & MGB). Thyatiridae
1655 Poplar Lutestring Tethea or or ([D. & S.])
To light traps at Potton Wood 23rd May, 24th June, and 7th Aug (IPW); Cockayne Hatley Wood 25th May and 8th Aug (2) (IPW); Maulden Wood 16th June and 2nd July (AMB & MGB); Halsey Wood 11th Aug (HAS); and The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) 22nd Aug (AMB & MGB), this record being the first for the area since 1959 when it was trapped at Stratford Lane, Sandy, on 18th July by B.B.West.
1657 Common Lutestring Ochropacha duplaris (L.)
The only record of this species was of four trapped, all of the form obscura, at Maulden Wood 2nd July (AMB & MGB).
1662 Light Orange Underwing Archiearis notha (Hb.) [Nb]
Of three Orange Underwing spp. seen in Potton Wood on 16th Mar, one was confirmed as a Light Orange Underwing (IPW).
1662x Orange/Light Orange Underwing Archiearis sp.
Probable Orange Underwings were seen flying during the day of 20th Mar (DB) and 3rd Apr (NDW) at The Lodge (RSPB Sandy). This species is a birch feeder and there is plenty of Silver Birch on the site, whereas Light Orange Underwing is an Aspen feeder. An Orange Underwing sp was seen flying in Chicksands Wood 21st Mar (KB), but could not be determined. Both Aspen and birch are present here.
1667 Blotched Emerald Comibaena bajularia ([D. & S.])
A high count of 15 to MV at Maulden Wood 16th June (also one trapped there 2nd July) (AMB & MGB). The species was also recorded, generally as singletons, at Haynes, Lower Stondon, Sandy, Southill, Studham and Turvey Abbey.
1681 Clay Triple-lines Cyclophora linearia (Hb.)
This species was trapped twice in Maulden Wood with 30+ recorded 2nd July and one second generation 5th Oct (AMB & MGB). Note this is a species in which the first and second generation moths are quite different from each other.
1724 Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia ([D. & S.])
All Red/Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets that were dissected this year (over 100) were found to be this species. Only one Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet was confirmed in 2008 (from Eaton Ford, AAL).
1735 Ruddy Carpet Catarhoe rubidata
([D. & S.]) [Nb]
This scarce species had a good year in the county as seven individuals were recorded as follows: Biggleswade 12th June (PM), Potton 16th June (DB), Waterloo Thorns 20th June (DB), Turvey 22nd and 29th June (HAS), Cockayne Hatley RIS 26th June (IPW), and Southill 20th July (PD).
Stripe Anticlea badiata ([D. & S.])
An abberant version of this species with much reduced markings was recorded at Caulcott on 23rd Mar (MJG). A photograph of this moth was sent to Martin Honey at the Natural History Museum and he reported that it was near the form ab eckfordii Smith, 1947. This find was written up with accompanying photographs (Banthorpe & Banthorpe 2009).
Beautiful Carpet Mesoleuca albicillata (L.)
One to MV in Studham 18th June (CRBB).
1749 Dark Spinach Pelurga comitata (L.)
Again just one recorded in the county this year of this uncommon species at Haynes 9th Aug (SKn).
1750 Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata ([D. & S.])
A good year for this smart looking species with ten records received. Of note it was caught in Maulden Wood on four occasions, having not previously been found at the site. The species responds better to actinic tubes than 125w MV bulbs so this may be a reason, as no actinic trapping had been carried out at the site until 2009. However, 125w MV lights were used in the wood on 4th May and four moths responded (AMB & MGB).
1755 Chevron Eulithis testata (L.)
One very worn individual was trapped at HOCP 25th July (AMB & MGB). The species had not been seen since 2002 and is believed to be declining in the county as it is in neighbouring Hertfordshire (Plant 2008).
1757 Spinach Eulithis mellinata (Fabr.)
Although this species has declined and has gone from some parts of the UK, it is still hanging on in the county. One was recorded in Bedford 12th June (SW) and one in Potton 24th June (JD). The larvae feed on Ribes sp which seem to be grown less in gardens than in the past, though there has been a resurgence of home-grown fruit recently. Once areas of Goldington and Putnoe were covered in fruit trees and bushes for the jam-making industry before the fields and orchards were replaced by houses. This may explain why the Spinach and Currant Clearwing still survive in this area.
1767 Pine Carpet Thera firmata (Hb.)
Two to MV light at Heath & Reach 9th Oct (JC, photo checked AMB & MGB).
Carpet Thera juniperata juniperata (L.)
The warm weather in late October either meant that this moth was more active than in recent years or possibly the weather encouraged recorders to put their traps out later in the year. Whatever the reason, there were 12 records spread over five sites.
Carpet Electrophaes corylata (Thunb.)
This species is not often recorded in the county so three this year was good. It was recorded at Maulden Wood 4th May (AMB & MGB), Halsey Wood 19th May (HAS) and Studham 25th May (CRBB).
1778 May Highflyer Hydriomena impluviata ([D. & S.])
There were five records this year; Lower Stondon 2nd June (AMB & MGB), Turvey Abbey 3rd June (BrJM), Potton 4th June (DB), Eaton Ford 13th June (AAL) and Southill 29th June (PD).
Chalk Carpet Melanthia procellata ([D. & S.])
Despite its name, this species does occur away from the chalk where one might expect to find it as its foodplant is Traveller’s Joy. The five records in 2009 were from Maulden Wood 16th June and 2nd July (AMB & MGB) and New Wood Turvey 29th June, 13th and 21st July (HAS).
1789 Scallop Shell Rheumaptera undulata (L.)
Three to MV at Flitwick Moor on 5th July were a complete surprise for the Recorders and the sixth record for the county. It was a new species for the site and the first ones seen since 2002, when the species was trapped at Great Hayes Wood 20th June (HAS). The other records are from Coppice Wood, Melchbourne 1995 and Worley’s Wood, Melchbourne 1986 (DVM); it was also trapped by S.H.Kershaw at Aspley Heath in 1945 and 1946.
1796 Pale November Moth Epirrita christyi (Allen)
This is an under-recorded species in the county, due to the lack of November Moth sp. being dissected. These then get recorded under the aggregate and this does not give a true picture of the status in the county of species in this group (note though that only the males can be separated by dissection). A number of this group were taken from Maulden Wood and dissected and one from 22nd Oct and five from 27th Oct were found to be this species (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB). In addition three were recorded from Potton Wood 22nd Oct (IPW, gen det PJLG) and from the Cockayne Hatley RIS trap 23rd, 27th and 28th Nov (IPW, gen det PJLG).
Autumnal Moth Epirrita autumnata (Borkh.)
Of a small sample of Epirrita sp taken from Maulden Wood for dissection on 27th Oct, one was found to be a male of this species (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB). This is a rare moth in the county and most likely under-recorded for reasons above.
1800 Northern Winter Moth Operophtera
With only 27 records, this moth is undoubtedly under-recorded in the county. The five records in 2009 were the most for some years and came from The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) – 15th Nov (MB), 10th Dec (NDW) and 26th Dec (MB), Heath & Reach 23rd Nov (JC) and four at Maulden Wood 9th Dec (AMB & MGB).
Pugs Eupithecia sp.
The following species were seen in VC30 in 2009: Slender, Maple, Haworth’s, Toadflax, Foxglove, Mottled, Marsh, Netted, Lime-speck, Freyer’s, Satyr, Wormwood, Currant, Common, Whitespotted, Grey, Tawny Speckled, Bordered, Shaded, Yarrow, Plain, Narrow-winged, Brindled, Oaktree, Larch, Dwarf, V, Sloe, Green and Double-striped. Details of some of the more interesting records are found below.
1822 Marsh Pug Eupithecia pygmaeata (Hb.)
One netted at Totternhoe Quarry 2nd June (DTW) was passed to DVM for dissection with some micro-moths. It was the seventh for the county and the first since 1986.
1823 Netted Pug Eupithecia venosata venosata (Fabr.)
Never a common species, one to actinic light at Bromham 2nd June (PA) was a good find. The previous record was at Dunstable 2nd June 2008 (LC) following three blank years.
1828 Satyr Pug Eupithecia satyrata satyrata (Hb.)
One in the Cockayne Hatley RIS trap on 22nd June (IPW, det PJLG).
1840 Shaded Pug Eupithecia subumbrata ([D. & S.])
The three records in 2009 were the first since 2003 – these were at Clifton 22nd June (JE), Ampthill Park 26th June (AMB & MGB) and Potton 27th June (DB).
Yarrow Pug Eupithecia millefoliata Rössler
Another singleton this year with a female to MV light at St Mary’s Church Clophill 31st July (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB).
1842 Plain Pug Eupithecia simpliciata (Haw.)
There were just two records in 2009, a female at Maulden Wood 16th June (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB) and a male at Clifton on 31st July (ARO, gen det AMB).
Pug Eupithecia nanata (Hb.)
The Greensand Ridge is the stronghold of this heather feeder, and several were found flying over the foodplant at Cooper’s Hill NR on 25th Apr (AMB & MGB). There was also a singleton to actinic light at Haynes on 26th June (SKn).
1853 Oak-tree Pug Eupithecia dodoneata Guen.
This species is easily confused with Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata so may be overlooked at times. Often the only way to separate the two is by dissection of the genitalia. It was recorded from Sandy 28th May (DD & ML), Dunstable 14th June (LC) and a female came to MV light at Flitwick Moor 5th July (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB).
1856 Larch Pug Eupithecia lariciata (Freyer)
There are only six records of this post 1999, including two females at Maulden Wood 2nd July (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB).
1857 Dwarf Pug Eupithecia tantillaria Boisd.
Another scarce pug with only eight records post 1999 including two at Stockgrove CP 1st May (AMB & MGB).
1859 Sloe Pug Pasiphila chloerata (Mab.)
The Recorders tried beating Blackthorn blossom to find the larvae of this species but despite finding a number of larvae of other macro-moth species only one Sloe Pug larva was found. This was just inside TL14 to the NW of Shefford on 20th Apr. In addition there were three records of adults to MV light; a male at Eaton Ford 8th June (AAL, gen det AMB), a female at Chalton STW 20th June (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB) and two at Maulden Wood 2nd July (AMB & MGB).
1864 Streak Chesias legatella ([D. & S.])
A singleton was found on the walls of The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) 28th Oct (NDW et al.), a regular site for this species.
1874 Dingy Shell Euchoeca nebulata (Scop.)
This moth is never very common at MV light in the county and it was pleasing that over 20 were disturbed from the ground and the lower leaves of Alders at Lower Alders NR near Shefford during the day on 2nd July (AMB & MGB). Other records, as usual, were of lower numbers with singletons at Biggleswade 26th June (PM) and Maulden Wood 2nd July (AMB & MGB), and five at Flitwick Moor 5th July (AMB & MGB).
1879 Seraphim Lobophora halterata (Hufn.)
A pristine specimen was a very good find on its foodplant (Aspen Populus tremula) in Chicksands Wood 6th May (MGB). Other records were from Cockayne Hatley RIS 1st May (IPW); Eaton Ford 13th May (AAL) and a very worn individual at MVCP 30th May (AMB & MGB).
1881 Early Tooth-striped Trichopteryx carpinata (Borkh.)
Six to MV light, along the footpath down to the lake, at Stockgrove CP on 1st May were the first to be seen in the county since 1987. It is impossible to say whether they were attracted from Stockgrove CP or the adjacent Baker’s Wood.
1882 Small Seraphim Pterapherapteryx sexalata (Retz.)
The ninth county record of this sallow-feeding species, with five trapped at Flitwick Moor 5th July (AMB & MGB). The species was last recorded in 2005 in Ravensden and had not been recorded in Flitwick Moor since 1978.
1889 Peacock Moth Macaria notata (L.)
One to MV at Stockgrove CP 1st May (AMB & MGB). It was a new species for the site and indeed the SW of the county.
1896 Rannoch Looper Itame brunneata (Thunb.) [Migrant]
One male trapped at Eaton Ford on 31st May was an unexpected addition to the county list (AAL, conf AMB, MGB & BD). There is a resident population in central Scotland but it also occurs as a rare primary immigrant. To put this record in context there was a small influx into eastern and southern England around this time and the Recorders also saw a further four (also immigrants) trapped at Minsmere RSPB reserve, Suffolk on 13th June. (For full details of this influx see Higgott & Davey 2010.)
1907 Bordered Beauty Epione repandaria (Hufn.)
There are usually only a few records of this attractive species a year and 2009 was no exception with just three – at Carlton (HAS), Arlesey Old Moat NR (DT) and Eaton Ford (AAL).
1911 Large Thorn Ennomos autumnaria (Werneb.)
This species is not recorded in the county every year, occurring in six out of the last ten seasons. In 2009 there were two records – Great Hayes Wood 7th Sept (HAS, det AMB & MGB) and on the wall of The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) 11th Sept (NDW et al.). The latter is a regular site for Large Thorn but the former was an excellent find and new to the 10km square. It was possibly a wanderer from the population in east Northamptonshire as before this the nearest Bedfordshire record to this site was in Chaucer Road Bedford in 1958 by Dr D. M.Jeffereys. However, in the 1958 Lepidoptera Report (West 1959) B.B.West intriguingly notes ‘several seen in early autumn’ with his initials but does not provide us with date and site details bar the one above.
1931 Peppered Moth Biston betularia (L.)
This moth had a good year in 2009 with close to 100 records, which is nearly twice as many as in 2008 and 50% more than in the good summer of 2006. It was an extended season for this species as the first record was on 30th Apr at Eaton Ford (AAL) and the last were on 1st Aug at Eaton Ford (AAL) and Millbrook Golf Course (AMB & MGB). The highest count was of 25 at Flitwick Moor on 5th July including at least two of the form carbonaria (AMB & MGB).
1941 Mottled Beauty Alcis
A common moth in the county, a notable count was of 146 to actinic light in Potton Wood on 24th June (IPW).
Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli (L.) [Migrant]
One found in the dining room in a house in Sandy 6th Sept (JT, conf IKD).
Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum (L.) [Migrant]
There were a total of 24 records this year from 18 sites. The first was at Potton on 21st June (AD) and the last was on Dunstable Downs on 25th Oct (CH).
Kitten Furcula bifida (Brahm)
There were five records of this species in 2009, all singletons, from Potton Wood 13th and 19th May (IPW), Potton 22nd and 24th May (JD) and Turvey 31st May (BrJM). This is by far the rarer of the two kittens recorded in the county, the other being Sallow Kitten. Alder Kitten is not on the county list and does not, for reasons unknown, occur in our area.
Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi (L.)
An uncommon moth in the county and this year three were trapped in two places: Maulden Wood (2) 16th June (AMB & MGB) and Heath & Reach (1) 25th June (JC).
2005 Great Prominent Peridea anceps (Goeze)
This was a target species for the Beds Moth Group meeting at Stockgrove CP 1st May (AMB & MGB). Those that attended were treated to eight being attracted to MV light. The species was last seen in the county in 1999 at Aspley Guise and last recorded at Stockgrove CP in 1988.
2029 Brown Tail Euproctis
Following on from our note in the 2008 moth report suggesting possibly breeding in the Sandy area, we were contacted by RCR who informed us that there had been regular reports of problems with this species noted in the Biggleswade Chronicle. This confirms that there is indeed a breeding population in the Sandy area and explains the recent records in the area, even in years when migration has been poor.
2039 Red-necked Footman Atolmis
One was unexpectedly found by IPW in Potton Wood on 10th June while he was sheltering from the rain during an aborted butterfly transect. It is the second county record and the first since June 1820 (J.C.Dale record from Clapham Park Wood).
[2057 Garden Tiger Arctia caja (L.)
There were no records of this species in the county in 2009, the first blank year on record.]
Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria (Poda)
The first county record of this species came to MV light in Biggleswade on 8th Aug (KSi, PSi & RSi). It flew away as soon as the trap was approached but fortunately settled on a neighbour’s wall where it was photographed. A sizeable population has been building up in south London over the past few years and this could be a vagrant from that area. Around the same time there were records from Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Essex. Apparently this is around the date when extra-limital records from the London population are often found, though there could be a population in Woodford, Essex, (N.Tanner, pers comm).
2068 Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula (L.)
One was seen during the day at Luton 31st July (JF). There are no breeding populations of this species in the vicinity with the nearest probably being in Oxfordshire. Whilst natural vagrancy is a possibility, this species is often captive bred and a release of a locally bred individual cannot be eliminated. The moth was not seen by the Recorders and was not in a photographable position, but the species is unmistakable.
2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon
There were 14 records of this species in 2009, the most on record. The first was at Renhold on 31st July (AY & TY) and the last at Ampthill on 29th Oct (SRP).
2118 True Lover’s Knot Lycophotia porphyrea ([D. & S.])
A singleton of this heathland species came to actinic light at The Firs School (next to Cooper’s Hill NR) on 1st July (SRP, det MGB). In addition there were two records from Potton – 24th May and 19th June (JD).
2119 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia (Hb.)
Only two records of this migrant this year and both at the same site in Eaton Bray, on 19th and 20th Sept (MGT).
2150 Grey Arches Polia
Four to MV light at Maulden Wood 2nd July (AMB & MGB). This is a scarce, woodland species in the county but possibly under-recorded as it comes to light very late on in the night (c.2am).
2163 Broom Moth Melanchra pisi (L.)
Two records this year of a species only recorded eight times since 1999. These were at MVCP 30th May (AMB & MGB) and Dunstable 14th June (LC).
2165 Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea ([D. & S.]) [RDB]
One in the Eaton Bray RIS trap on 3rd July (GBu, det PJLG). Other recent records of this species, that the Recorders were not aware of until early 2010, were from Dunstable 29th June 2006 and 16th July 2008 (LC), both were photographed.
2171 Marbled Coronet Hadena
With only 24 records prior to 2009 this is very scarce moth in the county. It came to light traps at Dunstable 21st May (LC) and Potton 2nd June (JD).
2177 Hedge Rustic Tholera cespitis ([D. & S.])
Yet again the only records of this species in 2009 were from The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) 25th Aug (JC) and 4th Sept (DB).
2194 White-point Mythimna albipuncta ([D. & S.])
The sixth county record of this species came to light at Eaton Ford 8th Aug (AAL, conf AMB & MGB). It was the first since 2006.
2197 Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea (Treit.)
For the fourth out of five years this scarce moth was caught at Eaton Ford 29th June (AAL). However, it also came to MV light at Chalton STW 20th June (AMB & MGB), Flitwick Moor 5th July (2) (AMB & MGB) and Waterloo Thorns 20th June (DB).
2204 Obscure Wainscot Mythimna obsoleta (Hb.)
The first county record was of a singleton to actinic light at Chalton STW on 13th June (GBu) and was confirmed from a photograph (AMB & MGB). The Recorders then returned to the site on 20th June at the invitation of GBu, who carries out bird-ringing at the site. On this date three came to MV light so the species is definitely resident at the site. The nearest known population is at Tring STW and Wilstone Reservoir. It has probably been present at Chalton STW for a number of years as moth traps had not been used at the site before 2009.
2221 Mullein Shargacucullia verbasci (L.)
Following requests for records of this species on county email groups, larval records were received from Bidwell, Clapham, Clophill, Cockayne Hatley, Eversholt, Luton, Moggerhanger Park, Potton, Sharnbrook, Southill, Thurleigh, Turvey and Wootton. Only one adult was seen in this year at Lower Stondon 25th May (AMB & MGB).
2236 Pale Pinion Lithophane
There is no doubt at all that this species is on the increase in our county with no less than eight records in 2009 taking the county total to 22. They were at Kempston (23rd Apr, MJP), Great Hayes Wood (15th Oct, HAS), Halsey Wood (20th Apr, HAS), Turvey Abbey (19th Sept, BrJM), New Wood Turvey (1st Apr, 23rd Apr and 1st May, HAS) and Upper Caldecote (21st Sept, MB).
2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina (L.)
With 29 records this was an excellent year for the species, no doubt helped by the warm autumn that encouraged recorders to keep trapping longer than they might have in a cold year. The first was on 5th Sept at Luton (HG) and the last at The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) on 20th Nov (DB).
2250 Dark Brocade Blepharita adusta (Esp.)
There is difficulty in separating specimens of this species from Dusky Brocade Apamea remissa and there were only two records this year – Haynes 13th May (SKn) and Ampthill Park 26th June (AMB & MGB).
2275 Dusky-lemon Sallow Xanthia gilvago ([D. & S.])
It seems that 2009 was a very good year indeed for records of this elm feeder. It was seen on 12 occasions: Stotfold 20th Sept (GC), Eaton Ford 23rd, 26th, 28th Sept and 17th Oct (AAL), Eaton Ford (2nd site) 30th Sept (2) (RIB), Biggleswade 25th Sept (PM), Southill (2) 14th Oct (PD), Upper Caldecote 14th and 16th Oct (MB), Turvey Abbey 15th Oct (BrJM) and Cockayne Hatley RIS 27th Oct (IPW).
Moth Acronicta alni (L.)
Apart from three records of adults in the county this year, larvae were found twice. A stunning final instar on Alder at Lower Alders on 2nd July (AMB) and an early instar ‘bird dropping’ mimic on an Aspen leaf in Chicksands Wood on 9th July (MGB).
2317 White-spotted Pinion Cosmia diffinis
With four records, this was the best year for the species in recent times. Three came to MV light in very heavy rain on the Moths Count training event near Carthagena GC on 6th Aug (PW), and other records were from Potton 9th Aug (JD), Cockayne Hatley RIS trap 11th Aug (IPW) and Upper Caldecote 19th Aug (MB). JD had previously caught the species in his Potton garden in 2002 and 2003; his records are most likely vagrants from the Carthagena GC population. IPW has previously recorded the species in his trap in 1977 when there were a couple of large elms on the site boundary; his record is most likely a wanderer from within Potton Wood (more work will be done to try and find the species within that site). The Upper Caldecote record was a surprise and we hope that more work in that area may locate another colony.
2323 Reddish Light Arches Apamea sublustris (Esp.)
Again this year there was a record away from the typical chalk downland locations for this species. A singleton came to actinic light at Carlton on 5th July (HAS). There is alkaline soil in the area, as the underlying geology in the NW of the county is Cornbrash and Oolite. The only other record this year was in the more traditional area of Dunstable also on 5th July (LC).
2338 Rufous Minor Oligia versicolor (Borkh.)
Moths from the Marbled, Rufous and Tawny Marbled Minor group need dissection to confirm their identity, so this species is probably under-recorded in the county and indeed the UK. There were only three records – one male in the Cockayne Hatley RIS trap 13th June (IPW, gen det PJLG), two males at Maulden Wood 16th June (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB) and a male at Chalton STW 20th June (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB).
2347 Concolorous Chortodes extrema (Hb.) [RDB]
A single record at Turvey Abbey on 8th July (BrJM) was the second for the county. It, like the first record in 2005, was most likely a vagrant from a nearby known population in Northants.
Moth Amphipoea oculea (L.)
Records of this species proved by dissection were four males at Stockgrove CP on 7th Aug (AMB & MGB, gen det AMB) and a single male at Haynes on 5th Aug (SKn, gen det AMB). ‘Ear Moths’ found away from these two sites and The Lodge (RSPB Sandy) are sought by the Recorders so they can be dissected to prove the species present; especially as Saltern Ear Amphipoea fucosa has been recorded recently in both Herts and Hunts.
Wainscot Archanara geminipuncta (Haw.)
This scarce species was recorded at three new sites in 2009 – Renhold 5th Aug (AY & TY), Stockgrove CP 7th Aug (AMB & MGB) and Haynes 11th Aug (SKn). There are still only 19 records for the county.
Webb’s Wainscot Archanara spargannii (Esp.) [Nb]
With several records in each of the last few years it was a surprise to only have one this year, at Lower Stondon 23rd Aug (AMB & MGB).
2377 Fen Wainscot Arenostola phragmitidis (Hb.)
A scarce moth in the county so nice to have two records this year – Ampthill 2nd July (SRP, det MGB) and Dunstable STW 19th Aug (AMB & MGB).
2391 Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus (Tausch.)
Just one individual seen in 2009 at MVCP 30th May, the fourth county record (AMB & MGB).
2397 Small Yellow Underwing Panemeria
As usual all three records this year were from daytime sightings: Duck End NR 20th May (LC), Moggerhanger Park 23rd May (KB) and Totternhoe Old Quarry 13th June (CC).
2399 Bordered Sallow Pyrrhia umbra (Hufn.)
This is a scarce moth in the county with only 15 previous records, and was last recorded in 2006. A singleton came to actinic light at Stotfold 16th July (GC, conf from photo by AMB & MGB).
2400 Scarce Bordered
Straw Helicoverpa armigera (Hb.) [Migrant]
After the exceptional year of 2006, when there were 27 records of this species, it had not turned up in the county again until one came to light at Biggleswade 29th Oct (LB).
Green Pea Earias clorana (L.) [Nb]
As usual only a few records this year – Chalton STW 20th June (AMB & MGB), Southill 29th June (PD) and Caulcott, by Stewartby Lake, 8th Aug (MJP & MJG).
2439 Gold Spot Plusia festucae (L.)
There were three of these this year, which constitute the sixth, seventh and eighth county records. The first was recorded at Halsey Wood 11th Aug (HAS), followed by one at Eaton Ford 18th Aug (AAL), and finally one at Biggleswade 22nd Aug (PM).
2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma (L.) [Migrant]
First recorded 23rd May Potton Wood (IPW) and Yelden (NDW); last recorded in Upper Caldecote 7th Nov (MB). The highest count was of 50+ in West Wood 25th July (PA).
2449 Dark Spectacle Abrostola triplasia (L.)
One to MV at Studham 28th June (CRBB, conf AMB & MGB) was the first seen since 2003. It is not a common moth in the county and any putative records of this species need to be checked by the Recorders versus the more common Spectacle.
2462 Mother Shipton Callistege mi (Cl.)
Along with seven records of adults of this day-flying moth in mid to late May, a larva was swept at Old Warden Tunnel NR on 21st June (AMB & MGB) and one was found eating leaflets of Tufted Vetch at Waterloo Thorns 18th July (DB).
2465 Four-spotted Tyta luctuosa ([D.& S.]) [Na]
Just a single record of two this year, from the usual site at Yelnow New Wood 1st June (HAS).
2466 Blackneck Lygephila pastinum (Treit.)
There were more records of this in 2009 than there had been for many years. Two were from daytime sightings at Old Warden Tunnel NR and Sharpenhoe Clappers and the others were all to actinic or MV light at – Eaton Bray, Halsey Wood, Maulden Wood, Turvey Abbey and Waterloo Thorns. Dates ranged from 19th June to 2nd July.
2470 Small Purple-barred Phytometra viridaria (Cl.)
There were three daytime records, all singletons, of this uncommon species this year. They were seen at Totternhoe, with singles on the Knolls on 19th May (LC) and 28th May (MJP), and the other in the Old Quarry 2nd June (DTW). This species is possibly under-recorded in the county.
Pinion-streaked Snout Schrankia costaestrigalis (Steph.)
The eighth county record was of two to a lamp and sheet on NMN 18th Sept Maulden Wood (AMB & MGB, gen det DVM).
Bedfordshire records from outside VC30
The following significant record was from a site in Bedfordshire administrative county but in the Vice-county of Hertfordshire (VC20).
2165 Small Ranunculus Hecatera
dysodea ([D. & S.]) [RDB]
Three to light at Caddington on 10th July (IR).
Migrant records are forwarded to the appropriate editor for inclusion in the Immigration of Lepidoptera to the British Isles Report for the Entomologists Record and Journal of Variation. All records are held by the Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Recording and Monitoring Centre and updated regularly.
Acknowledgements Records and support gratefully acknowledged from the following: P.Almond (PA), S.Ames, B.Anderson, Y.Anderson, Mrs Armstrong, V.W.Arnold, C.R.B.Baker (CRBB), K.Balmer (KB), J.Bandy, A.M.Banthorpe (AMB), M.G.Banthorpe (MGB), J.Barnard, D.F.Barnes, S.Barnes, R.I.Bashford (RIB), Beds Bat Group, G.Bellamy, D.Buckingham (DB), L.Burgess (LB), M.Burgess (MB), G.Buss (GBu), L.Carman (LC), C.Carpenter (CC), G.Castle (GC), J.W.Chapman (JWC), J.Childs, R.Christopher, J.Clark (JC), C.Clarry, J.Clifton, F.Coleman, J.Collins, A.Culshaw, A.Darrington (AD), I.K.Dawson (IKD), J.Day (JD), D.Dench (DD), B.Dickerson (BD), P.Donald (PD), A.Donelly, T.Donnelly, B.Ellis, V.Ellis, J.England (JE), N.Finan, J.Fisher (JF), Forestry Commission, P.Gerrish, B.Goodey, P.J.L.Gould (PJLG), D.Green, M.J.Green (MJG), Greensand Trust, H.J.Griffiths (HG), M.Hammond (MH), C.Harrington (CH), I.Hayward, Mr & Mrs Herbert, G.E.Higgs, L.J.Hill (LJH), R.Hoccom, T.S.Hollingworth, M.Holloway, D.Howdon, S.Knight (SKn), W.Kolek (WK), A.A.Lawrence (AAL), R.Lawrence, M.Lloyd (ML), J.Lynch, D.V.Manning (DVM), P.Marshall, Br J.Mayhead (BrJM), M.McCarrick, A.McLennan, P.McMullen (PM), Mr & Mrs Miller, D.Morris, A.Muir-Howie, B.S.Nau, Natural England, E.Newman, B.J.Nightingale, D.J.Odell, A.R.Outen (ARO), M.J.Palmer (MJP), M.A.Pendry, G.Pickerell, S.Pittman, J.Pitts, C.W.Plant, S.R.Plummer (SRP), W.Powell, T.Reddick, M.Redman, R.C.Revels (RCR), A.Richardson, P.Rogers, RSPB, M.Rubin, I.Russell (IR), A.Schaffer, D.Sedgley, J.T.R.Sharrock, K.Sims (KSi), P.Sims (PSi), R.Sims (RSi), I.Small (IS), H.A.Smith (HAS), Mrs Smith, P.Smith, T.Squire, Mrs Steed, K.Tailby (KT), M.G.Telfer (MGT), S.Thomson, J.Treverton (JT), D.Trim (DT), M.Ward (MW), P.Waring (PW), G.Welham, R.Welham, A.Whitney, The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough, B.Williams, S.Williams (SW), N.D.Willits (NDW), P.Willmer, D.T.Withers (DTW), I.P.Woiwod (IPW), R.Wright (RW), A.Yates (AY), and T.Yates (TY).
Arnold, V.W., Baker, C.R.B., Manning, D.V. & Woiwod, I.P. 1997 The Butterflies
and Moths of Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire Natural History Society.
Banthorpe, A.M. & Banthorpe, M.G. 2009 An odd variation of Shoulder-stripe Anticlea badiata ([D&S]) (Lep:Geometridae) in Bedfordshire. The Entomologist’s Record & Journal of Variation. 121 256–257.
Bradley, J.D. 2000 Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles. Second Edition (revised).
Dony, J.G. 1976 Bedfordshire Plant Atlas. Borough of Luton Museum and Art Gallery.
Higgott, J.B. & Davey, P. 2010 The Rannoch Looper Itame brunneata (Thunb.) in southern England, 2009. Atropos 40 26–34.
Plant, C.W. 2008 The Moths of Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire Natural History Society.
Reid, J. 2008 Raspberry Clearwing Moth Pennisetia hylaeiformis (Laspeyres, 1801) (Lep.: Sesiidae) in South Cambridgeshire and North Hertfordshire. The Entomologist’s Record & Journal of Variation. 120 165–170.
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Corrigendum to Macro-moths 2003
2491 Shaded Fan-foot Herminia tarsicrinalis (Knoch)
The record at Cockayne Hatley on 17th June 2003 was in fact of Fan-foot Herminia tarsipenalis and hence the above species has been removed from the county list. It was added to the county database in error and amended after Phil Gould kindly checked the original data sheets at Rothamsted in 2010.
Corrigendum to Macro-moths 2004
2451 Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini (L.)
Both this and the previous noted record of this species, larva by K.F.Webb at Brogborough in 1983 or 1984 (Arnold et al. 1997), were re-evaluated in early 2010. It is felt that as K.F.Webb did not note this as ‘of interest’ at the time, and indeed the bred moth was not found until after his death, it may have been from larvae from another site and had coincidentally ended up in a jar with a Brogborough label. At this time K.F.Webb was actively searching for lepidoptera by many methods and writing up all good finds in The Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation, so if he had found a county first he would surely have noted this also. The 2004 record was from Flitwick on 20th August but it unfortunately flew off when disturbed. At the very least a photograph would be required in order to provide the proof of identification to accept this as the first county record. In 2004 there was only one proven published record of this migrant species in the UK and this was on the south coast. Therefore this species has been removed from the county list. The recorders are indebted to Adrian Riley and Vic Arnold for their comments on the records of this species. The Recorders have looked through the list of species purported to have occurred in the county and have removed a number of them from the accepted county list, which at the end of 2009 stood at 569 species.
Andy and Melissa Banthorpe are the Society’s joint Recorders for Macro-moths, a position they have held in an honorary capacity since late 2006.