Macro-moths 2006

by Melissa & Andy Banthorpe


In contrast to 2005, the year 2006 was very good for moths in the county. There were three new county records – Valerian Pug, Delicate, and Ni Moth. The two latter species are migrant moths, and this year was an exceptional year for migrants in the United Kingdom with several different species having been recorded. In the county we had our fair share of migrants with 15 species recorded. In particular Scarce Bordered Straw did exceptionally well, with 35 individuals seen. This species had previously been recorded only once before, in 1974.

The previous recorder, Les Hill, resigned in October 2006 as he was moving to Dorset to take up a post as part of the new National Moth Recording Scheme. He handed on to us a comprehensive Mapmate database containing many of the county’s records and helped with  the transfer of this and the many queries that followed. We have added all the remaining 2005 and 2006 records and have commenced work on checking and transcribing the records held at Bedford Museum, which are mostly from the 1980s and 1990s.

Our interest in moths was inspired by trapping with the former county recorder Vic Arnold and we are grateful for his assistance with the assessment of some of the historical records. Latterly we have run a trap regularly in our garden since 2003 and have spent many evenings out and about with Colin Plant and the Herts Moth Group. We would like to acknowledge the assistance given to us by David Manning and Charles Baker, and also Ian Woiwod who has helped immensely with the provision and interpretation of data from the Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS) traps in the county. Andy has attended a moth genitalia dissection course with Jon Clifton of Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies, and is happy to deal with any macro-moths that need to be determined by this method.

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. Significant records from outside the VC30 boundary but within Bedfordshire administrative will be listed below, separately from the other records. 


The following lists species recorded in Bedfordshire during 2006 with a UK status of Notable (Na or Nb), Red Data Book (RDB), UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Macro-moths, migrants, vagrants and accidentals, plus some noteworthy records.
Please note the species status, in square brackets, refers to the national status and in some cases does not refl ect the status in Bedfordshire or VC30. A list of the macromoths of VC30 with their current status is on the Beds Moth Group website (www.vc30moths.org.uk) or available from the Recorders on request.

370 Hornet Moth Sesia apiformis (Cl.) [Nb]
Luton field observation 10th July (ACu), Marston Vale Country Park exit holes found in many Black Poplars in late December (APy).


1633 Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris (L.) [Nb]
Larval webs seen in May and June at Harrold (5) and Odell (3) (HAS). The site at Odell is a new location but is close to a site where they were seen in 1987.


1677 Birch Mocha Cyclophora albipunctata (Hufn.) [Local]
Sandy RSPB 18th Aug (PD).
1699 Least Carpet Idaea rusticata ssp. atrosignaria (Lempke) [Local]
Lower Stondon 26th September – a late record – most likely a second brood individual (AMB&MGB).This species was first recorded in the Cockayne Hatley RIS Trap in 1976 with only a handful of records after that until 2000. Since then it has consistently been recorded, primarily in the east of the county.
1715 Plain Wave Idaea straminata (Borkh.) [Local]
Sandy RSPB 11th July (NDW) and 28th July (PD), Clifton 15th July (JE), Biggleswade 28th July (PMc).This was quite a scarce moth in Bedfordshire prior to 1969, with only a few records. From 1969 to 1973 it was regularly trapped in the Sandy I RIS trap, but it was then not recorded until 1981 in King’s Wood Heath and Reach. There have been occasional records since then from various sites and the species was last recorded in 2003.
1716 Vestal Rhodometra sacraria (L.) [Migrant]
Turvey Abbey 16th Sept (JM), Odell 23rd Sept (HAS), Studham 23rd Sept (CBa).
1720 Gem Orthonama obstipata (Fabr.) [Migrant]
Eaton Ford 14th Oct (AL, det BD), Turvey Abbey 29th Oct, one male (JM).
1731 Chalk Carpet Scotopteryx bipunctaria ([D.&S.]) [Nb]
Totternhoe 31st July, 4th, 6th, 9th, 15th, 16th and 18th Aug (ET).
1749 Dark Spinach Pelurga comitata (L.) [Common]
This species was formerly more common in the county and regularly turned up in the RIS trap at Cockayne Hatley in the late 1970s though the last time it was recorded there was 1985. At the time of Arnold et al. the last county record was in 1986 and it has only been recorded twice since. These were at Potton 1st August 2003 (JCh) and Sandy RSPB 11th August 2006 (PD).
1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata (Hufn.) [Common]
There were 25 records of this moth this year and it was recorded from Bedford (TY&AY), Bromham (PA), Carlton (HAS), Eaton Bray RIS (GBu), Eaton Ford (AL), Haynes (SKn), Potton (PD, JLi), Sandy RSPB (PD, NDW), Studham (CBa), and Turvey (JM). This used to be a rare moth in the county but in latter years records have increased significantly.
1790 Tissue Triphosa dubitata (L.) [Local]
Turvey 27th Apr (HAS). This is an uncommon moth in Bedfordshire. It was last recorded in 2003, the first record since 1986.
1802 Rivulet Perizoma affi nitata (Steph.) [Common]
Flitton Moor 19th July (LH). There are only nine other records of this moth in the county. It was previously recorded in 2003 and 2004 – the fi rst records since 1988.
1820 Pinion-spotted Pug Eupithecia insigniata (Hb.) [Nb]
Turvey Abbey 15th May, the fi rst record since 1990 (JM).
1821 Valerian Pug Eupithecia valerianata (Hb.) [Nb]
Near Turvey 12th June, a new county record (HAS, det GEH/LH).
1828 Satyr Pug Eupithecia satyrata ssp. satyrata (Hb.) [Local]
A fairly scarce moth in Bedfordshire, which was last recorded in 1996. In 2006 it was recorded in Lower Stondon on 4th July (AMB&MGB, det LH).
1841 Yarrow Pug Eupithecia millefoliata Rössler [Nb]
Eaton Bray RIS 10th and 28th July (GBu, det PGo and ARi), Wrestlingworth 4th Aug – an adult female (NDW, det IKD and BD). This species was previously only recorded as larvae in September 1998 by J Reid.
1846 Narrow-winged Pug Eupithecia nanata (Hb.) [Common]
This moth was regularly recorded from Sandy I and II RIS from 1969 to 1975, however, in the last decade there have only been a handful of records in the county. In 2006 there were two records of this species from Dunstable 18th June (LH), and Sandy RSPB 28th July (PD).
1911 Large Thorn Ennomos autumnaria (Werneb.) [Nb]
Potton 17th Sept (JLi).
1923 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria (L.) [Common]
Sandy RSPB 16th Jan, a very late record of an adult female found alive on a tree trunk suggesting overwintering or a very late emergence. It was photographed and the fi nd written up (Banthorpe, 2006) (AMB&MGB). The previous latest record for this species in the county was in December 1982 (date not specifi ed in records). 1943 Great Oak Beauty Hypomecis roboraria ([D.&S.]) [Nb] Cockayne Hatley RIS 16th June (IW).

1972 Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli (L.) [Migrant]
Haynes 13th Sept (SKn), Great Barford 23rd Sept (MC), Turvey Abbey 23rd Sept (JM).
1984 Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum (L.) [Migrant]
There were 128 records of this species in 2006. The fi rst ones were reported on 11th June at Clifton (1) (JE), Luton (1) (AGr), Sandy RSPB (2) (PD), Sutton (1) (AT&MWa), and Willington (3) (SWi). The last record was from Lower Stondon in mid-November (SJ&IS). A maximum of four were reported from Sandy RSPB on the following dates 14th June (PBu, BCo, ID), 15th June (PD), and 28th July when one of these was stung by a Hornet and later died (DOM, MW).

2029 Brown Tail Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.) [Local] (probable migrant)
Beeston (JDa), Potton (JDa), Sandy RSPB 1st, 6th, 12th, and 28th July, 14th, and 23rd Sept (PD), Dunstable 4th July (LH), Lower Stondon 4th July (AMB&MGB), Clifton 7th July (JE), Eaton Ford 8th July (AL).


2043 Orange Footman Eilema sororcula (Hufn.) [Local]
Eaton Ford 5th June, this being the second county record. It was also recorded on 11th and 12th June (AL).


2082 Garden Dart Euxoa nigricans (L.) [Common]
Formerly a common species in the county it appears to be in decline with only three records of it in 2006 from the following sites: Sandy RSPB 28th July (PD), Biggleswade 16th Aug (PMc), and Potton 2nd Sept (PD).
2091 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon (Hufn.) [Migrant]
Carlton 11th June (HAS), Haynes 29th July (SKn), near Turvey 10th Aug (HAS), Eaton Ford 16th Aug and 1st Sept (AL), Turvey Abbey 27th Aug and 16th Sept (JM), Sandy RSPB two on 23rd Sept (PD).
2119 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia (Hb.) [Migrant]
Cockayne Hatley RIS 5th Sept (IW), Potton 15th Sept (JLi) and 21st Sept (PD), Lower Stondon 9th Oct (AMB&MGB).
2131 Square-spotted Clay Xestia rhomboidea (Esp.) [Na/BAP]
Sandy RSPB 14th Aug (PD), Cockayne Hatley RIS 20th Aug (IW), Sharnbrook 21st Aug (HAS).
2137 Great Brocade Eurois occulta (L.) [Nb] [Migrant in Beds]
Eaton Ford 3rd and 7th Aug (AL), Haynes 3rd Aug (SKn), Clifton 5th Aug (JE), Potton 5th Aug (JLi). This moth was last recorded in the county in 1983.
2165 Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea ([D.&S.]) [RDB]
Dunstable 21st and 31st Aug as larvae on Perennial Sow-thistle, Sonchus arvensis, 30th Aug as an adult (LH).
2171 Marbled Coronet Hadena confusa (Hufn.) [Local]
A fairly scarce moth in the county it was recorded at two locations in 2006 – Dunstable 11th June (LH), and Bromham 27th June (PA).
2194 White-point Mythimna albipuncta ([D.&S.]) [Migrant]
Potton 29th Aug (PD).
2195 Delicate Mythimna vitellina (Hb.) [Migrant]
Eaton Ford 4th Sept, a new county record (AL, checked by BD) also Great Barford 23rd Sept (MC).
2197 Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea
A scarce moth in the county, it was recorded twice in 2006 at Eaton Ford on 29th June and 19th Sept (AL).
2235 Tawny Pinion Lithophane semibrunnea (Haw.) [Local]
This uncommon species was recorded at Stotfold on 27th Apr (GC).
2236 Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica (Cl.) [Local]
A rare moth in Bedfordshire, in 2006 it was recorded at two locations – Ampthill RIS 31st Mar and 25th Apr (DSm), and Turvey 12th Oct (HAS).
2268 Suspected Parastichtis suspecta (Hb.) [Local]
A scarce moth in the county, one was recorded at Sandy RSPB 17th July (PD, det LH).
2291 Coronet Craniophora ligustri ([D.&S.]) [Local]
Studham 3rd July (CBa). The first reliable modern record since 1917, as B.B.West subsequently regarded his record of this moth in 1957 as possibly having been recorded erroneously.
2321 Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha (Hufn.) [Common]
Lower Stondon 28th Oct, a very late record, probably from a second generation (AMB&MGB). There is a later record on 16th Nov 2004, but generally the fl ight season ends in late August.
2333 Large Nutmeg Apamea anceps ([D.&S.]) [Local]
Lower Stondon 18th Oct, a very late record, probably from a second generation (AMB&MGB). The previous latest record for this moth is 15th Sept 1987, but generally the flight season ends in late July.
2349 Mere Wainscot Chortodes fl uxa (Hb.) [Nb]
Eaton Ford 24th July (AL), Cockayne Hatley RIS 5th, 16th, 19th and 29th July (IW).
2360x Ear Moth Agg. Amphipoea oculea Agg.
There were six records this year of ‘Ear Moths’ from Kempston, Potton, Sandy RSPB, and Stotfold. All are extremely likely to be Ear Moth, Amphipoea oculea, as the habitats for the other three ‘Ears’ do not occur in the county. However, to be sure the moths would have had to have been dissected. As the specimens were not kept this was not possible. At some point it would be good to confirm which species of Ear/s do occur.
2368 Crescent Celaena leucostigma (Hb.) [Local]
This is a very scarce moth in the county. It has previously been recorded only fi ve times in the county – in 1965 and 1966 in Bromham, 1974 in Sandy II RIS and Shuttleworth RIS, and in 2004 in Eaton Ford. In 2006 it was again recorded in Eaton Ford on 23rd July (AL).
2370 Twin-spotted Wainscot Archanara geminipuncta
Until 2006 there were nine previous records of this moth in the county and it was last recorded in 2004 in Eaton Ford. In 2006 it was recorded at the same location on five dates – 25th, 26th and 27th July, 5th and 8th Aug (AL).
2373 Webb’s Wainscot Archanara spargannii (Esp.) [Nb]
Haynes 11th Sept (SKn), Potton 16th Sept (JLi).
2379 Small Rufous Coenobia rufa (Haw.) [Local]
A scarce moth in Bedfordshire, there was one record of it in 2006 from Ampthill RIS 6th Aug (DSm)
2385 Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua (Hb.) [Migrant]
Turvey Abbey 24th June (JM), Carlton 25th, 30th July, 5th, 15th Aug (HAS), Sandy RSPB 28th July (PD), Cockayne Hatley RIS 29th July, 6th Aug (IW), Haynes 13th Sept (SKn), Great Barford two on 23rd Sept (MC).
2400 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera (Hb.) [Migrant]
Dunstable 9th, 30th Aug, 4th Sept (LH), Eaton Ford 16th Aug, 4th, 11th, 15th and 25th Sept (AL), Odell 31st Aug (HAS), Potton 31st Aug, 5th and 7th Sept (PD), 15th and 16th Sept (JLi), Sharnbrook 4th Sept (DVM), Lower Stondon 4th Sept, 28th Oct (AMB&MGB), Turvey Abbey 5th, three on 16th, and 23rd Sept (JM), Kempston 8th Sept (MJP), Ampthill RIS 12th Sept (DSm), Haynes 13th Sept (SKn), Bromham 16th and 20th Sept (PA), Sandy RSPB 18th Sept (1) and 23rd Sept (2) (PD).
2403 Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera ([D.&S.]) [Migrant]
Ampthill RIS 5th and 30th July (DSm), Carlton 6th and 8th Aug (HAS), Biggleswade
16th Aug (PMc), Sandy RSPB 27th Aug (PD), Potton 17th Sept (JLi).
2418 Cream-bordered Green Pea Earias clorana (L.) [Nb]
Eaton Ford 10th and 16th June (AL), Biggleswade 16th June (PMc), Turvey Abbey 18th
June (JM), Cockayne Hatley RIS 19th June (IW), Kempston 29th July (MJP).
2421 Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana (Fuess.) [Local]
Sharnbrook 19th June (DVM), Bedford July (TY&AY), Eaton Ford 18th, 21st and 25th July (AL).
2432 Ni Moth Trichoplusia ni (Hb.) [Migrant]
Potton 17th Sept, a new county record (JLi).
2439 Gold Spot Plusia festucae (l.) [Common]
Eaton Ford 11th Aug (AL). This is quite a rare moth in the county and was last recorded in 1989.
2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma (L.) [Migrant]
First recorded at Turvey Abbey 7th May where there were six (JM), last recorded Ampthill RIS 26th Dec (DSm). A maximum of 50 were seen at Clifton on 15th June (JE). Of note the diminuitive form gammina was recorded at Carlton on 25th July, 1st, 8th and 13th Aug (HAS).
2465 Four-spotted Tyta luctuosa ([D.&S.]) [Na]
Odell 15th June, when at least three were seen (HAS).
2480 Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis (L.) [Nb]
Eaton Ford 7th and 28th May (AL), Clifton 12th May (PGS).

The following significant records were recorded from a site in Bedfordshire administrative but in the Vice-county of Hertfordshire (VC20):

1748 Beautiful Carpet Mesoleuca albicillata (L.)
Great Bradwin’s Wood 17th July (CBa).
1885 Clouded Magpie Abraxas sylvata (Scop.)
Great Bradwin’s Wood 17th July, more than ten (CBa). This species had not been recorded in Bedfordshire since at least 1970. It is hoped that a site for it can be located within the Vice-county.

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.

The following first county records have not been published before and have been noted here for completeness.


2043 Orange Footman Eilema sororcula (Hufn.) [Local]
Maulden Wood 31st May 2003 (CWP).


2236 Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica (Cl.) [Local]
Sandy RSPB 28th March 2003 (MG). This species was reported as occurring in Bedfordshire by Heath and Emmet in 1983. However, J.Heath, in a personal communication to V.W.Arnold mentioned in Arnold et al. 1997, considered this record to be erroneous.

Please remove the following from the new 10km squares list in the 2005 Macro-moth
1688 Tawny Wave TL24
2231a Northern Deep-brown Dart SP92

Records and support gratefully acknowledged from the following: T.Aldhous, P.Almond (PA), V.W.Arnold, C.R.B.Baker (CBa), K.Balaam, K.Balmer, A.M.Banthorpe (AMB), M.G.Banthorpe (MGB), S.C.Blain, P.Burfi eld (PBu), G.Buss (GBu), C.Carpenter, G.Castle (GC), J.E.Childs (JCh), J.Clifton, J.Comont, B.Cooper (BCo), M.Corley (MC), R.Cornes, A.Cutts (ACu), D.F.Dawson, I.K.Dawson (IKD), J.Day (JDa), I.Dickie (ID), B.Dickerson (BD), P.Donald (PD), R.D.Dunham, J.England (JE), J.Fisher, L.Giddings, B.Goodey, E.Goodyear, P.Gould (PGo), A.Grimsey (AGr), M.Gurney (MG), G.E.Higgs (GEH), L.J.Hill (LH), P.Howard, F.James, C.Jameson, S.Joynes (SJ), S.Knight (SKn), A.A.Lawrence (AL), J.Lindsell (JLi), D.V.Manning (DVM), Br.J.Mayhead (JM), P.McMullen (PMc), A.Middleton, B.S.Nau, D.Niemann, B.J. Nightingale, D.Oakley- Martin (DOM), D.J.Odell, A.Palmer, M.J.Palmer (MJP), A.Paynter, R.Paynter, N.Phalasuk, J.Pitts, C.W.Plant, A.Pym (APy), S.Reid, S.Reilly, N.Renwick, A.Riley (ARi), M.Rule, I.Sabiniarz (IS), J.T.R.Sharrock, M.J.Sheridan, D.Smith (DSm), H.A.Smith (HAS), B.Squires, K.Standbridge, S.Standbridge, P.G.Stapleton (PGS), A.Thorpe (AT), E.Turner (ET), M.Walton (MWa), M.Ward (MWar), P.Waring, J.Wells, S.Williams (SWi), N.D.Willits (NDW), D.T.Withers, I.P.Woiwod (IW), A.Yates (AY) and T.Yates (TY).

Arnold, V.W., Baker, C.R.B., Manning, D.V. and Woiwod, I.P., 1997. The Butterflies and Moths of Bedfordshire Bedfordshire Natural History Society 408pp.
Banthorpe, A.M., 2006. Feathered Thorn, Colotois pennaria (L.) (Lep: Geometridae): a very late record in Bedfordshire. The Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation Vol 118 Pt 3 103.
Bradley, J.D., 2000. Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles Second Edition (revised).

Andy and Melissa Banthorpe are the Society’s joint Recorders of Macro-moths, a position they have held in an honorary capacity since late 2006.