Cheshire Macro-Moth Report - 1980

Day Flying Moths:

So much of today's recording is based on the use of light traps or working light with a sheet that the 7% or so of our moth specis that fly by day tend to be under recorded. Some of the day fliers are perhaps more easily found as larvae, particularly the clearwings, but all of the following should be looked for by day.

There are no day-fliers on the 'A' list but in the 'B' list we have five species, generally regarded as common, but missing from at least one of the original 10 squares and generally from others as well:

  • Vapourer - missing from SJ38 & 47, also from SJ44, 66 & 76.
  • Cinnabar - missing from SJ77 & 78 where even the larvae have not been reported.
  • Twin-spot Carpet - missing from SJ47 & 76.
  • Bordered White - missing from SJ78 only; is there no Pine in Hale ?
  • Six-spot Burnet - missing from SJ75, 78 & 97, also from SJ44.

When we come to the 'C' list (3 to 7 squares out of ten), there are even more surprises.There are 11 day-fliers amongst the 104 species on this list:

  • Humming-bird Hawk-moth - Is included for completeness, but being a migrant its individual records are not very significant.
  • Oak Eggar & Emperor Moth - The males of these two species fly in the afternoon, mainly in moorland localities, each has been recorded from only 5 or 6 of the best 14 squares.
  • Beautiful Yellow Underwing - Would be expected wherever there is heather but we have records from only 3 of the 14 squares.
  • Small Yellow Underwing & Chimney Sweeper - Both are denizens of dry grassy places in early summer but are recorded from less than half of the 14 squares.
  • Orange Underwing - It flies around birch in late March or April and is usually plentiful where it occurs and is easy to see (but not to catch!) - again reported in less than half of the 14 squares.
  • Common Heath - Unbelievably, reported from only 7 of the 14 squares. I have searched all the heather I know in my own square without discovering it.
  • Narrow Bordered Five-spot Burnet & Broad Bordered Five-spot Burnet - I am not too confident that all records of these two species are correct as they can be confused, but many of the 14 squares do not show either which is probably not the true situation.

As all records of any of the above species will be welcome I have not listed those records we do have.

The 'D' list is, by definition, those species not recorded very often, but some at least of the following should surely be more widespread than our records suggest. It is particularly noteworthy that our species of clearwings all fall into this list:

  • Fox Moth
  • Wood Tiger
  • Clouded Buff
  • Burnet Companion
  • Marsh Oblique-striped
  • Purple-bordered Gold
  • Smoky Wave
  • Manchester Treble-bar
  • Grass Wave
  • Lunar Hornet Clearwing
  • Large Red-belted Clearwing
  • Currant Clearwing
  • Yellow Legged Clearwing
  • The Forester

Any records of any of these species would be welcome, the clearwings particularly must be searched for, preferably as larvae.

Changes To The Moth Records Made in 1980:

A. Species on the 'B' list now recorded in all ten squares and so added to the 'A' list:

  • December Moth
  • Dotted Clay
  • Uncertain
  • Spinach
  • Clouded Silver

108 species + 5 = 113 species on the 'A' list.

B. Species on the 'C' list for which there were additional records bringing the total up to 7 or more and so to the 'B' list:

  • Common Footman
  • Small Rufous Wainscot
  • Copper Underwing
  • Small Dotted Buff
  • Small Yellow Wave

112 species - 5 + 5 = 112 species on the 'B' list.

C. Species on the 'D' list now recorded from 3 or more of the ten squares and consequently moved to the 'C' list:

  • Scalloped Shell
  • Phoenix
  • Water Carpet
  • Dingy Shell

105 species - 5 + 4 = 104 species on the 'C' list.

D. Apart from four species moved up to the 'C' list another four have been removed; enquiries into what can best be described as 'surprising' records revealed that 3 were quite unproved, no specimens had been preserved and that the dates of capture and habitat were toatlly unsuitable; a fourth species was undoubtedly correst but the actual date of capture was well before 1960, these four are:

  • Square-spotted Clay
  • Least Minor
  • Cloaked Pug
  • Lead-coloured Pug

There have, however, been several additions this year due to field work, mainly on Cheshire Conservation Trust Reserves:

  • Clouded Buff
  • Round-winged Muslin
  • Oak Nycteoline
  • Oblique Carpet
  • Valerian Pug
  • Annulet

121 speces - 8 + 6 = 119 species on the 'D' list.

The Species Total is now at: 448 species.

A preliminary comparison of this list with that published by Gordon Smith in 1948 shows some 35 species recorded before 1948 which have not been seen since 1960. Some of these have no doubt become extinct in Cheshire, but there must be many waiting to be rediscovered, especially as those that occupy rather specialised habitats such as sand-dunes, reedbades and high moors.

C.I. Rutherford - (01625-583683)                                                                                                                                                                 January 1981
Macclesfield Road
Alderley Edge
Cheshire, SK9 7BL












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