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Entimology in Norfolk

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Every entomologist knows that particular species of insects are attached not only to particular climates and environments but also, and to an even greater degree, to certain kinds of plants; and these again are found only upon their own favourite kinds of supersoils. Peat underlaid at the depth of a few feet by white clay or marl is a formation found in England, I believe, only in East Anglia, and to it we owe the peculiar physical feature for which Norfolk is so widely celebrated - her Broads. Those to the north-east of Norwich are the most celebrated among naturalists, probably because they have been most worked; but there is little doubt that the low-lying land on the south eastern and western borders of the county would yield good things if sufficiently drawn upon. For insects of higher taste is a more or less complete chain of low chalk hills running down the western centre of the county from Hunstanton towards Brandon, sometimes known as the East Anglian Heights; the vicinity of Norwich, however, is, perhaps, more noted for its chalk-loving insects. The long range of sea coast is lavish of its own species, especially in the chalk-cliff districts; most of it is low lying and constantly changing. In some places the sea appears to be retiring, and here the sand-dunes and old coast lines are very prolific - especially about Yarmouth, Cley, Hunstanton and Cromer. Norfolk has a total area of 1,308,440 acres, 12,000 of which are still so- called

Probably the majority of summer migrants, and of the resident entomologists also, devote themselves more or less exclusively to the butterflies and moths (or Lepidoptera), of which Norfolk boasts about the longest county list in Britain - roughly 1450 species. I will, therefore, say a word or two which may guide them to the approximate headquarters of the rarer or more local kinds. Above all the Swallow-Tail is one of the beginner's greatest enthusiasms. From the drained fens of Cambridgeshire it is fast disappearing and, for its sake, we may congratulate ourselves that the broads of Norfolk are of such a nature as to preclude a similar state of things obtaining with us. It is to be found in some numbers in all the fens of the Yare and Bure and I have five examples in my collection taken at Horning, one even in the churchyard, in 1897. The Marsh Fennel (Peucedanum palustre) is its principal food plant. An eye may with advantage be kept wide for the very rare Queen-of-Spain, which has been taken at Booton, Caister, Plumstead, Halvergate and Beachamwell. The Camberwell Beauty is probably commoner here than in most counties, which is, however, saying but little, though this was especially the case in 1872, when Antiopa occurred in all parts of the county and was seen by no means rarely in the north-east. The Large Copper is said to have occurred here, 208

and, considering the extent and nature of the fens, if it survives anywhere in Britain, which is more than doubtful, it is surely with us. The Mazarine Blue is said to have been found in the chalky districts in the old days. Most of the Hawks are recorded, including Deilephila galii from Yarmouth and Gillingham, and the doubtfully-British Chaerocampa nerii at Yarmouth, though south of the river. Lithosia muscerda is said to be confined to the Norfolk Broads, where it is not uncommon among the alders. It was at Horning that Curtis took great quantities of the Gypsey Moth, which is not now-a-days found in the wild state in Britain, though it lingered about Cawston at all events till 1861. The Essex Emerald is also said to have occurred, though sparingly, in the former locality. As I have already said, the post-glacial sands about Brandon yield a peculiar fauna and here are to be found, almost exclusively in Britain, Dianthaecia irregularis, Agrophila sulphuralis, Acidalia rubricata, Lithostege griseata, Spilodes sticticalis, Tinea imella, etc. Beachamwell was at one time a grand collecting ground, but it does not appear to have been worked for many years now; it was here that Banksia argentula, now confined to one or two localities in Ireland, was first found. Eubolia bipunctaria and Eriopsela fractifasciana are somewhat scarce on the chalk about Norwich but they are not found elsewhere in East Anglia. Diphtheria orion, too, occurs sparingly at Aldeby. Caister is almost the only place in Britain for Tapinostola elymi, where it was first found by Crotch in 1861. Nonagria brevilinea has never been discovered in the world outside Ranworth and Horning Broads, where it is found uncommonly every year and is one of Norfolk's great prizes. Hydrilla palustris, from Norwich, wants taking again badly, as does Cloantha perspicillaris, which occurred at Yarmouth in 1841.

Like the larger moths, the Micros are very interesting and peculiar on account of their attachment to our peculiar plants. I will mention, however, only a very few of the more typical. Of the Pyralids, Lemiodes pulveralis and Spilodes sticticalis are both good things; the former has occurred at Ranworth though it is elsewhere confined to the extreme south of England and the latter is only to be had in numbers in the Breck district about Brandon, whence came my own series. Norfolk has a monoply of Crambus fascelinellus from Yarmouth, and C. Paludellus in the Broads. Anerastla farrella is found on only the Norfolk coast where it has been attracted to artificial light. A visit should certainly be paid to Lynn for Argyresthia atmoriella, named after the indefatigable lepidopterist who first there discovered it in 1893; it is now found to be locally not uncommon. Nyctegretes achatinella is occasionally not rare on the Yarmouth sandhills, but occurs elsewhere only at Folkestone. These sandhills have a very rich fauna of their own including such things as Eupaecilia pallidana, Agrotis ripae and praecox, Leucania littoralis, etc. Of the rest Peronea perplexana, Sericoris doubledayana, Phoxopteryx paludana, Stigmonota erectana, Eupaecilia degreyana (named after Lord Walsingham), Nothris verbascella, Glyphipteryx schaenicolella, Elachista paludum, and the pretty little plume, Oxyptilus distans, are quite or very nearly confined to the Broads and Breck of Norfolk.

To turn to the Coleoptera or Beetles, there is a great number which are found only in boggy and marshy places, because the plants upon which they feed, or because the plants upon which those insects subsist upon which they prey, are attached to such situations. The Fens constitute the last abiding place of many kinds of beetles, and even here, if we may rely upon the records of a hundred years ago, they are much less abundant than formerly. A great number of marsh species will at once suggest themselves to the coleopterist and I need mention only a very few of the eighteen hundred different kinds recorded from Norfolk, as especial prizes, the rencontre with which is worthy of publication in the most scientific of journals. First and foremost, Carabus clathratus used at one time to be found in the Halvergate marshes and is recorded from the Suffolk boundary as recently as 1858, though its capture was probably effected some years previously; it is now almost exclusively confined to the highlands of Ireland and Scotland in the British Isles. A very pretty and exclusively fen species is Odacantha melanura, with which I have often met in the refuse on the banks of the Broads. (Etophorus imperialism which is somewhat similar in conformation, appears to be confined to marshy places in the eastern counties. Pterostichus aterrimus was first taken in Britain at Horning and has been found in but few other localities; it has not, however, turned up at all of recent years. Bradycellus placidus may be generally unearthed among rubbish in broadland by careful searching. Pogonus luridipennis was first known as British at Salhouse where it was originally somewhat common, but its particolored sheen has not been there seen since 1840; and it appears to have gone south to Sheppey. As might be expected the Hydradephaga or waterbeetles turn up in quantities and their phytophagous congeners, the Palpicornia, are well represented; of the former, Illybius subaeneus seems to be confined to this county and its sister, Suffolk. The short- winged genus, Stenusy is also in fuller force here than probably elsewhere, and thousands may easily be turned up in the fens. In Norwich was published in 1825, Denny's " Monographia " of the brachypterous Clavicornia, so Norfolk presents for them classic ground. Onthophilus sulcatus, a very rare British species, originated in this county and is to be taken sparingly in odd situations on the higher ground; Limnius troglodytes too, is hardly found elsewhere in Britain. The great Kirby of Barham first detected at Holme the beautiful Apion limonii and returned home exclaiming " Finis coronat opus." Many years ago Tropideres albirostris was found near Norwich and has not, I think, been rediscovered as British. The metallic genus Donacia is to be found in almost all its lovely species on the multitudinous water-plants. And last, though by no means least, Ceuthorhynchus querceti occurs at Horning alone in our isles, where it has been found by Messrs Brewer, Edwards and Elliman, as recently as 1895.

Five hundred and thirty-six species of Hemiptera, which Order of insects includes those usually known as plant-lice, field-bugs, and froghoppers, are known to occur in Norfolk out of a total of about seven hundred and fifty in the whole of Britain. The majority of the species are strictly confined to their particular food-plants, so if, upon seeing a plant of willow-herb (Epilobium) you should say " Here I shall find Dicyphus epilobiithere is little probability of being disappointed. Several of these Hemipterous species have been taken in Norfolk alone: Mr Thouless discovered Poeciloscytus vulneratus upon Galium verum on the Yarmouth Denes in September, and Idiocerus cupreus (probably the second specimen in the world), upon a sallow at Brandon. Nabis boops is scarcely found anywhere but at Lowestoft and Mousehold Heath, near Norwich, which latter was a great locality among the older entomologists of the first half of the century. Lygus atomarius, Liburnia reyi (from Weybourne), several members of the genera Idiocerus and Cicadula, as well as Deltocephalus costalis (a fen species from Ranworth), D. Coroniceps (on Coxford Heath), and the widely distributed Dicraneura similis, which was first detected here by Mr Edwards, are all kinds which have been taken in hardly any other localities in Britain, and should therefore certainly be assiduously searched for. Unlike other insects, however, coast Hemiptera do not appear to have lingered with the sea-sands in the Breck district and are scarce there. Lord Walsingham has, nevertheless, found at the adjacent Merton the very rare bat-bug (Cimex pipistrelli).

Norfolk will soon become classic ground for the Hymen- opterist for here, during the past seventies and eighties, the great Bridgman, a collector of quite the first water was wont to roam. He first turned his attention to the Aculeate section - which comprises the ants, wasps, and bees - and discovered there more kinds than have been found in any other county (excepting only the sister Suffolk). More than half the little family Cbrysididae have been recorded, including the local and rare Cleptes nitidula, Hedychrum nobile, and Chrysis pustulosa from the neighbourhood of Norwich. The ants are to be met with in no unusual numbers but several of the interesting sand- wasps, which store up spiders, aphides, and grasshoppers for their young to feed upon, after digging little holes for their security, such as Crabro signatus, and C. Anxius, from the marshes near Norwich, and C. Panzeri from Cromer, are found in only a few other counties. The bees are plentiful, and such rare things as Sphecodes ferruginatus, Andrena proximo., Nomada obtusifrons at Brundall, and N. Sexfasciata have occurred more or less sparingly. Brundall was formerly the headquarters of Macropis labiata and often visited by hymenopterists from afar; this bee has, however, since been discovered in other parts of the country and is now abundant in Wicken Fen, Cambs. In all some 230 species have been recorded from the county. The sawflies (or Tenthredinidae), which lay their eggs beneath the cuticle of the leaves, often causing consequent swellings or galls, and whose larvae feed openly like the caterpillars of moths, are to be here met with in profusion by those few students who are interested in their wondrous powers of parthenogenesis. Phyllotoma fumipennis and Nematus Bridgmanii, which were originally discovered in the Brundall marshes about 1880, are the most noteworthy. During the early part of the century the county suffered much from the attacks of the Black Jack, which is the larva of a sawfly, Athalia spinarum, and appeared in such numbers as to destroy many thousands of acres of turnips upon whose tops they principally subsist. Mr Bridgman found a hundred and sixty kinds of this family in Norfolk, and, probably, no county has had its Ichneumonidae - four-winged flies, parasitic upon other kinds of insects - so thoroughly worked; but, since this is a subject generally carefully avoided by the entomologist (for his peace of mind's sake!), it will be unnecessary to further refer to it. There are a large number of Braconidae in the Bridgman collection in the Norwich Castle Museum, but little has been published upon the subject and nothing whatever, I believe, about the remainder of the Norfolk Hymenoptera.

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