Monday, 16 June 2008

Dr Moth

This Peppered moth is a frequen visitor to the trap at the moment. It's a moth of great significance. When I was a boy, the melanistic (dark) form was much more common in industrial areas such as Leeds. It was better able to camouflage itself on sooty surfaces. (see second pic). The eminent doctor and butterfly/moth expert Sir Cyril Clarke did an excellent correlation between the decline of these dark Peppereds and the increase of 100-year-olds (people) in the UK - both indicating a fall in pollution. Clarke is justly honoured for his solution of the rhesus negative 'blue babies' blood problem in infants. He cracked this through genetics, studying similar mismatches in Swallowtail butterflies which he bred at home. If he was still alive, I would show him my Peppered moth and ask if he thought it had somehow correlated with the black and white of the barcode on the eggbox.

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