Friday, 22 August 2008

Two carpets, miles apart

Obama is going to text out the name of his running mate today apparently, so here's an American moth in his honour (and McCain's, to be even-handed). Sarah Meredith - see artist link on my list - emailed it to me. With her artist's eye, she spotted its decision to find a background similar to its own colouring. Is it a decision? Or is that the Lamarckian Heresy? How can we tell? Camouflage has become one of the themes of this journal but up to now, I'm unconvinced that simply tabulating data about the number of moths which choose appropriate backgrounds, and corresponding figures for those which don't, will actually prove the point. I had to write about adders the other day, following my encounter with one (see several entries below), and I was very pleased when the leading expert said honestly: "There's a lot we don't know about adders." Ditto moths. Anyway, Sarah's is some sort of carpet moth, even if it has chosen a blanket or a throw to rest on. Maybe they're called Throw Moths in the States. Sarah can tell us.
By coincidence the only interesting moth in a very sparse trap last night (it was cold and clear; autumn coming; woe) was also a carpet. Here it is. I am immersed in the baffling task of trying to sort out which of the infuriatingly similiar types it is. There was also a lovely micro called the Mother of Pearl moth but it was wide awake and jittery. I approached it with my camera like a stealthy paparazzo but it spotted me and fluttered away.

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