Tuesday, 16 June 2009
First night of the Proms
A couple of Iron Prominents this morning, one a little less prominent than the other. (But, aagh, see Comments and post above...) They get their name from the Mohican-style tuft on their backs when at rest which adds to the Star Warsy, science fiction effect, specially with that little purple planet in the background in my main pic. The tuft is actually a spur on the edge of their forewings which sticks up when the wings fold, breaking the moth's outline in the familiar way of camouflage.
The subtle colours and patterns also help with disguise, specially if the insect is on bark or dead leaves. The Prominent family are another example of how unfair the world's distribution of moths is to the UK and Ireland. There are 2,500 different Prominents altogether. We have 27, and one of them, the beautiful White Prominent, was last seen in 1938. Another, the Three-humped Prominent which sounds a bit miserable, was caught on a lighted shop window in Southwold in 1884, but has only been back ten times since then.