Saturday, 4 July 2009
Pieces of Eighty
After a while, you get used to the patterns on moths' wings and, for all the variety, start to see consistencies. So often, there are four kidney-shaped marks; a pattern of jagged zig-zags along the trailing edge of the wings is another regular. There will be camouflage reasons for this. I guess the kidney marks suggest possible eyes, making the moth potentially bigger and more frightening, and zig-zags are a well-known way of breaking up a shape, for example in dazzle warships which I described last year. But then you get visitors with extremely distinct markings, and I've just had one: this Figure of Eighty Moth.I'm not sure quite how imaginative you have to be to detect the figure of 80. The moths vary, and this (rather sadly balding) one isn't completely distinct; more of a 0 and X moth to me. Here's a detail of the pattern; and then below, an example of variation. I think that this is another Beautiful Golden Y, like the one I featured a few days ago (Oh no it isn't. It's a Plain Golden Y - thanks Jax from Yorkshire Butterflies), but the Y is much more broken-up and indistinct. Ah well, it may be a nightmare for the identifier, but we wouldn't all want to look exactly the same (some are Plain, some Beautiful, but as my Mum says, what matters is what's inside, although I don't think that applies to moths).