Tuesday, 28 July 2009


Lots of brown and black and grey in the trap this morning. Boring superficially, but when I looked more closely at this Marbled Minor I noticed its palps. Looking like a tiny pair of pliers, they are thought to help moths with touch, taste and possibly movement and navigation. My camera isn't good enough to bring out all the amazing detail in moths' faces, but occasionally aspects strike you like this.

The dead moth in London, for instance, (a few posts below) has its coiled proboscis partly out as you can see if you click on the pic so that it fills your screen. I don't suppose many of us come across the word 'palp' in daily chatter, but it is directly related to 'palpable' which is much more common, generally as an alternative to 'clear' in the sense of obvious although strictly it means capable of being touched. So my various online dictionaries tell me anyway.

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