Sunday, 2 May 2010

Nom de plume

Another pretty visitor last night, but not to the chilly moth trap. Penny spotted this one on the landing, where it then flew up to the ceiling, leading to undignified scenes. I was on my way to the bath, but managed to manoeuvre the camera close enough to get a not wholly-blurred pic. It looks as though the moth is crossing the Sahara but that is something to do with digital photography and artificial light. Our ceiling is not that custard yellow.
The moth is a Twenty-Plume, an exceptionally delicate micro-moth, ie not included in the main British list because it is simply too small for the ordinary observer to cope with. That includes myself, except that the Twenty-plume is so distinctive that it ought to be up there with the Early Greys & Co. This one has hiberated and is thus a bit tatty, but the patterning is still fine. Linneaus' botanists called it Alucita hexadactyla, meaning 'six-fingered gnat' in an unusual combination of Greek and Latin. I find it difficult from the moth, and picture, to work out who is right. Are there six plumes per wing, or five (thus making twenty in all)? I persuaded it to pose under my bedside light for the more detailed picture, but still can't be certain.

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