Friday, 11 June 2010

Cor Limey

I approached the trap this morning without my usual optimism. It had been a cold night, albeit dry at last, and I had put the light in a shady bit of woodland for a change. But as often happens, low expectations were rewarded: slumbering away on an eggbox was the third of the handsome hawk moths which I've recorded on my Leeds list. This is the Lime Hawk, saying Good Morning above, and in its full glory below. I haven't passed my entomological enthusiasm particularly to my sons, though both are what you might call 'moth aware' (not surprisingly...) but one of them made a celebrated discovery. He spotted a Lime Hawk in broad daylight on a wall in Walton Road at Jericho in Oxford, where Philip Pullman had the inspiration for the canal gypsies who rescue Lyra, the heroine of His Dark Materials. The Lime Hawk has been used as an object lesson for camouflage designers; it could have been kitted out by the Ministry of Defence. It is also another species which is spreading North in the UK, and it's excellent to know that all is well with its outpost here.

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