Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Old flames


The Flame (above) and the Flame Shoulder (below left) have come together to the trap, moths with a similar habit of tucking themselves away as tightly as possible in the nooks and crannies of the eggboxes. This prompts one of the very, very few lighter moments in my moth guide by Townsend, Waring and Lewington (British Wildlife Publishing). The authors remark of the Flame Shoulder: "It flies wildly and has an unfortunate habit of occasionally entering the ears of moth recorders near the light." An ear must be tempting to insects which hunt out small tunnels and grooves. The Flame has one of the best camouflage outfits in the moth world. It folds its wings extremely tightly over its body and the pattern makes the result look exactly like a scrap of twig. It is also one of very few British moths whose width is greater at the head than the tail. The vast majority are the other way round, resembling small pyramids when at rest, with the wings fanning out to form the base.

2 comments:

ornithom said...

Hi Martin,

I read with some amusement about the habits of the Flame Shoulder! I have only been mothing since April this year and so am learning very fast. I apply the same rules to identifying moths as I do my other main hobby of birding. The 2 are quite similar, and it's amazing how I can spot a moths id whilst its buzzing around the trap/sheet. The Flame Shoulder is always the one that ignores the sheet and goes straight for my face!

Amusing blog, as always!

Kind regards

Steve

PS: I had my first Swallow-tailed on Monday night!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! Isn't it interesting how characterful they are, though so small.
I invaded your bird field yesterday with the heron - fascinating watching it stalk its prey. Such patience. Puts humans to shame!
All warm wishes
M