Thursday, 1 July 2010

Shining brightly

Eeek, they're here! The UK's most successful moth, the various Yellow Underwings. Like brambles, they thrive. Like Chinese armies in history and myth, they advance in unstoppable waves. There isn't actually a plain and simple Yellow Underwing, rather Large YUs, Broad-bordered, Narrow-bordered and so on. But whatever their names, and whatever else is happening to our environment, they have the secret of success.

Me, I took refuge in photographing this Burnished Brass, one of 15 in the eggboxes (yes, it's abundance time all round, and not surprisingly with the nights as warm as a bath). I've tried daylight, a headtorch (luckily no-one was looking) and flash and here are the results. Interesting that flash from one angle - the last picture - avoids the scales' reflection/refraction altogether and turns a jewel into paste. There is a lot of literature on moths and butterflies' 'metallic' scales if you Google. The fact that remains in my junk-box mind is that commercial hunters of the Amazon's irridescent Morpho butterflies, whose wings are made into jewellery and souvenirs, use glittery sweetpapers on fishing lines to lure the beautiful creatures down from the canopy and within reach of their nets.

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