Monday, 23 August 2010

Bedizzened and bedazzened

Two handsome overnighters here, both protected against the light rain which fell by the light trap's excellent rain-shield. Mr and Mrs Robinson, the husband-and-wife entomologists who designed the Robinson Trap were clever people. Also unusual. Moth-studying seems usually to be a passion of one or the other in a couple, though Penny is wondrously encouraging (and indeed gave me both the trap and my moth Bible (Waring, Townsend & Lewington) as birthday presents). As the former chief sub-editor of Cosmopolitan, she also ensure that this reaches you without spelling mistakes and other blunders.

These two moths are a Sallow Kitten and a Gold Spot. The blue thing is a pencil for scale. It is actually quite an interesting pencil as it is made out of recycled denim jeans, but the moths are more interesting. Especially the Gold Spot, whose colouring is dramatic by homely British standards. Why its rather humdrum lifestyle, favouring dampish places with plenty of grasses, should justify this bedizening and bedazening, is a mystery, at least to me. I have added the issue to my stash of questions to try to answer when I have more time.

I dropped the Gold Spot's eggbox which set it a-fluttering, allowing me to take a picture of more of its wings than you can usually see (below). It was preparing for take-off, however, so I couldn't stop the blurring.
I have to say that to my eye, the Sallow looks more like its similar but rarer relation the Poplar Kitten, but I don't think it can be as the latter's flight season ends in July. But I will check with the sage Jax of Yorkshire Butterfly Conservation; or one of my kind expert monitors may comment.


worm said...

The Sallow Kitten has a great caterpillar, just like the puss moth's - and the adults look very similar (the sallow being the dowdier) and even feed on the same plants, yet I note that they have differing linean names - the Sallow having the rather excellent Furcula Furcula, and the Puss being Cerura Vinula

worm said... the way - are you sure it's not a poplar kitten?b

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Dabbler man!

I wondered if it might be a Poplar too, but the time of the year seems wrong. I'm waiting to hear from Jax or other experts and will amend the post if they rule against me (as ever...)
I've always wanted to see a Puss Moth caterpillar. I must check for Kitten ones. I'm pretty sure that it's a moth I've not found here before (which would also apply if it is a Poplar K).

All v best


Bennyboymothman said...

Hi Martin

100% Sallow Kitten, outer wing bar appears jagged.

Never seen either myself or indeed a Gold Spot so well done!

Unfortunately I had to leave my last 'fruitful' garden but still manage a few trips out!

Hope all is well.

All the best Martin.


MartinWainwright said...

Hi Ben! Thanks as ever for keeping me on the straight and narrow. I knew that you or Phil or one of the others would.
I'm sorry you've had to leave the fruitful garden. I'm very lucky here, as we've quite a varied patch of ground and a lot of wood and meadowland between us and both Leeds and Bradford (though we can see them both as we have tea).
All v best