Friday, 22 April 2011

A greyer shade of grey

How many times have I sighed about small and brown or boringly grey moths which I have such trouble sorting out? Oh well. Their colouring doesn't come without good reason. You would have to be a very keen-sighted bird to spot the Clouded Drab on the stone above. It's coincidence, but if you click on the pic to enlarge it, you'll see that parts of the wing pattern and the slightly pitted surface of the rock are almost exactly the same.

I thought initially that this was a Lead-coloured Drab, a slightly rarer relative of the Clouded. Catchy names, eh; a bit like the Grundies in The Archers. I sent my photo to Charlie Fletcher, the Yorkshire county moth recorder, and he opts for Clouded; not on wing pattern or colouring which can be more or less identical (the Clouded Drab is infuriatingly varied), but because the Lead-coloured Drab has more feathery antennae (or bipectinate if you are being posh, says Charlie). So in his excellent comparison picture below, it's the one on the right.

A much more handsome visitor arrived this morning, meanwhile: the Lunar Marbled Brown, same as the one I featured from my Kilburn expedition several posts below. The sunshine has already broken through our early morning mist and the moth got a bit frisky. But this had the advantage that I could photograph it, below, scurrying for shelter with its handsome (and also bipectinate) antennae helping find its still-drowsy way. It's called 'lunar', to distinguish it from the different, plain Marbled Brown, because of the little sickle moon shape on its beautifully patterned wings.

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