Sunday, 8 May 2011

Dark glasses

I was going to have another grumble about the chores of identifying moths this morning, using a trio of Spectacle moths. This is an easy one to distinguish because of the strange little pair of glasses which appear to be perched on its nose beneath a quiff - though actually they are patternings on its equivalent of our forehead and placed well above its eyes.

Spectacles are coming to the trap in numbers at the moment (in between thunderstorms) and I was looking at these three, below, with more than usual interest. They were the only arrivals the other night apart from two maybugs, and since all were dozy and willing to be gently manoeuvred with matchsticks, I gave them a closer look than usual. They were so different, and I thought that this lent weight to my regular moans about patterns being so similar in different species and also so varied in particular ones.

I checked as ever in Waring, Townsend & Lewington, to see if there was much about Spectacle variation - and Lo! i discovered the existence of the Dark Spectacle. This is a different moth, albeit with similar 'glasses', and the very distinctive one of the trio here, in the middle, is one. Silly me. I had always thought the Spectacle so distinctive that I had never previously made this elementary check (and my first Spectacle in the trap, in the little pic at the top) came here in June 2008. So here's another new species for my official tally, though I have no doubt that it has been here before, unrecognised.

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