Sunday, 29 May 2011

Ear we go

I am blessed with a very large number of cousins, an excellent situation because they are of all ages and so you meet people at every stage of life quite naturally and without any need for introductions and other niceties. I get the impression that this also applies to moths. I may be being anthropomorphic in Beatrix Potter style, but this pair which were in the trap together strike me as examples of first cousins who get on well and hang out: the Flame (above) and the Shoulder Flame (below left).

I am not a classification expert but they come within three pages of one another in Waring and Townsend, have similar habits and of course similar names. They are both masters of camouflage, resembling broken bits of twig or fag ends, and have a similar unusual resting position, clenching their wings tightly to their bodies. The Shoulder Flame has a special place in my affections because it prompts the one light-hearted diversion and the solitary exclamation mark in the whole of W&T's 432 pages. This is when they observe: "Comes to light when it flies wildly, and has the unfortunate habit of occasionally entering the ears of moth recorders near the light!"

You have been warned, although I never hang around my light. It's far too bright, and I prefer to go to bed and return in the morning when the moths in turn are all asleep. Here's the Flame head on, finally. This is what your ear would see, if ears could see and if a Flame decided to follow its cousin's wild adventures.

No comments: