Monday, 30 May 2011

Morning Emmelina!

The name Emmelina has gone out of fashion for girls. Not so for moths. This strangely T-shaped character is a regular arrival at the moment. It was called Emmelina monodactyla by the great Linnaeus himself in 1758 and no one has seen any reason to change that. Boys as well as girls have been Emmelina for over 250 years.

The second name means 'one wing', as in monoplane or monotone, although Emmelina actually has pairs of wings like almost all moths, but furls them up as tightly as a City gent's umbrella, giving both the T-shape and the single wing effect. Nomenclature in moths is a study in itself; indeed I hanker after a very expensive book which explains all the names. In Victorian times, roguish entomologists named one group of moths after a series of (possibly imaginary) close encounters with young ladies, and thus we ended up with varieites such as Polykistmi, Kittikistmi, Pennikistmi and the like. (Say them aloud...)

Just as a tailpiece, here's another arrival: the very distinctive blotched version of the Common Marbled Carpet. I am useless at identifying Carpet moths and therefore love this one dearly, because you can't mistake it. It is dozing, very carpet-like, on the finely grained 'floor' of our outside table. Btw a large magpie is coming to our bedroom window bird nuts which is most diverting. Have any readers had hopelessly big birds attempting the same?

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