Monday, 6 June 2011

What have you been on?

I often compare my snoozing morning moths to students after a heavy night out, and here's an appropriate example. This vivid Brimstone moth, suitably representative of the current lovely sunny weather, had real trouble getting it together when I came to inspect the egg boxes. As you can see from the picture above, it managed in the end; and indeed, it finally fluttered off under its own steam rather than being decanted with the other sleepyheads deep inside a sheltering rhododendron bush. But its waking process involved a series of curious gymnastics; the half-bodyflip on the left above is specially impressive (look at how the legs on the left are clinging on...) Then it played dead for a while, betrayed only by its beady, very-much-alive eye, below.

The Brimstone is a common moth but very lovely in its colouring. You may well see it out and about by day, if you brush past a rowan or hawthorn. Follow it to its resting place, however, and you may be impressed at how subtly that bright colouring disappears and the slightly more pastel underwing looks just like a dying leaf. Brimstones are somewhat feckless in their breeding habits, like humans but unlike most, highly predictable UK moths, and consequently may be seen on the wing almost any time from Spring to late autumn.


Jane said...

I love your blog, Your description of the moth personality is so entertaining, I am wondering which moth you consider to be the most boring and predictable, personality wise?

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Jane

You're very kind.

I'll have a think about your question, but I've got an odd-looking character lined up for tomorrow...

May I say that I was interested and touched to read your opening post on Cherry Blossom (and what a beautiful thing that is). I failed physic with chemistry O level with lowest possible grade, but my wife is interested in how I enjoy, in may aging years, trying to work out how and why mechanical things have gone wrong' and howe patient examination can quite often put them right.

Your observations on water are interesting too. I mess around with little artificial streams which tap the gutter on our (very downhill) street and bring water into our garden. I am MOST impressed at how water always finds a way through...

Anyway, warmest wishes to you and I'll do a post soon boring moths. (There is quite a lot to be said for being boring as Confucious or some such famously remarked).


Jane said...

thanks martin, all/most? things seek their equilibrium, water is the best example, building channels on the beach and encouraging them to flood the moats of our sandcastles is a favourite pastime of my family , enjoy your artificial streams and happy moth catching

MartinWainwright said...


Sorry about my spelling in previous post. I was getting sleepy