Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Sorry I'm so late today; things have been busy. For the same reason I didn't switch the trap on last night although it was balmy weather. Tonight, maybe...though we've just had a very welcome sprinkling of rain. Things are getting to look a bit parched - it's interesting how quickly that happens.

Anyway, here are a couple of pals from last time the light was on. The Dark Arches above is saying in moth language, I am sure, "Leave me alone. Don't you know what time it is?" The Small Fanfoot below just looks so nice that I wanted to share it with the world. It's how I imagine Jane Eyre.

Finally, another quiz time, although this one is probably only for my kindly American pals unless there's someone very knowledgeable elsewhere in the world. My friend the excellent painter Sarah Meredith was dozing away the other night in the muggy weather they're having in upper New York state (where everywhere has familiar names such as Delhi and Cairo but they're all pronounced differently, eg Del-Hi and Kay-Ro). Then she heard a flutter or possibly a scrabbling and peering out into the darkness, beyond her eminent husband Greg's foot, she saw this beast on their window screen.


It was half the size of my palm - the biggest moth I've seen here since a Luna when we moved in," she emails. A Luna! Oh lucky America! Well, I've no doubt that it's a hawk moth of some kind, but does any Sphingidae expert know which one?


worm said...

I've been googlewhacking and it's a dark photo! but I'd hazard a totally random guess at Ceratomia undulosa – the Waved Sphinx Moth..I am sure I am totally wrong! I never realised that the Yanks had so many species of hawkmoth! (although it was gratifying to see that many of them are quite brown)

sarah meredith said...

Hi Martin - It is so gratifying to have gained a little notice in the British mothisphere with my photo of the monster moth that was here the other night and Greg is - rightly - proud to have his foot featured. I love the idea of a "hawkmoth" and that name seems very suitable for this creature. It was a little scary! But not nearly as scary as our July 3rd event when, in the middle of a teeming storm, our house was struck by lightening! I think that the sound - a crack like nothing I have ever heard - has chased all the moths away except for what I now know are the pretty little carpets who seem to be immune to the violent swings of weather up here in dairy country. xxs

John said...

I just went through the plates at the Moth Photographers Group, and I agree with Waved Sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa). Here are a couple links with more information on the moth: MPG and BugGuide. MPG is currently the best site for finding IDs of U.S. moths. It's a very nice moth – one I've never seen.

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

There are a lot of hawks here thats for sure. Our friends in northern North Carolina, just over the state line and adjoining the wonderfully named Great Dismal Swamp are much blessed with Virginia Creeper Sphinx around dusk in the warm summer evenings. Mind you they're also cursed with mosquitoes you wouldnt believe!

MartinWainwright said...

Hey, thanks everybody, that's terrific - and Sarah I hope it's some small consolation for the house being struck by lightning.. V much hope all well.

I once went to one of those extraordinary Somerset cider pubs where the landlady brings a jug of evil potions from her kitchen and among the somnolent regulars was a man with a great scar down his face who the others called Lightning because he'd been struck - himself personally, not his house.

So, a BIG thank you to one and all. And Banished, I hope to live to see the Great Dismal Swamp

warm wishes


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

I have to admit Martin.. I haven't yet made it into the Great Dismal Swamp. The problem with the Great Dismal Swamp is that the time you'd MOST want to be in the GDS is exactly when you REALLY don't want to be there.