Friday, 29 July 2011

Show a leg

I often forget that moths' legs can be helpful in identification, for example in my muddle the other day over the Dingy and Buff Footmen. The Dingy has dainty little pins whereas the Buff has sturdy calves of the sort which (she says) first attracted Penny to me.

Moths' legs are interesting too. It must be exhilarating to have six for a start, and they come with all manner of spurs and hairs to assist perching (possibly) and mating (definitely). But they tend to remain hidden. Like the Victorians who allegedly went to the lengths of covering table legs in the most puritanical households, moths wrap their wings over their undercarriage. So this Spectacle is a saucy exception.

The second picture shows it from the side, with its distinctive quiff; one of the most regular of all my visitors. It was the very first moth I showed on this blog when I started light-trapping in June 2008. Here's a picture I took then, showing more clearly the reason for its name (and, if you look carefully, a Mona Lisa hint of a smile).


Bennyboymothman said...

Hehe, he needs a shave also! They've had a really bad year in the South-East, Dark Spectacle i've not seen at all!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Ben!

I'd completely forgotten about the Dark Spectacle. They must have all abandoned the SE and come up here to get away from traffic jams

all v best as always


Moth Newbee said...

Thank you for settling a discussion between my friend and I about the number of legs on a moth. We were delighted to hear that it was six! Making me correct :-) Bet it takes them ages to shave their legs (and get the correct denier of tights!) or maybe they should wax, like the Bees ;-) Seriously though great Moth work!