Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Whispering sweet mothings

There should be plenty of Riband Waves here next year, judging by this contented pair which spent at least two hours in blissful union on the side of my shed. Their passion seems to have made them oblivious to moths' usual use of camouflage although the fact that they remained motionless preserved them from the many passing birds. We have a whole family of long-tailed tits in the garden, fledged this year, who give every appearance of enjoying life. They zoom around in a gang like teenagers, showing off their flying skills and twittering all the time (just like so many people these days...)

Sex isn't specially on my mind, but there is something priapic about this little chap - a pug? - who was dozing not far from the Riband Waves. I've speculated before about this curious way that some moths hold up their tails and this time I Googled. I found a Yahoo thread headed Why do moths stick their butts in the air? which has interesting info about the insects possibly (a) releasing pheremones to attract the opposite sex; and (b) emitting ultrasound 'whispers' to the same end. This led in turn to another fascinating internet page which contains the memorable lines:

Males of the Asian corn borer moth (Crambidae) were recently shown to whisper extremely low-intensity ultrasonic courtship songs close to females.

Never let anyone tell you that moths are boring - even corn-boring ones. And here's an enticing moth's-eye picture of the approach to my light trap just to round things off.


Nyctalus said...

Hi Martin - well that gets my blog post title of the year prize for starters! Nice one.
Although I'm guilty of not leaving many comments on your blog, just to say - I have been following and enjoying all your ramblings, mothy and otherwise, again this year.
Great stuff,

Bennyboymothman said...

Currant Pug Martin, odd position of the abdomen, seen it i V-pu before.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi both!

Yes I think I'm a frustrated sub-editor Allan. I'm sorry that I'm a very discourteous blog reader just cos of time. When I retire I will leave Comments everywhere like some awful sort of insect pest

Thanks v much for the identification, Ben. I wish I had your skills of observation but so long as you are in action (for ever, I hope), I will never develop them, through lazy reliance on your much-appreciated expertise.

All warm wishes