Thursday, 4 August 2011

Tooth, claw and sting

This looks like a clip from Spartacus, and certainly the life of insects in our tranquil-looking garden is anything but peaceful. Something has gone amiss with the wasp in the foreground and its relative clearly sees it as one thing only. Food. The pair were oblivious to the possibility of a greater doom: mutually assured destruction from my large shoes. On this occasion, I forbore. After all, they had provided me with an interesting picture and experience.

It's a bad day, I'm afraid, for those who shudder at creepy-crawlies. We had some small cousins here, running riot, and they directed me to this prettily-patterned spider. Actually it was interesting that none of them had the slightest fear or worry about spiders. With luck, Charlie's Web has triumphed over Arachnophobia. Mind you, our Australian visitors had some interesting things to say about their spiders. Arachnophobia is a bit more understandable there.

Finally, this Peacock fluttered into the house from the warm weather outside and flew very daintily around. At one point, I crawled under a desk and between two boxes of stuff to try to get a picture. I was very impressed at how slowly and carefully the butterfly navigated around narrow spaces, like that episode in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker flies right into the Death Star, except at a fraction of the speed. I wonder if it recognises that great scientist Dorothy Hodgkin who spent much of her retirement at York university.


Iain Chambers said...

wow... that peacock is a lovely looking moth, Martin...

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Iain - good to hear from you - hope you are well and with multifarious radio progs in the pipeline

It's interesting, the Peacock; it's actually a butterfly, not a moth, as you'd realise when you saw its wings open. The top wings are a blaze of colour with four blue eyes on a maroon background (hence the name). The underwing is extraordinarily different but very good camouflage. Same goes for the Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and a few other butters.

Have you seen today's Guardian Quick Crossword, specially 2 Down. Check out tomorrow's post...

All v best as ever


Cyren said...

I wish we had Peacock butterflies where I come from. They're one of the most beautiful of the 'common' butterflies in Europe in my opinion. We do have Peacock Pansies though, pretty too... but the Peacock has more colour, I think. :)

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Cyren - great to hear from Kuala Lumpur. I am enjoying your blog now - (sorry don't know how to turn that into an automatic link...age...)

Thanks for the Peacock Pansy too - I just checked it out on Google Image. I agree with you, though, that our common-and-garden Peacock has the edge. It is a really beautiful butterfly. Are you familiar with the Red Admiral? That's lovely too and also common - I'll hope to get a pic of one up soon.

As you probably know, it has nothing to do with the Royal Navy or the sea. Admiral is a contraction of 'admirable', and admirable it surely is.

Warm wishes