Sunday, 11 March 2012

How do you do?

As forecast yesterday, the planned meeting between moth and babe took place and here is the official picture, above. Both survived intact and the Oak Beauty is now at liberty somewhere (or in a bat's digestive system because moths' lives are hazardous and short). Rufus is asleep after our first baby-sitting evening for many years, which was lively but very enjoyable.

While still in thrall to this particular moth, here are some detailed pictures of it: first a close-up of that lovely patterning and second a bumblebee-like glimpse of its furry head and furled antennae. The latter shows that, like most of the OBs which come to light, this one is a male. You can make any of the pictures bigger by clicking on them once.

Elsewhere among the eggboxes, the catch was a classic collection of smaller brown and grey moths of the kind which make me dizzy as I blunder through my guide trying to tell them apart. I hope I have got them right. For all their similarities, each has a beauty of its own, even the Dark Chestnut (or possibly Small Quaker) whose extremely discreet patterning defies my photographic skills. I'm listing them here largely for my own records, but do plough on if interested.

Update: the world's kindest monitor, Ben Sale, has put me right on my initial identifications and I've added his corrections below (leaving my initial mistakes because it interests me, and maybe others, where I go wrong).

Common Quaker

Chestnut and Ingrailed Clay. No, second one is a Small Quaker.

Another Common Quaker, with different colourway. No, it's a Clouded Drab (sad name, eh).

Dark Chestnut (or is it a Small Quaker?); either way, the Cinderella of the party. Yay it is a Dark Chestnut.

Hebrew Character. The name comes from the similarity of the dark marking to the Hebrew letter Nun, as I have discussed in remarkable detail in past posts

Lead-coloured Drab. With names such as that, no wonder some people aren't interested in moths. Not that the poor LCD is very interesting (except that its acronym is the same as that for Liquid Crystal Display, maybe). Warning: this may alternatively be a Clouded Drab, which sounds scarcely more appealing. And actually, after all that, it's a Small Quaker, deceptive little beasts.

Powdered Quaker (I think; or it may be a Common one). No, it's yet another Small Quaker.

Small Quaker

An interesting one to end on. These are both Twin-spot Quakers in spite of their very different colourways. I don't know the reason for this range of variety and hope to find out. I suspect that it has something to do with camouflage and natural selection.


Bennyboymothman said...

Lovely catch Martin! particularly the two colour forms of Twin-spotted Quaker you show on your last image, one I haven't seen yet but am hoping for.
A few corrections if you don't mind me doing!

Chestnut and Ingrailed Clay = Chestnut is correct but the moth on the right is a Small Quaker.

Another Common Quaker, with different colourway = Clouded Drab.

Dark Chestnut is correct.

Your Lead-coloured Drab is another form of Small Quaker, good effort for trying though, they aren't very common.

Powdered Quaker (I think; or it may be a Common one) = is another Small Quaker, 3 weeks too early for Powdered Quaker which is about Twin-spotted Quaker in size.

Hope that helps and look forward to your next post :)

All the best

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks very much as ever Ben! I appreciate it more than I can say. Charlie Fletcher, our county recorder in West Yorkshire is my other main teacher, and T really rely on you both. My only sadness is that I don't seem to get much better as my experience trundles on. Especially where Small Quakers are concerned! Over to your excellent website now. All warm wishes, Martin