Wednesday, 9 May 2012


The year's first Spectacle moth, showing off the reason for its name. Things are looking up, just like the moth. Warmer nights and a distant sense of summer. But the rain has come back during the course of today and there'll be no trapping tonight.

The Spectacle's markings have nothing to do with its actual eyes, but they may have developed through natural selection as a useful form of warning camouflage. The affection they prompt is a reminder of easily we sentimental humans can anthropomorphise animals. The Beatrix Potter syndrome. It's misleading in terms of how the natural world actually behaves and leads to much misunderstanding and gush. But this should be balanced by the way that animal stories lead many young people into taking a serious interest in Nature.

Enough philosophising; here is the other novelty in the trap last night. Very tiny indeed and I have no idea what it is. Update: Oh yes, I do, thanks to Dave Shenton (see Comments). It's one of the Ancylis micro-moths; he reckons A. badiana whose caterpillars eat pea leaves. 


David Shenton said...


Your unknown micro is one of the Ancylis sp - I'd say A. badiana.



MartinWainwright said...

Hi Dave - thanks so much. I am shameless with my appeals for help but I would never have been able to identify this little morsel. Much obliged! M