Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Normal life again

From the sublime to the very tiny: back to the world of moths with a gentle bump. Here are a couple of micros whose patterns play contrasting games with abrupt divisions of colour: one split roughly 2:1 between dark and light; I think it's a Marbled Orchard Tortrix. The other with a well-defined blotch of white on its dark back.

Taken together, these abrupt contrasts form useful camouflage in breaking up the insect's shape. This is the principle behind dazzle camouflage which initially appeared to the Royal Navy and others to draw attention to a ship. "Painting her pink!" you can hear them stuttering. But doing just that, alongside other unexpected colours in curious and very unmilitary colours, enabled quite large ships to melt into distant horizons.

I am not sure about the identity of the second moth because I have photographed it from above, while my micro Bible shows most of them from the side. A number of candidates are in contention and I will decide soon (unless an expert commentor does it for me). I thought it might be Epinotia crenana but that's described as rare.

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