Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Carpet and cushion

Here's a Green Carpet on a mauve cushion, a textile composition in Suffragette colours, almost. Give Women Votes - Green, White, Violet. And yet here am I, not even knowing whether this moth is male or female.

You have to examine their genitalia to ascertain that and this involves either killing or freezing or temporarily anaesthetising them, none of which I wish to do. What a pretty moth, however, in spite of its small size. There were several of them in the trap last night.

Here it is again, just to illustrate the problems of moth photography, even with today's brilliant digital cameras such as my Canon Ixus. As the nights draw in and the mornings darken, the task gets that bit harder. Pictures are generally far better without flash, but we are running out of light.

Finally, I should have mentioned in yesterday's post that the caterpillar of the Centre-barred Sallow has interesting habits. It starts life in the bud of an ash leaf, contentedly eating its home in the manner of many moth larvae. When too big for this, and after the remains of the bud have uncurled, it finds a nook low down the tree in the bark and then, at dusk, nips up to feed on the nearest leaves - climbing very quickly, according to my Moth Bible. I would like to witness this.

Here is its close relative the Orange Sallow, which visited last night (and also illustrates the difficulties of photography without flash inside the bowl whose black plastic seems dark to the eye but emits strange background light to the camera). Orange Sallow caterpillars also race up trees but start life as an egg on a twig before spinning leaves together and hiding in them when young.

1 comment:

Bill Welch said...

Green Carpet males have pectinate antennae, females have not - which I didn't know until I saw one of each recently. They're in this group, if the url gets through: https://picasaweb.google.com/108993965860565189688/SpringParkInsects20120904#