Sunday, 23 September 2012

Women on top

When we moved into our house 25 years ago - a quarter of a century, crikey - we had a blazing red and orange carpet to compensate for dark nights or days of low cloud. The current cold (but to be honest, bright) weather has brought a sudden glory of Red-green Carpets, albeit of the mothy rather than textile kind.

There were seven beautifully fresh examples in the trap this morning, much to my particular joy because in the all-but-total absence of blue from the UK moth colour palette, my favourite colour is green. Here are some pictures of four of them.

I find it interesting how either green or 'red' - actually more a russety brown - predominates depending on how you look at them - eg in the first two photos which are of the same moth. Do you remember those 'magic pictures' for children (of all ages) which played that trick, showing two different subjects, each predominantly made up of a different colour or very similar tones?

The mother rules in the Red-green Carpet family, surviving the winter by hibernating in a way which males do not. Hardy creatures! And they are getting practice at the moment on very cold nights. Look, the one below which was on the canopy rather than in the trap, actually has dew droplets on its wings.

Their life cycle might form a nice allegory for feminist writers: a moth which goes to sleep when the men are around as usual but wakes to find that she's in an all girl's world - until her eggs hatch and her briefly peaceful idyll is shattered.

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