Monday, 8 October 2012

Warming up

I'm a bit slow to get going on these colder mornings, which are also darker and make photography tricky at the trap. That will change a bit when the clocks go back at Hallowe'en but not by much. But at least the moths are facing these problems as well.

I've just been tucked up with the Autumn issue of Butterfly, the magazine of Butterfly Conservation, excellent if misnamed because it also has plenty about moths. Two of its most vivid pictures this time are infra-red photographs of a Large Yellow Underwing and a Privet Hawk moth warming up to get ready to fly. This can take several minutes as the moths vibrate their wings in an insect equivalent of pilates, to get from the low teens in Centigrade to the late 20s which is warm enough to take off. Here's an infra-red diagram of the process from this American educational website.

Moth warming is a process also similar to propellor planes, which go through a repertoire of revs and shudders before lumbering down the runway. When it gets even colder, other wonders of Nature kick in, for example with the Winter moth whose equivalent of blood is essentially the same as anti-freeze.

Wonderful that people such as Dave Green are doing this sort of thing. His pics are in Butterfly, which I urge you to buy, but here's one above from the very good public domain website Now Public of a moth and a bat. Have you ever watched that section in A Question of Sport called 'What happened next..?'

1 comment:

snippa said...

What a remarkable photograph!