Thursday, 13 June 2013

All a blur

Yesterday saw a spectacular example of deterrent camouflage in the Eyed Hawkmoth. Here's one of its companions in the trap, a Scorched Wing, which uses a different kind - disorientating patterns which disguise its shape and muddle the potential hunter.

The USS West Mahomet painted in dazzle - thanks Wikipedia
The process was made famous during the First World War when Lieutenant Commander Norman Wilkinson persuaded the Admiralty to paint some of its fleet pink and pale blue as well as a stack of black and white zigzags. At a time when there was no radar and crews maintained watch from the bridge or crow's nests high on masts, the patterns broke up the familiar outlines of warships.

Bridget Riley & Co did the same thing with Op (for optical) Art paintings which had my eyes defocussing as a teenager, although I am the proud owner of an Op Art tie. I find the same thing with the remarkable patterning of the Scorched Wing. I cannot decide whether pictures of it, including my ones here, are slightly blurred or whether that's the effect of the camouflage.

I have a pile of other moths to catch up on and here is just one for now. As so often, I am umming and erring. Could it be an Oblique Carpet?


David Shenton said...

Another great post, Martin.

Agree with your ID of Oblique Carpet, a great moth to get in the garden. Do you know of its status in your area?


Martin Wainwright said...

Goodness Dave!

Am I really right?

This is (almost) a first. I think your methods of education are bearing fruit.

I just checked data on the very good Upper Thames Butterfly Conservation site and the Oblique C was last recorded in 2010 and before that in 2008, in both years at this time in June

all v best