Sunday, 9 June 2013

Dropping in

I gave the trap a rest last night in gratitude for yesterday's Puss Moth; and also to find space to catch up on the rest of Friday night's arrivals. They continued the high level of interest which I'm getting from the insect inhabitants of our new home. Just as the Puss Moth was a large novelty for me, so this little character is a very small one.

Character is the word. It is a Chinese Character, a species so tiny that first I took it to be a micro-moth. To be precise, at very first I thought that it was a bird dropping - not an uncommon thing on the trap's transparent shield where birds sometimes perch and look frustratedly at the moths inside. Breakfast so near, but so far away.

While we're on bird droppings, a second arrival was this Flame moth, which also has a look of one, albeit maybe deposited after eating a bigger worm.

True to informative form, my invaluable Moth Bible says of the Chinese Character: 'When at rest, with wings held steeply over the body, it closely resembles a bird dropping.'  Mine was only about a centimetre long and I'm sorry the picture's a bit blurry, but I hope you can make out the silver Chinese-y writing in the dark patch on its folded wing which accounts for the name.  It also has the shape of those little wooden counters which represented ten armies in 'Risk!", our childhood boardgame of World Domination. It's classified as 'common' like the Puss Moth, but like the Puss Moth, I have never seen one before.

A third newcomer (for Oxford; we had them in Leeds) was the Lychnis above, which curiously repeats the pattern of last week when I misidentified a Pine Beauty as a Common Swift, only for three genuine Common Swifts to fly in four days later to console me. Three days ago, I misidentified a Shears as a Lychnis and - hey presto! - what should arrive on Friday night but two genuine Lychnises.

I'll conclude with two other, non-mothy inhabitants of the eggboxes, just to show that the moths don't have the place to themselves. Now, where are my beetle and earwig guides..?


David Shenton said...


I always try to guess the man subject of your post from the title and got it spot on today with the 'dropping' reference to Chinese Character.

More nice moths



Ray Walton said...


My proposition for your none-moths are Sexton Beetle & Female Common Earwig

Best Wishes
Ray (Stokelymort)

MartinWainwright said...

I will keep you in mind Dave - a very small return for all your expert help!

And thanks once again, Ray. You are a mine of knowledge.

All warmest wishes