Thursday, 18 July 2013

Il Gattopardo

A handsome new arrival in the trap this morning as operations resumed post-Penny's birthday: a Leopard Moth, which is common in most of the UK although I haven't seen one before. It's much smaller than the Puss Moth but shares the latter's op-art patterning, although with more of a nod to everyone's favourite animal, the Panda, than the Leopard. In my view, anyway.

Whoever we nod to, the Leopard was deep in the Land of Nod this morning, like most of the bigger moths which arrive here. It remained undisturbed either by me or by an intrepid beetle which ambled along its back from head to tail while I was taking photographs.

Leaving the head...

...and reaching the tail. Is this a day return? No, the about-turn is the result of my snapping the moth from the other side

The Leopard isn't everyone's favourite, however. It can appear in very large numbers in fruit-growing areas where its caterpillars may be ranked a pest. Update: Penny has woken up now, aided by my early morning tea service, and suggests it should be renamed the Dalmatian Moth.

I was sent this picture of a Leopard Moth on a balcony in Spain two years ago by a reader, J-P Stacey, and in my bumbling way initially identified it as a Puss Moth. I must be honest and admit that the Puss Moth page in Waring, Townsend & Lewington was the first I turned to this morning but only because I wondered if this moth was one of the PM's smaller relatives, the Kitten moths. I am learning, see. Slowly.

My title comes from the famous book by Tomasi di Lampedusa which is well worth reading in spite of its maybe intimidating status as a literary classic. This is especially the case if you have had the good fortune to visit Sicily. A propos of that, our scorching weather in the UK at the moment is increasingly giving the country a Sicilian look - the usually green grass turning the colour of honey and everyone drowsily slowing down.

In conclusion, here is a real Leopard for you to ponder the comparison. It comes courtesy of an interesting website on dream interpretation which has this to say, should you ever dream about leopards:

If in a dream you watch behavior of a leopard, in real life you should show remarkable patience to wait a right moment for the implementation your plans. If you see the dream that the leopard snatched on you, you should be ready to make a slip which helps your enemies against you. If you came the winner after fight with a leopard, in reality you can overcome any arisen difficulties.

I looked for an explanation about a moth dream (something I've never had, so far as I know) but there wasn't one. However, here is the explanation if butterflies appear in your mind at night, to end on a cheerful note:

If you see the dream with butterflies - a good omen. The butterfly flitting in a dream among flowers and a green grass, means wealth and prosperity. If you see the dream with many butterflies means receiving news from absent friends. For the young woman the similar dream foretells love which will come to the end with a happy marriage.


Countryside Tales said...

LOVE that Leopard moth, I haven't seen one before. I seem to dream of moths constantly at the moment, but this may be because when we wake up there are invariably a few perched on the wall above my head which presumably means they've been bumbling past my ear while I slept!

MartinWainwright said...

Hope you get a Leopard calling. I know the thing about moths indoors. I fear that I bring some in on various parts of my pyjamas after checking the trap first thing to beat the birds to the moths...

all v best, M

lorraine mountford said...

hi found a leopard or panda moth today never seen one before im not
a bug person but was amazed by it ,I live in the midlands and thought it was a alien till I found your page....unfortunately the moth was dying and was laying eggs at the same time is this normal???I have took some photos of her my beautiful alien....

jps said...

I feel I should come clean here: I suggested in my email that it was a puss moth, which was almost certainly what led you astray.

There's a definite family resemblance, and in my own defence I should mention that we were trying to Google against the tide of my parents' computer, which was giving us everything in Spanish. It's not a huge leap from gattopardo to "puss", now, is it?

Coincidentally, The Leopard is also a track on Neon Neon's new album, Praxis Makes Perfect. It's a tidy little concept album about the colourful life of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, who among other things published Lampedusa and played basketball with Fidel Castro.

Irvin said...