Thursday, 4 July 2013

Officially beautiful


Only ten of the UK's moths have the word 'beautiful' added to their names and here is one of them: the Beautiful Hook-tip. It deserves the title, partly because its nearest relatives are mostly dull brown, albeit curiously-shaped (like the Snout); and partly because of the subtlety of its wing colouring and patterns.

Here they are closer up. the concentration at the hooked tips appealing to me particularly. You need to look closely as I found when examining the trap. The moth was sitting quietly on the outside of the transparent shield and I almost missed it.

Its caterpillars have an unusual diet: lichen, about which I learned a great deal from a lecture last year to the Leeds Phil & Lit of which Penny was a distinguished committee member. Mark Seaward, an international authority on the subject, described his various ploys to get at lichen. Once when examining a garden wall, he was confronted by the householder whom he quick-wittedly told that he was from the Government which was conducting a survey of local walls and their stability. "If you don't hear any more from us," he told her, "you can assume that everything is in good order."

Other arrivals overnight include this Smoky Wainscot above (Update: sorry, it's a Shoulder=striped Wainscot; many thanks Dave. See his Comment for interesting point about hook-tips too) and the very pretty Miller Moth below. It does rather look as though it has been working with bags of flour.

Finally, as dour old Murray and his much more appealing Spanish opponent Verdasco battled away, so did these two pigeons on our local telegraph lines in my little film below, which I hope works on your computer. They made such a racket that I stopped weeding our beetroot and went over to investigate. Is it male rivalry? Or passionate love? Does anyone know what they are up to?


David Shenton said...

Another lovely set of moths.

The BHT is great, and you can see why it was given the same name as many of the superficially similar looking Drepanidae, when it actually sits in a family that appears to be made up of a wide variety of odds-and-sods, the Ophiderinae.

Your Wainscot is Shoulder-striped.



MartinWainwright said...

Thanks v much Dave - interesting point about the Hook-tips too

And much obliged for the Wainscot correction - quick work! Will update now

all warmest wishes