Monday, 15 July 2013

Saint Moth


After the painted Jezebels of the last two posts, here is something completely different: a veritable bride among UK moths, possibly even a saint.

The little orange mark was only on this wing, so not I think part of the moth's colouring

The purity of the white in several species which have little or no other colouring is remarkable, considering that they fly at night. They look like ghosts in flight to the human eye, and rather obvious ones. Things are different in the optics and 'radar' of their predators, night-flying birds and bats.

Full face. I'm not sure what the little blob on the forehead is. A moth egg?

Rear end.  No yellow tail here
The first and biggest arrival in this category is a lovely White Satin Moth whose purity of outfit is only relieved by her jaunty magpie stockings. I say 'her' with more than my usual confidence because there is no sign of the large antennae which distinguish the male.



She was very sleepy and so I took the opportunity to photograph her from all sorts of angles after enticing her on an eggbox fragment from the inside of the bowl - as black as she is white - where the digital camera has issues with both the dark background and the slightly reflective nature of the plastic.


I also held her up to the blazing sun which is currently the glorious norm in olde England, to see if her clothing was at all translucent, as in the famous picture of Princess Diana as a blushing Royal fiancee.



That was all yesterday morning; today, a second White Satin came along and cosied up to a Common Emerald, both of them obligingly perching on the trap's translucent canopy - apologies that this is so grubby; I have resolved to give it a scrub later this morning. There was another one on the other side - but then I looked at it more closely and saw that it was smaller and without the black-and-white leggings.



This means, I am pretty sure, that this is a Yellow-tail, a commoner moth than the White Satin and one with a perky habit of sticking up the yellow tip of its body when at rest. Mine wasn't doing this but I hope that you can just see the tail in this final, rather striking image through the canopy from below.


Thinking back to brides and saints, it looks rather like a mediaeval or Blakeian portrayal of an angel, although maybe not an entirely good one.


4 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

These are lovely- what a find. I haven't seen a White Satin before, but I did get a Yellow Tail for the first time a couple of days ago. I was wondering "why yellow tail?" then he/ she stuck it in the air and I understood! Funnily enough I have both a Scarlet and a Garden Tiger in the box this morning, hot on the heels of seeing yours and never having had either before. Happy Days :-)

Countryside Tales said...

PS-Have put a pic of my yellow tail on my blog for you to compare, complete with tail in the air!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there - apols for the delay. Great Tiger news and I will be over for a look shortly - just swept away with birthday celebrations for Mrs W for a while...

All warm wishes, may the sun continue for ever

M

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there - apols for the delay. Great Tiger news and I will be over for a look shortly - just swept away with birthday celebrations for Mrs W for a while...

All warm wishes, may the sun continue for ever

M