Monday, 28 October 2013

Interlude Parisien; plus a dead but useful moth

Quelle vue de notre fenetre, alors!  It doesn't actually lean. That was me.

The moths have been left undisturbed for three full nights, the last of which saw us at the outer tip of St Jude's Day's reasonably great storm. Luckily this left no trace here beyond a larger number of leaves tumbling than usual and the trap would probably have survived intact, had I put it out.

City of romance
- so what's the
story here?
So it hasn't been the weather behind my long weekend. Non! C'etait a cose de notre premiere visite a Paris avec l'Eurostar. We hooked up with our pals Sarah and Greg Meredith, she the painter extraordinaire who kindly comments here from time to time, and Greg a master of intricate law and wit.

Il n'y a pas de moths a Paris; indeed, even when I Googled 'moth' and 'Paris' in advance, the best I came up with was a Tripadvisor blast at a restaurant where a moth had been found in the salad (a five star recommendation so far as I am concerned. Appropriately, the notion of us eating a moth was stood on its head at the Bateau Mouche station where the floating quay has this spooky sculpture of butterflies finishing off a tasty skull.

Back home, amid the swirls of wind and rain, the ace interior moth-spotter Penny discovered this Copper Underwing sadly dead beside a windowsill potted plant. Sadly for the moth, but happily for me, because it allowed a chance to see if it was a straightforward Copper Underwing or the slightly less common but almost identical Svensson's Copper Underwing.

As with similar 'doubles' such as the Common and Lesser Common Rustic and the Marbled and Dark Marbled Carpet, incontrovertible distinction usually means doing queasy things like anaesthetising the moth with ether or half-freezing it in the fridge and then checking out tricky detail such as claspers for holding on to female moths during sex. A dead moth conveniently allows us to avoid such measures, although rigor mortis can make wing pattern checks a challenge.

One of the differences between the two Copper Underwing species is the patterning on the underside of the underwing - again, usually very difficult to suss on a live moth because these two are among the jumpiest of all the UK species. Here's the pattern on my ex-moth, below, and Richard Lewington's paintings of the two different wing patterns from the Moth Bible.

Here's Svensson, first

And then, below, the standard Copper Underwing followed by a closer look at the real thing on my moth. My exciting orangey red arrow shows the black mark which establishes that this is not a Svensson's.  Now to await any dissenting Commentor, but I hope that I'm right.


sarah meredith said...

Hi Martin - I honestly considered poaching your photo for my morning's entry, but then felt guilty about it and also had a sneaking suspicion that you might use it yourself! Again, we are so glad you weren't badly affected by the storm - which, we believe, was called "Christian" over here, unless that was something else altogether on the news - much of the time we have no idea what they are talking about! xxs

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! Poach away, any time. Maybe you can make it look less as though it's the Leaning Tower of Paris...

Happy memories of a truly excellent stay - and yes, we got through safely before the bad winds. Our train to Bicester hit a branch shortly before arriving but seemed to flick it out of the way and all was quiet at the station, so not sure if that was the storm or a Koestlerian coincidence. It didn't hit our area at all but did quite a bit of damage by UK standards elsewhere, further south. Here they called it the St Jude's Day storm, it being his day - the patron saint of lost causes which naturally caught my former colleagues' eyes.


M & P

Countryside Tales said...

Have a look at my blog for today (Oct 30th) :-)

MartinWainwright said...

Excellent - a Merveille du Jiur I'll be bound

I have asked the Dec Moth to head for Hants

Do you use the Hants Moths' 'flying tonight' web page? It's very good

All best