Friday, 4 October 2013

On the buses

Like well-regulated buses, Autumn's moths are turning up in the trap and regular intervals. Here is today's, the smartly-patterned Red-line Quaker whose modest trappings, reminiscent of the Society of Friends, are given a little pzazz by the eponymous red line.

My younger sister and brother-in-law also notice that, seen from the angle in my picture, it resembles those finger puppets of mice - the two 'eyes' and the triangular shape like a mouse's head.

This moth spends three-quarters of its life cycle in a state of extreme reserve, first as a lonely little egg on a twig overwinter, then eating in purdah as a caterpillar, first in a flower bud, then in a leaftip sealed by its own silk and finally in a larger leaf treated in the same way; as a pupae it has the double shield of a cocoon made underground.  But after all this extreme caution, it then comes regularly to light as an adult moth.

I made sure that mine was tucked away beneath a bush before coming in to broadcast its image to the world. The Lord preserve it from spiders, mice and other predators.


Countryside Tales said...

A very informative post, thank you Mr Wainwright. If we continue the theme we've had all summer of your moths coming down here after visiting you then I shall know what a Red Line Quaker is, which I would not have done before. Been learning about sub-atomic particles this afternoon and my brain is aching, so simply laid-out and useful moth information is most welcome :-)

MartinWainwright said...

That's excellent -I'm delighted. Sub atomic particle physics isn't something I can help with. Yet - you're never too old to learn. I failed physical with chem O level with marks among the lowest in the UK but I've gradually developed an interest in how things work, usually by having to puzzle out to make them do so

All warm wishes