Friday, 11 October 2013

Playboy moth - did Hefner know?

Two posts ago, Stephen in Comments kindly identified one of my many mystery micros as Ypsolopha sequella and in the process highlighted the rabbit's head marking which shows up when the moth is at rest. Here it is, above.

I hadn't noticed this striking bit of branding, in spite of the many weird comparisons which I make on the blog between moths and alien spacecraft, bits of leaf or Laura Ashley models, and it reminded me to keep my eyes wide open and my ageing brain alert.

Having done that, it occurred to me that Ypsolopha's pattern is actually more specific than any old bunny's; it's the Playboy symbol in moth form. The magazine was the height of soft porn when I was a nipper and its bunny stood for a particular - albeit not terribly appealing - way of life.

I wonder if its creator Hugh Hefner and Ypsolopha sequella ever met. Not a question I can answer, although Hefner's batting on at the age of 87. If anyone who knows him happens to stumble across this, maybe they could ask him.

By coincidence, the State Insect of California, home of the 'Playboy Mansion' in Beverley Hills, is the California Dog-face butterfly, below, whose forewing pattern is reckoned to resemble not a rabbit but a cartoon pooch.

Many thanks to, and for my illustrations.

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