Wednesday, 19 February 2014

An old friend

Another singleton in the trap last night, which was very mild and saw the lamp almost obscured by a short stretch of the dreaded Leyland cypress which survives in our garden. It's a Hebrew Character, an annual visitor since I started trapping in 2005. Later in the year, they come in some numbers.

In terms of names, this is a cosmopolitan moth. Its English name derives from the resemblance of its strikingly prominent dark markings to the Hebrew letter Nun. Linnaeus added a typeface element to this by calling it Orthosia gothica.  There's another UK moth called the Setaceous (or bristly) Hebrew Character which has a similar though slightly less distinctive mark. But they are not related.

I am just old enough to remember a few copies of our Deutsches Leben textbook at school being printed in Fraktur - the German Gothic or Blackletter typeface which was inflicted on that poor country in the name of culture for a large part of the 20th century.

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