Saturday, 7 June 2014

Handlebar moth

There's no mistaking which family this little chap, or chapess, belongs to, nor is it hard for the complete moth ignoramus to guess that family's colloquial name: the Longhorns. Blessed with handlebar antennae to match any German or Frenchman's moustache, the problem these distinctive little micro-moths pose for the finders is: yes, I'm a Longhorn, but which one?

There are more than a dozen, also known as the Adelidae, and I'm going to opt for  Nemophora metallica on the basis of my closer-up picture. Sorry it's blurred but my camera cannot cope with the trap's black plastic background and when I tried to move the moth on to an eggbox, up it got and off it whirred, like one of William Heath Robinson's flying machines. Update: many thanks to Ben in Comments for putting me right, as usual. He opts for Nematopogon metaxella and he is never wrong.

There's an awful lot in the trap at the moment, so I'll just add for now some pictures of graceful Laura Ashley moths which arrived in some abundance. Above is the beautifully delicate Common White Wave which was on the underside of the transparent shield and below a Maiden's Blush followed by a Bloodvein seen from two angles. Both are excellent names, don't you think?

Finally, evidence for when Cock Robin comes to court. These are the remains of my first Light Emerald of 2014. RIP


Bennyboymothman said...

Hi Martin.
I guess I am not the only one suffering from bird predation!

Has been awful in my garden as of late.

Your Longhorn moth, with the antennae that length and the dark semi-circle mark on the forewing, this makes it Nematopogon metaxella.

All the best

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Ben!

Many thanks as ever. They're great little things aren't they. I'm surprised, though, that the moth books say so little about their most striking feature and why they have it.

Maybe they don't know?

all warm wishes - good moths at the moment; we've got friends coming today with children and a Privet Hawk has obliged me by calling.

all v best as ever and many thanks again