Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Multitudes of moths

It's been the best night of the year so far - and by far. I've counted more than 300 moths and stopped from exhaustion, putting the trap in the shed to resume later when I can find time. The riches lie not only in numbers but in variety and a range of excellent newcomers. My favourite is the Green Silver Lines, above.

This is partly because of its colour which is surprisingly infrequent among UK moths considering green's crucial role in camouflage - a point emphasised by the fact that a great many caterpillars, which lead their vulnerable lives eating leaves, plants or grass, are green. Even more mysterious is the virtual absence of blue from the UK moth population. I've aired this before and agree with commentors who suggest that it has something to do with night flying, pointing to our considerable range of vivid blue, day-flying butterflies. But I've yet to find a scientific paper on the subject.

Talking of green, a couple of catties in the Thrupp School for Emperors have now shed their previous, somewhat funeral black skins for the last time and emerged - above - with the green background which they will keep until they pupate.

Back on the moths, here for now, before I return to the trap, are some of the stars: a Scarlet Tiger, seen above from on top and then underneath (with my finger for scale) and below, a Drinker (named because its catties drink dew from the top of grass stems), a Spindle Ermine (whose catties sometimes weave those candy flosses of silk which can envelop whole trees) and three Hawk moths - Eyed, Privet and Elephant, in a neat low row like a posh restaurant's trio of puddings.


Countryside Tales said...

I only saw one Green Silver Lines last summer and would love to get another. Beautiful creatures :-)

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi CT and many apols as usual for the delay. Green moths are my favourite - I'm hoping for a Large Emerald here; had just one in Leeds - but I wish we had some blue ones too.

All warmest as ever