Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cue the Jaws theme

The Shark is a distinctive moth with its narrow grey wings and sleek appearance, streamlined like the fish from which it takes its name. Here, like a shark attended by a  pilot fish or remora but in this case a micro whose ID I have yet to solve, is one which visited the trap last Thursday (sorry that summer busy-ness has left me rather behind).

I say 'distinctive' for the Shark but needless to say, there is a serpent in the ID system in the form of the Chamomile Shark which is so similar that the Moth Bible has extra paintings by Richard Lewington of their slightly dissimilar wingtips.

Here below is the actual wingtip of my moth and from comparison with the paintings, I am happy that it is a Shark, a conclusion also helped by the fact that the Chamomile flies earlier in the year and is rarer. Its name comes from its caterpillars' penchant for the various Chamomile plants which include Stinking Chamomile and the related Scentless Mayweed. There is something of the Harry Potter nomenclature of bad wizards about the Cuculliinae family of moths to which the sharks belong. The others include the Wormwood, the Sprawler and the Toadflax Brocade, the last a moth which has been unusually frequent in Oxfordshire this year.

Meanwhile, the trap also attracted many other moths including this pretty Phoenix - I think; its kind are another regular source of Wainwrightian confusion.

Also a Chinese Character, seen first with a Spindle Ermine and something very micro indeed, and then from above, showing that its shape looks odd from all angles. This little button shares the Most Like A Bird-poo camouflage award with the Lime-spotted Pug.

And lastly, a nice Early Thorn, albeit actually a late one. This marks the emergence of the moth's second generation. Its parents visited back in the Spring and gave the species its name.


Bennyboymothman said...

Hi Martin
There are overlaps with the species, but only just.
Chamomile Shark is about a month earlier from my remembered records from other people. Anything now is 100% Shark.
Hope you are keeping well.
Trap has been full to the brim the last two nights with so much to sort out!


MartinWainwright said...

Hi Ben - that's very useful, thanks. Yes, all good here and I'm in the same position re the trap - lovely warm nights. I shall pop over to your blog in a mo - as should anyone else reading this

all warm wishes