Friday, 25 July 2014


The division of UK moths into macros and micros is surprisingly unscientific. As the Micro Bible puts it, the allocation of families into one category or the other is a matter of 'custom and practice rather than rooted in taxonomy.' Essentially, families whose members are overwhelmingly very small form the country's 1,627 micro-moth species and the other 950-odd are macros, whose families are composed of bigger members. Micros tend to be more primitive than macros but that borderline is hazy and some very large macros, notably the Leopard and Goat moths, would have to be be redefined as micros if it were to be the test.

Lecture over. It was by way of introduction for one of the largest micros I have ever found in the eggboxes (above), beaten only by the familiar likes of the Mother of Pearl and Small Magpie. It is named appropriately: Schoenobius gigantella. A little giant.

In the macro world, meanwhile, the title of My Most Frequent Visitor has been seized by a beautiful contender, the Ruby Tiger. Although handsome enough on top, this reserves its real flashes of vivid red for those lucky enough to see its petticoat underwings and the scarlet of its upper body which are almost always hidden by its folded forewings. It is prepared, however, to give you a glimpse of its very fine foreleg boot-tops.

No comments: