Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Handheld moths

Children and moths are a pretty reliable combination in my experience and so it proved on Monday when three young cousins came to stay. A Poplar and an Elephant Hawk proved largely docile - indeed in the Poplar's case quite interested in exploring one of the children, working its way up from his arm to his ear - see below:

Children seem to know a lot more about the natural world than we did, too, mostly through the internet and school but with a fair amount of practical experience as well. This family had just had a happy time in the butterfly house at Birmingham's botanical gardens in Edgbaston and were full of information about the various species and their engaging life cycle.

The moths put on a good performance with that lovely creature the Black Arches the star, in my opinion. Here it is:

Its zebra pattern provided the opportunity for a chat about dazzle camouflage and the advantages of breaking up the shape of anything which wants to hide. 

A Swallow Prominent meanwhile perched in its familiar crouch on a wheelbarrow handle (above), so skilfully that it looked at a casual glance like part of the curving metal. But the young entomologists caught up with it and got busy with their photo-phones.

There was also this nice Thorn - August or September I think; alas I do not have the skills to tell them apart. Meanwhile my backlog of IDs to do mounts up and I must do one of those rather tedious posts soon, showing all the ones whose identities defy me.

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