Saturday, 23 May 2015

Carpet world

Suddenly it's busy.  Temperatures have risen and the rain has stayed away and that all means perfection for May moths. And for me, though the timing of my morning routines has become more complicated. I need to haul myself out of bed a little earlier to get both moths and morning tea done in time.

The first thing I noticed this morning was the number of different Carpet moths, which account for my first four photographs. Named because their delicate patterns reminded 18th century entomologists of the carpets arriving as something of a novelty from the Middle and Far East, these little moths are often nervy and flutter away when I lift the trap's transparent lid.

I need help with identifying the first, beautifully soft grey one - could it be an Early Tooth-striped? -  but I'm sure that the second is a Garden Carpet and I think the third is a Twin-spot Carpet. Sorry to be so hopeless but I stare at Richard Lewington's beautiful paintings in the Moth Bible until I am giddy, yet still cannot nail so many species. Ah me.

I do, however, know that the next moth, above, is that lovely little scrap, the Clouded Silver, and the one below, which privately I call the Bird Poo Moth, is a Chinese Character, a curiously-shaped insect which reminds me of the counters representing ten armies in old versions of the board game Risk.

Next in this long and diverse parade comes a dainty Small White Wave, I think - below:


and after that - below - what I believe to be a Treble-bar. Update: Silly me. This is the large micro Garden Pebble (Evergestis forficalis) which came at the same time last year.

Then here's the Fag-end Moth, properly known as the Flame, which has been known to fly into entomologists' ears during light-trap inspections or vigils at night (not a habit of mine) and after him or her, a Shears, a Waved Umber, a Knot Grass (I think) and a Bright-line, Brown-eye.

Finally in the moth section of this compendious post (ARACHNOPHOBIA WARNING - a spider is coming. AND a hornet), here are a couple of neat little micro moths which I will sort out later.

A good collection, then - and there were plenty of others already featured in previous posts, such as an iron Prominent, a Brimstone Moth, more than a dozen common Swifts and several Flame Shoulders. But on to the spider and hornet.

I was digging weeds out of the veg patch when I saw the spider, quite an ordinary-looking one but scuttling away from my trowel which had unearthed it with what initially looked like a Mint Imperial.  Googling such phrases as 'spider with white ball' establishes that this is an egg sac, probably containing at least 100 eggs. One of the entertaining things about the internet is the way it links articles to supposedly related products and because this one referred to spiders moulting and shedding their skin, the ad link was to 'the best 2015 products for tightening loose, sagging face skin.'

I am happy with my face skin and indeed my wrinkles are said to give me kindly eyes; an advantage of age. My venerable years also left me unafraid when, cutting grass a little later, I disturbed this extremely large hornet with that evil-looking head borrowed by hundreds of creators of space aliens. It is now an ex-hornet, I am afraid. Pensioners rule!

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