Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Keeping an eye out

After a very slow start, when it seemed that the Poplar Hawk was the only one of UK moths' largest and most impressive tribe with plans to visit me this year, things have caught up rapidly. The Elephant, the Privet and now the lovely Eyed Hawk, with its famous device for frightening off predators with a quick flash of its hindwings, have all joined the 2015 guest list.

Here's a close-up, above, on the lines of a picture in a newspaper some years ago which made this part of the Eyed Hawk look like the head of a fox. That is fanciful and, as often mentioned here, we should be careful of assuming that similarities and/or camouflage which work for human eyes must also do the same for robins or mice. But the Moth Bible says that the flashing technique, usually accompanied by the moth rocking too and fro, "has been proved to deter insectivorous birds." Think back to Johnny Depp and that startling 'eye moment' in Pirates of the Caribbean, (above left) and you'll get the idea.

Meanwhile, it was good to see a smart little Flame Carpet, above, and yet another variant on the many shades of Minor moth, below, both beautifully set off by my pyjamas.

On the same lovely background, here is what I believe to be a micro from the Crambidae family, probably Eudonia mercurella though I wouldn't put money on it. Update: Nor would Dave Wilton, the arch-expert on the Upper Thames Moths blog, who reckons we need either a better specimen or the original to be absolutely sure. Which is reassuring about my ID bafflement with these little creatures, in a way.

Finally, that familiar visitor the Brimstone Moth, always welcome as a little source of light and brightness among the browns and greys. This one is unusual in that it actually entered the trap; more frequently, I find them a few feet away on the lawn or nearby foliage.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

If it's not Eudonia mercurella, could it be Scoparia pyralella?

Trent Duval said...

Eudonia lacustrata would be a strong candidate

Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks very much, both. I shall appeal to the Upper Thames Moths blog

All very best


MartinWainwright said...

And the answer there is: it's not possible to be sure, without (a) the original or (b) a better photograph because the specimen is a bit worn. Sorry! All v best M