Sunday, 28 June 2015

Size matters

The Grey Dagger has arrived which is always a good moment. It ought to be 'Daggers' in the plural, though. Check out how many you can see on its menacing wing patterns. This is a moth which would have been at home in Wolf Hall.

I thought of it and its relative the other day on the Underground in London, when Penny and I were queuing next to a young woman going home from a political demonstration. (How the word 'demo' transports me straight back to Uni at the end of the Sixties...)

Her poster had a cartoon of a man's...well...sorry to be coy but this is a family blog, and the slogan: 'Everyone loves a comedy *****. No-one loves austerity."  I was quite keen to pursue this issue but Penny restrained me and so I will never know the arguments on either side.

What has this to do with moths? Well, as in quite a large number of cases of very similar species, the Grey Dagger and the Dark Dagger can only be told apart by close examination of their genitalia. In the past, I have usually simply passed this information on from the Moth Bible, but the young woman on the Tube makes me contemplate the scene in Linnaeus' laboratory.  "I say, Carl," says one of the great man's assistants. "Have you seen the shape of this one?"

But I will stop there, because the Grey (or Dark) Dagger is a very fine moth and does not deserve my titters.

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