Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What's in a name?

Two days ago, I was discussing differences in the Dagger moths' sexual equipment. Today I am on the safer ground of the insects' nomenclature. The men and women who gave our UK moths their English names were an excellently imaginative bunch, but sometimes they erred on the side of literal descriptions.

Thus, alongside the Peach Blossom and the Gold Spangle, we have the Lead-coloured Drab and the Small Dusty Wave. One of my favourites, or rather two of them, are another literal couple - that confusing pair: the Bright-line Brown-eye and the Brown-line Bright-eye.

We have already had the former this year - here it is again below with its toothy marks - but my top picture shows the latter, freshly arrived with the July sun. The timing of the two moths' different seasons is worth knowing because the Bright-line Brown-eye is occasionally a pest on tomatoes and I am carefully tending two bushes of these.

The two moths are not near relatives either but the Brown-line Bright-eye is a close cousin of the similarly-looking Clay which I showed here the other day.

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