Friday, 31 July 2015

Philosopher's friend

Please say 'Good morning', or perhaps 'Kalimera' to the moth which might have saved Socrates, though that is stretching a point even further than I normally do. This is the Hemlock or Defoliating Hemlock or even Poison Hemlock Moth, Agonopterix alstroemeriana.

Hemlock was the poison which the Greek philosopher was obliged to drink after being found guilty of corrupting the minds of young Athenians and not believing in the city state's gods. Ever a wit, although none of his writings survive and our knowledge of him comes largely from his most brilliant disciple, Plato, he had suggested to the judge and jury that the correct sentence should be a state pension and free dinners for life. He like feasts, which also appeal to me.

If the deities of Athens, or anywhere else, had made the Defoliating Hemlock Moth a little bigger, it might have wiped out its deadly foodplant in time to save Socrates. But as you can see, it is another of our smaller-than-a-thumbnail friends, albeit very pretty when you look closely. Its botanical name is curious, given its actual foodplant. Perhaps it feeds on alstroemeria (pictured right) as well.

Here is another mini visitor, one of the paper dart-like Crambyd family. I shall guess Catoptria falsella.

And here,  think, is a handy chance to show you the Common Footman, first, followed by the spindlier Scarce Footman. As with one of Sue in Comments on Monday, these little creatures are very common among the eggboxes at the moment.

I have a number of other moths in the bag which I'm picturing for my own use, when it comes to sorting out what's been and what hasn't, at the end of the summer.

White Satin moth, with its zebra crossing breeches. My lens jammed, fortunately only temporarily


Scalloped Oak

Another mmmmm?
Wiullow Beauty, lurking on a nearby wall

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