Saturday, 4 July 2015


When I was a young journalist on the Bath Evening Chronicle, I was lucky enough to go on Ethiopian Airlines' inaugural flight from London to Addis Ababa. This was in the last days of the famous Emperor Haile Selassie and I partly got to go because he had spent his wartime exile in Bath and remained very fond of the city (which has always returned the compliment).

I was also the only reporter on the paper who had a yellow fever vaccination, because of a gap year spent teaching in Zimbabwe, and the flight required both this and smallpox immunisation. Because in those days you could not have any other injection within six weeks of the yellow fever one, more senior colleagues were ruled out (and I was saved from any jealous recriminations).

It was a great trip and I specially remember discovering a 'poor school' run by a very bright young teacher right next to the top public school which taught the country's then elite. They were given the 'posh' boys' leftovers and were issued with cards saying 'Scrapeaters'.  Two other journalists on the trip, from the Sunday Times and Daily Mail, tried hard to get the details out of me, but I managed to frustrate them.

I tell you all this because I don't - yet - know anything about the two scraps of mini-moth shown here. I hope I will soon, either through my own efforts or thanks to the help of kindly, expert commentors.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

You seem to have been to many interesting places over the years, I wonder if a local newspaper would send a correspondent to Ethiopia nowadays, they'd probably just get the story over the internet!

I think your first moth might be a micro in the Pyralidae section called Endotricha flammealis, not something from the Geometridae, which was my first port of call!

The second one as you know is regarded as in need of dissection to be sure, however, as I like to have a guess, I'm thinking Scoparia pyralella personally.

The third one I was unable to match, but felt it could be either a Tortrix or Oak Nycteoline from the macro book. As I say I couldn't find one that looks like it, but purely from the wingshape I'm thinking Large Fruit-tree Tortrix.

Hopefully one of your experts is about!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there again and many thanks as always

I've been lucky indeed in my job and the places and people I've seen as a result. You are right about local (and often national) papers and leaving the office, sadly. Mind you, my amazing trip to Haile Selassie-land waspaid for Ethiopian Airlines for whom I've felt a great affection ever since. I still remember the air hostesses trying to persuade us of the delights of the staple food, enjera ( a sort of flour pancake) and wat (a very spicy sauce, which served to disguiae the fact that enjera doesn't taste of anything)

Thanks very much for those IDs, specially the first. I'm still puzzling over the last but think that you may well be right (as so often)

Apols for the delay but all is explained in my most recent post

all warm wishes and thanks as ever


Trent Duval said...

I'd plump for a male Red-barred Tortrix, Ditula angustiorana for the bottom moth. Cheers

Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks very much Trent. I think that's a good bet. All warm wishes. Martin