Monday, 12 October 2015

Spit and polish



I chanced on a Tweet the other day which featured a picture of the Burnished Brass moth and the message: "Whoever said moths were dull?" Hear, hear - but alas, on the glorious night of the Merveille du Jour, the most unbrassy, unburnished and, well, frankly dull Burnished Brass that I've ever seen was also in my catch.


I've posted pictures of it on the never-failing Upper Thames Moths blog where expert Dave Wilton surmises that it's suffered from getting wet. This seems the likeliest bet for the washing away of the normally lustrous glitter and glow of the reflective and refracting scales which give the moth its distinction and name.

A bit brighter, when I turned it every which way to get the light, but not much

The rest of the moth is in good condition with no signs of the ragged edges and wing-fraying which come with what amounts to old age - a few weeks on the wing - for moths. It's just the colouring; and it's so faded that I could scarcely tell that this is the form juncta, where the two major 'brassy' bits are connected by a strip, rather than aurea where they are separate. Here's what they should look like, from posts here last month:

juncta, with a snoozing friend

aurea


Posting on the UTM blog was handy too in that another of experts, Peter Hall, suggested that the time is not far distant when juncta and aurae will be classified as different species rather than forms of the same one. Another 'new' UK moth to add the 3,500 or more that we have already. Hooray!

2 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

Fascinating stuff about the colour forms of the Burnished Brass. I shall have to check and see what we've had here before. Had to leave you a comment- have just received a text from my niece (aged 10) with a pic of a moth she found on a tree at school this afternoon. She wondered what it was. A big, grey, rather plain-looking nondescript moth whose wings, sadly for them, remained closed. My moth box is definitely going out tonight as the girls are at school only a few miles from here. Roll on Clifden Nps at Romsey! :o)

Martin Wainwright said...

Exciting prospect! I hope it was a Nonpareil and that it wends your way

all warmest

M