Thursday, 12 May 2016

37 up

It's our wedding anniversary today (number in the headline) and the moths usually lay on something special. Realists might say that this is because mid-May is generally a good time in the mothy year, but I prefer to believe that they somehow know that today is special.

After all, there is the tradition of 'telling the bees' in which beekeepers always announce major news by nipping out, tapping on the hives and saying something such as: "Bees! Bees! Bees! My daughter Meg is to be married to Saul the shepherd's son."  Then the honey will flow.

Anyway, the moths duly did their bit. Last night brought the year's first hawk moth, this fine Poplar Hawk, albeit looking as if it has made a forced landing after being shot up by a Messerschmidt - note the hole in its wing. How that actually happened is an interesting puzzle. A near miss from bird strike? Or caught on a hawthorn spike while nectaring?

Another welcome newcomer was this Chocolate-tip. Apologies for the focussing but this is an excellent;y distinctive species with its particular way of resting and its perky shape. The chocolate's colouring suggests one of those rose-scented sweeties favoured in my youth by great-aunts.

I was also glad to see the trio above: a Brimstone moth, a rebuke to those who persist in thinking that moths are grey or brown,  a Pebble Prominent with its eponymous 'pebbles' and that master of camouflage, a Waved Umber (please forgive my tatty thumbnail).  And here is a sequence of three different Muslin moths, showing how their patterning varies in small but noticeable ways. It reminds me of the tiny adjustments we made at school to our uniforms to assert our individuality.

Standard type

Indistinct central black spots

Central black spots joined to form lines
These are all male Muslins in spite of their governessy, Jane Eyre cloaks. The female is a translucent white, like a faint imitation of her posh relatives the White and Buff Ermine moths. But she seldom comes to light.

Finally, an appropriately cosy image for Anniversary Day: two snug little caddis flies nestling in an eggbox, with a passing beetle giving them his (or her) best wishes.

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