Friday, 20 May 2016

Ruby Friday

I had a happy time chasing this beautiful moth this morning, humming the old Stones song Ruby Tuesday - with that incredibly low note on 'She would never say where she came from...' 

My quarry was a Ruby Tiger, common enough here (as it was in Leeds) but not so easy to photograph at its best. When resting, it hunches up and presents a largely dull, brown appearance - although, as always with moths, if you inspect more closely, the 'brown' turns out to be something much subtler; in this case a satiny sheen with traces of the red which account for the species' name.

Partly this is due to the relatively thin layer of scales on the forewings which allows the hidden glory of the moth, its red underwings and abdomen, to show through. In imaginative moments in the past, I have ventured in metaphor about the Folies Bergere to describe these tantalising glimpses of exotic lingerie. 

You spot them when the moth is in your hand, or eggbox, but capturing them on camera is another matter. Quite apart from the moth's reluctance to show them unless scared and on the run, my camera skills lead to the focus being baffled by the subtle distinctions between tawny, ruby and the other, pleasantly port-related, colours. I went back three times to the eggboxes, after each lot of pictures proved blurred, before finally using my iPad Mini to get the ones above. Appropriately, the green is not Astroturf or wallpaper but the iPad's case.

This was indoors and the moth rapidly warmed up and started scurrying about, as above. Eventually it took wing but fortunately returned to settle briefly on a one of our many pieces of Duplo, below, allowing me to take the picture at the top of the post.


Anonymous said...

I've found Ruby Tiger infuriating too.
I wish I'd been as patient as you, as your pictures have come out very well.

Anonymous said...

Oh and a belated Happy Birthday!

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi there and many thanks for Birthday wishes - I had a lovely time.

It was lucky that I had time to mess about with the Ruby Tiger. I keep meaning to do this with other moths but either I've got to get the early morning tea done or the insect won't play ball. The smaller and more delicate moths nearly always fluttter off (beware robins...) but it's great when it works.

all warm wishes as ever