Sunday, 5 June 2016

Phew what a scorcher

I have a glut of moths. Not that I am complaining, but so many are coming to the trap now that we have really warm evenings at last, that I cannot keep up. Moreover, the days have turned wonderfully sunny too, and who wants to stay in front of a computer in those circumstances? Not me.

So let's take it a moth at a time, or so. And today's is one of my favourites: a master of camouflage whose patterning almost seems to the eye to move. Experts in 'dazzle' deceit would find it well worth their study, for it takes their notion of breaking up a shape - as in the weird Cubist-y patterns on wartime naval ships - a stage further. A broken-up pattern that doesn't stay still. The camera focuses - look at the antennae in the top picture - but cannot pin down those  wavy, subtly-coloured lines.

The moth also has the endearing and very male habit of sticking the tip of its abdomen in the air when at rest. To be exact, the males of the species do. This point is where the moth's sexual organs are and there can be little doubt about why they are doing it. In spite of the temptation, though, female Scorched Wings are seldom seen. The male comes to light traps like mine; the female never. They are only known from occasional appearances on 'sugar', the mixture of rum and treacle which is an older way of attracting moths. The rest of the time, they are thought to roost high up in trees.

I'm also including in today's instalment a pretty Brimstone butterfly, spotted on a lovely walk P and I took this morning along tree-canopied hedge paths almost choked with cow parsley. Look carefully and you'll see that someone else is watching.

No comments: