Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pea or paw?

A new moth for me this morning, one of a steady flow this year which is my third summer of trapping the insects in Oxfordshire. This is a Peacock - or possibly the very similar Sharp-angled Peacock - and a very delicate moth it is too.

The name is a bit of an exaggeration if you think of a conventional Peacock bird but perhaps the christener had the famous White Peacock variety in mind.  The White Peacock is also the name of D H Lawrence's first novel, so this is a moth with claims to wider distinction and interest beyond its value to me as a novelty.

My headline is based on the more mundane fact that its most prominent marking resembles a dog's paw. Pawcock doesn't have quite the same lilt to it as a name, sadly, so Peacock I am sure it will remain. There is, incidentally, a marvellous moth found on the continent called the Great Peacock. As you can see from the photo below - many thanks to Wikipedia - it richly deserves the name.

Also new to me was this pose by a Chinese Character moth, a curious little species whose normal resting position is unique. To be banal again, it resembles a bird poo. In my picture below, you can see the delicate threads of the supposed Chinese character on both wings at once, in the grey moustache-shaped area, something I have never previously seen.


Tony Morris said...

The best distinction between Peacock and Sarp-angled Peacock is the strength of the cross bar on the underside of the moth. This is well illusrtrated in John Clifton's Conifer moths.

Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks so much Tony - that's very handy. This one never gave me a chance for an underwing look, but I'll hope for a less jittery one next time

Lovely moths, aren't they - my hasty pic doesn't do justice to the subtlety of the wing pappetrn and colours

all v best and thanks again