Friday, 28 October 2016

Sprawling amid Thorns

The other day on the Upper Thames Moths blog, that sacred text which helps to keep me on the straight and narrow, its supremo Dave Wilton noted that he was expecting the Sprawler and Feathered Thorn any day now.  They are two of the end-of-season delights which usually visit moth trappers in this part of the world about now. Lo and behold, look what greeted me this morning.

The Sprawler, above, is so-called because its caterpillar throws back its head and front quarters when surprised, in what could be considered - at a stretch - the caterpillar version of a sprawl.  I find this explanation a bit contrived and am content to feel that the moth's beautiful tweedy livery is the sort of thing worn by idle gentlemen in clubs who sprawl in armchairs.

The Feathered Thorn - actually two of them in my trap and one of the grass nearby - is named on account of the feathery antennae sported by the male. He comes to light happily but the females are more reticent and I have yet to see one.

The eggboxes also contained another Merveille du Jour, above, well-known for brining me a great sense of satisfaction, and a lovely Red-green Carpet, below.  It was joined by another one nestled on a nearby wall amid the skeletal remains of a dead ivy which look like the fossilised bones of ancient sea creatures.

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