Sunday, 21 May 2017

Variations on a greyish theme

I have spent many an hour defending the UK's moths against accusations that they are small and grey or brown, a travesty when applied to such delicate creatures as the Brimstone or vivid ones like the Elephant Hawk. But today shows that the critics can be strictly correct, at least so far as the colour goes.

That said, I hope that you will agree that the patterning shown on my first two moths is exquisite, even if the colours are in the sombre part of the spectrum. I think that the first moth is a Sycamore and the second a Poplar Gray but I may need to check with the Upper Thames Moths blog experts. (Or if you are passing and know, please give me your views).

No doubt about my third moth: the famous and often-discussed-here Peppered Moth and no prizes either for identifying the Poplar Hawk below. These lovely creatures are daily arrivals in the light trap at the moment but this one flashed his, usually hidden, maroon-blotched underwings at me and I couldn't resist taking a picture.

We now move on to a section which I will need to update later today as these types of moth - sadly somewhat small and grey-brown, confuse me greatly. 

Update: I think that this is a Common Rustic. Further update: no can't be; season wrong. Am checking with Upper Thames Moths blog. Final update with many thanks to Dave Wilton of the UTM: It's a Rustic Shoulder-knot.

Update: I think a Square-spot Rustic. Further update: sam objection applies, so checking this one too. Final update with many thanks again to Dave: It and the one below are both Small Square-spots, like the second moth down which, remarkably, I actually got right. I hope you can understand my incompetence, however, when you learn that these three moths are all the same species. 

Update: ditto, I think. Further update: AND this one. Perhaps it's an Ingrailed Clay?

Update: a Small Square-spot, I believe

But I can tell you confidently that the next one, below, is a Silver Y, one of the UK's most successful immigrant moths and the first of all moths that I remember seeing. They can be common and conspicuous when flying by day, darting about to sip nectar from blackberry bushes.

Then we have a Setaceous, meaning 'bristly', Hebrew Character which has started to replace its virtual namesake, the simple Hebrew Character, in the eggboxes.  I suspect but am not sure that the 'bristly' refers to some hidden characteristic, probably in the genitalia, which isn't explained in the First edition of the Moth Bible. When I take up P's morning tea, I will see if the third edition which she has given me for my birthday is more enlightening.

So to a couple of lighter and very attractive moths: a Silver-ground Carpet and. perched on my almost equally beautiful finger, a Common Wainscot.

I must be off now to clean my trainsers, ready for a capsize test, fortunately in a local, heated swimming pool.  After an interval of 50 years, I am taking up sculling again. Let's hope that this blog doesn't come to a premature, watery conclusion.

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