Sunday, 2 July 2017

Pretty things

My caterpillars have been coming along nicely and I think that I can identify them at last: White Ermine's, providentially my granddaughter's favourite moth, much as she likes having hawk moths balancing on her slender fingers.

They hatched from eggs left on one of the eggboxes, as I recorded on 12 June, and made eager work of the cricket willow leaves which I guessed might suit their diet. On the assumption that they are White Ermines, I have now supplemented this with the nettle and dock leaves which the authorities say are their preferred food. I am hoping that this will be like someone reared only porridge suddenly discovering fish and chips or ice cream.

Here's one at an earlier stage and, below, the original eggs, the damage done to willow by the kindergarten and a roaming tiddler. This occasional rearing process is one of the unexpected pleasures of moth trapping. My most spectacular experience has been with Emperor moths, but all species make for an interesting time. White Ermines make their cocoons in plant debris, so I won't have to line the catties' plastic box with earth, a precaution you need to take with caterpillars which dig in before chrysalising.

One thing which you have to look out for is the introduction of other tiny forms of life when you add leaves. On almost every occasion, I have subsequently found small spiders or mites in the box. Every leaf in our garden seems to be someone's home.

 Meanwhile, I was sorting something out in our shed when a flutter at the window alerted me to a trapped Ringlet, a beautiful butterfly in spite of its mostly plain, brown dress. The eyespots are like beads of water or wine, especially when reflected in the window by the butterfly's 'ghost'. Although I am having to rely on my slightly cumbersome iPad Mini for photos at the moment, I got quite carried away.

Back on the moths, I am still clearing up a backlist from before our Borders break, and here are some of the arrivals then. Today's batch fall roughly into the dainty and pretty category. Also, sorry, a bit blurred:

Clouded Silver
Scorched Wave - extreme blurring but they don't visit often and I don't want to forget. Update: sorry, I meant Scorched Carpet. Must have been thinking of my favourite, Scorched Wing. Many thanks to Paul in Comments.
Beautiful Hook-tip - well-named, for all that it shares the Ringlet butterfly's sober hues
Mis-named Single-dotted Wave, with its many dots
And lastly, a pair of Straw Dots


Paul Hopkins said...

Hi Martin - a minor pedantic niggle: it's Scorched Carpet not Scorched Wave. Not that I've ever seen one, though I'd love to!


Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks v much Paul, you are absolutely right. I must have been carried away by thinking of the Scirched Wing, one of my all time favourites. I will put things right. Many thanks again M