Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Flying Prawn

"It's a prawn!" said Penny, when I took her this moth as part of our wedding anniversary celebrations (goodness, is it really Ruby next year? Yes). She was accurate in her description. Although the colour and pattern of the Pine Beauty are delightful, they and the resting position are definitely prawn-like. Mind you, I love prawns, so the description is entirely in the moth's favour.

I had to wait for our move from Yorkshire to Oxfordshire to see this moth in my own trap, although they are widespread in the North of England and Scotland and I came across one when making a radio programme about moths in pine-rich Forestry Commission woodland beneath the Whietstonecliff escarpment in North Yorkshire. Pine enthusiasts are ambivalent about the insect, however pretty, as its caterpillars have a healthy appetite. But with the exception of major pest damage when a tree called the North American Lodgepole Pine was introduced on poor soils in Scotland, it has been pretty well-behaved.

My second moth today has also led me a geographical dance. I first saw the Small Dusty Wave for definite on a wall in Bloomsbury, London. Yesterday morning, I found one slumbering on one of our windows here. It is tiny and often mistaken for a pug moth initially, an assumption which I made. But it has a lovely, gentle appearance which deserves the word 'dusty'. I hope that it feels at home here and starts a family.

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