Saturday, 28 August 2010

Rip van Moth

Sleepyheads this morning. A record-breaking Lesser Swallow Prominent - more on that shortly - and this dozy pair above which had no objection to posing by my teaspoon. The yellow one is, I think, an Angle-striped Sallow, a moth which has visited us before at this time of the year. Once nationally scarce, it is increasing its range southwards from strongholds around and beyond the Scottish border. Its companion is a Setaceous Hebrew Character, a moth lumbered with a particularly clumsy name. Setaceous means whiskery or bristly, neither of which obviously applies to the poor creature. The Hebrew character is more appropriate; the dark mark on the wings resembles the Hebrew letter Nun, as is the case in the otherwise unrelated (and unsetaceous) Hebrew Character moth. A couple of years ago, I photocopied the Hebrew alphabet from a dictionary and got a sleepy Setaceous Hebrew Character moth to pose by Nun. I'll try to find the date and add it here (See bottom of post for exciting PS...). Meanwhile here are the Angle-striped Sallow (above) and the SHC (right) viewed more normally, to show their full and attractive wing patterns.

The Lesser Swallow Prominent, meanwhile, is now into its 50th hour of undisturbed sleep. I wish I could manage that, although I always fall asleep during the 10pm TV news and also as soon as I lie down with my head on its side. The moth came to the trap two nights ago and has clung to the rain-shield support ever since. There is nothing to stop it flying away whenever it wants to, but the lamp at night and natural light by day are keeping it in the Land of Nod. This was it two days ago (left), and below it slumbers on towards September.

PS Here's the Setaceous Hebrew Character helpfully posing on 5th September 2008. You can read more (and it's actually quite exciting, involving a mothy encounter with the Divine) by going to

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