Saturday, 20 February 2021

A veritable horde


Sorry, I'm rather behind with this post which describes a multitude of moths, even a horde by February standards, which actually arrived on the night of the 15th/16th. I blame lockdown which - for us retired types - induces a pleasant lethargy and a feeling that there's all the time in the world. However, the children have started making initial murmurings about grandchildcare renewing in May or thereabouts, so this lotus-eating period is going to come to an end.

Anyway, the quartet of moths at the top are a welcome sight, four Small Brindled Beauties whose isosceles shape is at odds with the wider triangle formed by most regulars at this time of the year, such as the four Pale Brindled Beauties below. The Small BB is also less seldom found and has 'local' rather than 'common' status. Thank you for calling, Gents.

I say 'Gents' with confidence because the Brindled Beauty family all have flightless females. Looking like a cross between a brown ladybird and a woodlouse, they sit on tree trunks waiting for a mate, lay their eggs and die. Scientifically, this is reckoned an efficient example of natural selection as the female takes few risks and therefore tends to avoid harm. In terms of a life well-spent, however, it scores lower than the bottom of the scale.

My final moth is a Chestnut, whose dominant colouring makes a change from the Brindleds. Interestingly, it was the only moth apart from a solitary Pale Brindled Beauty which actually entered the trap and roosted in an egg box. The others were all on a wall nearby, most of them there by 11pm - when I took the torchlit photo, and all them snoozing undisturbed in the morning at 8am in spite of light drizzle.

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