Saturday 23 December 2023

Merry Christmas from - and to - the Moths


Here's an exciting game of Spot the Moth for what is probably going to be my final post for 2024, though - who knows - a quiet and not-too-cold spell before the New Year may persuade me to plug in one last time. Anyway, the solitary resident of the eggboxes two nights ago was an attractive and good-condition Angle Shades. Can you spot it, above? Hours of fun, or half a minute at least.

Here it is from closer too, along with its protective Santa.  The behaviour of trapped moths always interests me; many of the smaller ones flutter off as soon as they can and I have missed hundreds over the years which scarper as soon as I lift out the bulb and take the transparent cowl off the bowl. But the pudgier ones are incredibly comatose, particularly on cooler mornings.

That was the case with this Angle Shades which was originally slumbering as shown above. It woke up a little during my festive transfer and crawled the entire length of Santa but once comfortable, it settled in on the garland and was unfazed by quite strong gusts of nippy wind. It was still there at 4.30pm, unmoved, when we went to meet a train but when we got back at 5.15pm, it had taken wing. The effect of the dark, I presume.

I have not posted since before the birthday of my entomological granddaughter two weeks ago, when the moths provided a terrific display. Traditionally, they have been outstanding at recognising these significant dates. There were more than 20 December Moths in the trap and I ceremoniously exhibited quite a few of them to her on this cushion whose bright colouring lifts the rather solemn - although beautiful - livery of the moths. You can see some of them below as they were in the trap, and I've added a few close-ups to show their excellent antennae - all are males.

And I have kept the really exciting news until last. For her birthday - only her tenth - the said goddaughter received...a MOTH TRAP!  It is quite small and has a softer actinic bulb than my great lighthouse, but she should do well with it. So when this trapper moves on to the land of eternal moth bliss, he will have a successor.  Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

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