Sunday 14 April 2024

The year's first Empress

 The first of the big annual highlights took place here on Thursday night, the arrival of a female Emperor moth in the trap were she obligingly laid some eggs. Breeding Emperors and Empresses has been a regular feature of life here among the moths - three successive generations raised in past years, one of them shown in the blog's title section - but I don't have time for that at the moment. They will have to take their chance in our hawthorn hedge.

I left the Empress discreetly in the shed to see if any males would be attracted by her pheromones, a process known as 'assembling' which can draw suitors from up to a mile away. None came and I moved her to a budding hibiscus but she spent the afternoon undisturbed before clearing off.

An other favourite came the same night, spurning the eggboxes and instead taking up position on the lightbulb-holder. It's a Chocolate-tip, happily-times to cheer up a little great-niece who is recovering in hospital from a nasty infection.

Another new-for-this-year was the easily-missable thumbnail of a moth, the Least Dark Arches immediately below, followed by one of my great favourites, a Muslin moth.  I've included quite a few pictures of this deceptively modest, soft grey moth to show the riches which lie beneath its lightly-dotted cloak.

A second one came last night and two American friends who are staying with us took these excellent photos making further revelations of the patterns and colours which the Muslin usually hides. Please note my lovely finger.

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