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1 June 2019

1 June 2019 – Twenty-plume Moth

Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)

Apologies for the murky image of the Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla). My excuse is that I had to photograph it in a plastic tube as it is almost constantly in motion – little darting runs, one after another and no settling down into a resting position.This is only the third recorded at Shandy Hall, the last sighting being in August 2013, even though it flies throughout most of the year.  Here is a link to the naming of the insect.

Tinea trinotella

Tinea trinotella

has a gnawing larval stage – hence the Tinea (‘gnawing worm’) part of the binomial.  The larva feeds on honeysuckle by making a small hole in the unopened bud and then taking up residence inside the vegetable envelope where it will stay, changing colour from yellow to red and then finally pupate.

Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda)

The Pale Tussock rests in a characteristic way with both fore-legs thrust out in front of the head and with its orange antennae sweeping back.  It is a dynamic and attractive moth that has a scientific name reflecting the fact that it is a beautiful (kallos – greek for beauty) insect arriving in (ear) the Spring. Pudibundus means modest; but it can also mean the opposite ie immodest or disgraceful with legs thrust forward in a rather shameless way.  The fact that this is the male of the species adds even more mystery to Linnaeus’s naming of the moth.  

(Aethes smeethmanniana)

This choice of only four species represents a better night for trapping.  A warmer evening encouraged the following list of moths to take flight : Buff-tip, Single-dotted Wave, Green Carpet, Silver-ground Carpet, Poplar Hawk-moth, Elephant Hawk-moth, Common Pug, Brimstone, Buff Ermine, White Ermine, Heart and Dart, Common Swift and Aethes smeethmanniana.

The last moth in the list was described by Bowen Chang (UPenn intern) a few years ago.  Follow this link to learn more.

National Gardens Scheme evening opening at Shandy Hall for moth trapping this coming Friday.