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2 October 2013

1 October 2013 – Moth as Muse

Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago)

Ferdinand Ochsenheimer refined the Linnaen system of classification  and gave the Frosted Orange its Latin name Gortyna flavago.  There seems to be no reason why the Cretan town of Gortyn should be selected until we learn that Ochsenheimer was an actor and playwright who used to spend his days collecting and identifying moths and butterflies.  His evenings were spent performing.  If he had had a good day in the fields his performance would sparkle. However a day devoid of lepidopteral interest would result in a reluctant and lacklustre evening at the theatre.  Gortyn was the site of a 2nd century AD Roman theatre, still visible today, so perhaps that is why Ferdinand chose it to identify this moth.  

Frosted Orange (illustration #16)

In the image above the Frosted Orange is airborne alongside a Rosy Rustic (Hydraceia micacea).  Beneath the adult moths, larvae can be seen feeding on dock or nettle – in the case of the Frosted Orange caterpillar (#17) by boring into the stem and pupating within.  A useful and beautiful moth takes the total to 318 species.