Home > Moths > 10 August 2014 – Harbinger of Autumn

10 August 2014

10 August 2014 – Harbinger of Autumn

Scalloped Hook-tip (Falcaria lacertinaria) 

The first week of August is already behind us, which means summer is nearing its end. It might be too early yet to declare the arrival of autumn, but we’re certainly starting to see signs of fall all around us – the harvested fields and lofty hay forts, yellowing grass in the field and hairy thistledown.

The moth trap yesterday was colored with a tint of autumnal brown. Perched on the side of an egg box was a Scalloped Hook-tip (Falcaria lacertinaria). This specimen must be the second generation of the double-brooded species that appears in spring and early fall. It is immediately recognizable with its characteristic arched wings. Twin diagonal lines partition the wing surface; a central black dot looks like a period to finish a sentence. The jagged outer edges of its yellow wings are trimmed in black and resemble burnt paper from an old book, or a withered-away leaf.

The Scalloped Hook-tip is named after the reaping hook (Falcaria) that trims the harvest; it is also compared to the lizard (lacertinaria) that scurries across the dusty hay-field. It seems to embody every autumnal metaphor available. Its appearance in the trap yesterday is just a gentle reminder that we won’t have to wait long for the arrival of other autumnal species.

The Scalloped Hook-tip is moth number 354 found at Shandy Hall – and the last from me. My time at Shandy Hall is at an end…

Scalloped Hook-tip at rest
Scalloped Hook-tip (illustration)

Post by Bowen Chang (UPenn)