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12 August 2014

11 August 2014 – Crossing the Alps

Elephant Hawk-moth (larva)

A surprise for Sterne scholar, Helen Williams, who spotted this creature trundling across the gravel in the garden at Shandy Hall..  Only the second one I have seen and in exactly the same spot as the previous time.  We put some enchanter’s nightshade, willow herb and fuchsia into a large container (food-plants in case of hunger) and some leaves and soil which within 24 hours it had burrowed beneath.  So now the wait …

The trunk-like appearance of the caterpillar gives the moth its name.  There are plenty of the brightly coloured adults that come to the trap over the summer, so it isn’t a scarce species.

Hopefully now the trailing hem of Hurricane Bertha will have whisked off into the North Sea and we can get back to trapping.

Reducing the scale from the enormous to the scarcely visible – here is a rather attractive micro caught at the York Museum Gardens last week – Phyllonorycter harrisella or the White Oak Midget.  I’m not sure if it is the oak that is white, or the moth; or perhaps the oak is the midget.  Anyway it is a particularly stylish insect and can be seen below.

Phyllonorycter harrisella