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17 June 2014

17 June 2014 – King and Beggar

Purple Clay

The new addition to Shandy Hall moths came to us in the most inconspicuous way.

A Purple Clay (Diarsia brunnea) was found crouching in the cell of an egg-box this morning. The second part of its scientific name brunnea (brown, earth-colored) correlates to ‘clay’.  As its name suggests the moth is rather unassuming in appearance.  The colors of its wings are dark and indistinct, possessing neither the elegant, high-contrast patterns of the Small Magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata), nor the playful colours of the Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) – both species found in the trap as well.

However, when I observed it more closely, in the light, I noticed its concealed beauty.  It’s wings showed a glimmer of purple, the furry surface suddenly looked like fine velvet.  It reminded me of the luxurious robes of royalties of the past; purple, after all, is a regal color.

Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica)

As the Purple Clay’s kinsman, an Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica) was also recorded and photographed for the first time, albeit having been previously identified.  It had a pair of light-brown wings carrying characteristic black markings. On the whole the Ingrailed Clay appeared more ordinary.  To complete the hierarchy of the moth world, the mendica (a beggar with a drab appearance) seemed to fall somewhat below its royal kinsman.

The Purple Clay brings Shandy Hall moth number: 339.

Illustrations of: Purple Clay (above) and Ingrailed Clay (below)

Post by Bowen Chang