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19 February 2014

18 February 2014 – New Year, New Moth

Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)

Most of the lighting in Shandy Hall is from energy-saving bulbs but the spotlight in the kitchen is old and (while it lasts) still sends forth a piercing light.  Last night two beautiful, green-tinged moths were drawn by the light to the window; one a new species and the other an early awakener.

The Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) is an appropriate name for this new addition to the list of species with its attractive, stripe-patterned and flecked wings.  When I tried to photograph it this morning I thought it had given up the ghost. It seemed lifeless with its legs tucked and crossed into its abdomen and made no response to being gently handled.  I placed it on a moss carpet and it remained completely still.  It must be dead.  However, one leg suddenly shot out from beneath its wing canopy as I was considering what to do with it – proving it’s fine and so will be released tonight.   The Latin name has changed from Apocheima pilosaria meaning the ‘shaggy coated one that flies in winter’ to Phigalia pilosaria where Phigalia is a town in Greece.  Identifying a new species to the gardens in February is a good start to the year – number 326.

The second moth that was drawn to the domestic window was a Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata).  This moth was just as freshly coloured and must have emerged from hibernation that evening.  Consulting the list of species on the wing in Yorkshire, the Red-green Carpet isn’t listed – it should still be asleep.

Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) illustration