Home > Moths > 20 July 2012 – Touched by an Angel

20 July 2012

20 July 2012 – Touched by an Angel

White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla)

I am sad to say that I didn’t get to witness the arrival of our 213th species, the White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla), because I am visiting family friends in Wales. Patrick sent me a photograph which is truly breathtaking. Despite the splendor conveyed by the photograph, Patrick assures me that it doesn’t do justice to its delicate, almost ethereal appearance. The wings are like birds’ feathers, unique from any other insects I can imagine. Unfortunately, its beauty betrays it because it provides no camouflage unless it is mistaken for a feather. But I’d imagine that birds are the least likely predator to mistake a feather!

Its Latin name means ‘to carry a wing with five lobes (plumes)’. The name is also significant because Pterophorus was the first name to be added to the Linnaean nomenclature system in 1762.

My fingers are crossed that we get another White Plume Moth next week; I’d love to see one before I leave Shandy Hall.

In other news, Dr. Chesmore has informed me that yesterday’s Evergestis extimalis is in fact the only ever inland Yorkshire record for that species, and the only record besides those mentioned from Spurn Point and Teesside.

-Post by Helen Levins