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20 June 2014

20 June 2014 – Captain Cook Connection

(Lozotaenia forsterana)

The latest discovery in the garden is Lozotaenia forsterana or Large Ivy Tortrix or (according to Westwood & Humphreys [illustration below]) Forsters.  The name ‘Forsters’ comes from the Polish naturalist J.R. Forster (1729-98), participant on one of Capt. Cook’s voyages.  However, this moth is less exotic and eye-catching when compared to the best of the Pacific fauna Forster might have seen.  It is a micro-moth that is brown through and through, though there is a delicate lattice on the surface of the wings.  It is distinguished by the oblique (loxos) bands (tainia) on the forewings and a heart-shaped marking is prominently displayed at the center of its folded wings.

Like other tortrixes, the wings of Lozotaenia forsterana form a bulging bell shape when folded together, like the shell of a tortoise.  This humble, earth coloured moth feeds on the high-flying ivy climbing the walls and trees providing a beautiful contrast. 

(Lozotaenia forsterana) illustration 

A new species to the garden: number 340.  Let’s hope for more with Moth Night at Shandy Hall (National Garden Scheme) tonight.

Post by Bowen Chang