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22 June 2014

21 June 2014 – Dainty Warrior

Fenland Pearl (Phylctaenia perlucidalis)

There was quite a ‘moth festival’ at Shandy Hall on Friday evening.  Dr Dave Chesmore was here, along with visitors from villages near and far, to examine the trap from the night before.  He was quick to point out a new species amongst our catch.  A Fenland Pearl (Phylctaenia perlucidalis) made its debut in the gardens.  Because Fenland Pearls are mainly recorded in the coastal regions of south-east England, it is surprising to find one here in Coxwold.

The moth is appropriately named.  Its wings display a muted grey colour; elegant wavy patterns decorate the outer edge of its wings.  It is not difficult to associate this silvery moth to a precious pearl buried in a watery marsh.  The scientific name, perlucidalis, means ‘light’ or ‘brightness’.  Indeed, its wings are thin and translucent – they filter sunlight beautifully. 

However, the Fenland Pearl’s flimsy appearance is somewhat misleading.  It is thought to feed on a variety of thistle.  Thistles are perhaps the most resilient plants in the farm fields nearby.  Their sharp prickles protect them from even the thick-skinned herbivores on the farms. Ironically they are no match for this delicate moth.  Under its dainty wings, the Fenland Pearl is a hardy warrior.

Moth evening at Shandy Hall

Post by Bowen Chang