24 September 2012
21 September 2012 – Moths at the Equinox
This is a perky, inquisitive moth. It seems particularly purposeful. The antennae wave gently through the air in an exploratory fashion while the tiny head moves from left to right as if possibilities are being considered and alternatives appraised. However, it was difficult to photograph. Every time the camera was ready the moth decided to change its position so a photograph of it in the collecting canister seemed to be best. From above the markings are quite clear and identification is definite – Ypsolopha sequella. The first part of the binomial refers to ‘high crested’ – the way the forewings lift at the back – but sequella just means ‘following’ or ‘the next’. For a moth with such character it seems a poor label by which to identify it. A couple of moth recording websites refer to the moth as the ‘Pied Smudge’ – which is equally poor as the markings are so clear and exact.
A wing ‘without an angle’ (Agonopterix) and a ‘sandy’ (aranella) one at that. This scrap off the beach generally hibernates from the end of October and has a single brood in the Spring. Agonopterix arenella feeds on thistles and knapweed so it is particularly welcome in the garden. It flies throughout the year and must be pretty hardy to survive the winter months – today’s post-equinoctial gale is ravaging the hollyhocks.