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23 August 2012

22 August 2012 – Peaceful Kittens

Sallow Kitten (Furcula furcula)

Mugshots seem appropriate for this rather beautiful insect whose name could be taken straight from this week’s headlines. The Sallow Kitten (Furcula furcula) has been recorded once before but this is the first time it has been photographed in the garden.

Carl Clerck was an entomologist who was a contemporary of Linnaeus and he gave this moth its name (fercula meaning ‘small fork’) from the two-pronged appendage on the tail of the  caterpillar – rather like those of the Puss Moth. When this moth was persuaded to rest on an ash twig it went through a gentle ruffling routine as it settled.  A crouch, a kneading movement with the legs and then an abrupt stop as the moth appeared to almost clamp itself in position.  The Emerald moth and The Magpie both flap their wings in increasingly gentle movements as they settle – flap, flap, flap – then still.  Adjustments not dissimilar to those made by dogs and cats when they settle – round, round and slump.  Tiny behavioural movements that are astonishingly exact.