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22 June 2013

22 June 2013 – Flaunting its Colors.

The Small Phoenix (Ecliptopera silaceata) has been sighted at Shandy Hall before. It was the very first moth Patrick pointed out to me on one of our trapping mornings. He was definitely excited to see it. The Small Phoenix’s coloration and pattern are a marvel, especially against the contrasting color of the blue power strip that it is resting upon. I’m not sure what this moth was thinking though – that blue was definitely not helping it camouflage itself from the birds!

Small Phoenix (Ecliptopera silaceata)

The naming of the Small Phoenix is slightly confusing. There are two interpretations of the genus name ecliptopera. The first comes from the Greek and is made by Warren. Ekleipo ‘to fail, be wanting’ and ops or opos ‘the face’ refer to the ‘face not rounded but obliquely flat, the lower part produced into a short point.’ Warren, however, did not include the Small Phoenix in his classification of the genus. The second interpretation comes from Latin and is made by Macleod. Eclipes ‘deficient’ and peras ‘tip’ describe the blunt end of the forewing. However, peras means an end in time or objective, not an end to a place. Sil in Latin is a kind of yellowish earth or yellow ochre, and silaceus having the color of sil, which can be seen in the upper middle and lower parts of the wing.

– Post by Jane Wu