Home > Moths > 27 July 2019 – Dr Johnson’s Omission

27 July 2019

27 July 2019 – Dr Johnson’s Omission

Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola)

If you had to identify a Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola) you might expect it to be a little dingier, a little dirtier, than the example photographed above.  The word ‘dingy’ seems to have originated in south-east UK where it was a dialect word ‘common in speech but not in writing’.  Dr Johnson did not recognise the word but other sources conjecture it to be a derivative of ‘dung’, with a hard ‘g’.  Normally this species of moth has a pale grey colouring to the fore-wings but it is often seen in this soft creamy-straw colour.  The caterpillar feeds on lichen and moss growing on trees.   

(Ancylis badiana)

Ancylis badiana

was quite easy to identify, the markings being consistent.  A  swooping white circle around the grey ground colour on the wings along with a series of comb-like markings on a chestnut-coloured (badiana) background.  Ancylis means ‘like a scythe or a sickle’ which I assume refers to the hook-like marking.  This moth is found all over the UK where it can be seen flying at sunrise.  The caterpillar feeds on vetches, peas and clover.

(Pyrausta purpuralis)

Pyrausta purpuralis

is not seen very often at Shandy Hall but this is probably due to the fact that it is not attracted to light.  Our UPenn intern, Gabriella gives an excellent account of its first appearance in 2018 just here

The beautiful illustration (beneath) by Andrzej Krauze shows the problem of moths and flames…

The Candle and the Moth

(used with the kind permission of Andrzej Krauze)