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30 April 2014

30 April 2014 – Shaggy Moth for Shaggy Garden

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria)

Derek Jarman : If a garden isn’t shaggy, forget it.  The Brindled Beauty is the perfect moth for the shaggy garden as the Latin reveals – lycia : shaggy like a wolf; hirtaria : from hirtus meaning shaggy.  The moth is very furry and its wing-scales are also sprinkled delicately with gold-dust.  This male will have hatched within the last day or two and is quite a common moth in the south of England but not so many in the north.  This is the first time it has appeared in the garden (Species 333) and its arrival coincided with Waved Umbers, a Streamer, Hebrew Characters, Clouded Drabs, and a couple of Shoulder Stripes – and the micro-moth below.

(Pseudoswammerdamia combinella)

The micro-moth in the photograph was first recorded here in August 2012 but this particular specimen is so clearly and cleanly marked that it deserves a repeat entry.  Its name shows it is allied to the swammerdamia family and named after the Dutch entomologist JJ Swammerdam (1637 -1680) who was an important contributor to the understanding of moths, butterflies and their ‘metamorphic’ transformations.  Swammerdam proved the life-cycle of a moth was a series of stages of the individual rather than it changing into another state.  He became a mystic.