8 June 2021
6 June 2021 – A Show of Strength
|Chinese Character (Cilix glaucata)|
A member of the Drepanidae family of which there are nine species in the UK and eight of which are Hook-tips. This ‘odd one out’ is unmistakeable; once it has been determined that it is a moth and not a bird-dropping. When at rest the wings form a tent shape over the abdomen. The scientific name refers to Cilix, the son of the king of Cilicia and glaucata: bluish grey, the colour of the metallic scales on the fore-wings.
This Chinese Character was found on the outside of the trap where it can be seen quite often in the morning. It is a common moth and the caterpillar feeds on thorns and fruit trees.
|Mottled Pug (Eupithecea exiguata)|
Having seen and photographed a Mottled Pug before I am pretty sure that this is one. Which is a relief as pugs require an expert eye to distinguish one species from another. Apparently this moth ‘comes to light in numbers’. Perhaps it does, but not here. I wonder what those numbers are? I find the underwings are the only species that turn up in numbers.
This goblin (for the eu meaning ‘well’ and the Greek word pithekos meaning dwarf) combine with exiguata (very small) to give its scientific name. The number of sycamores in the garden may be the food source for the larvae as well as the blackthorn hedge.
|Foxglove Pug (Eupithicea pulchellata)|
This moth is a particular favourite with a subtle arrangement of colours on the wings. The Foxglove Pug (Eupithicea linarata) resisted attempts to settle on a leaf to make a sharper photograph, so I had to make do with a snap of it in a collecting tube. As the larva feeds only on foxglove flowers, especially the stamens, I will examine the ones that are just coming out to see if any hungry caterpillars are lurking inside. How they survive the onslaught of the white-tailed bees when they burrow into the flower heads in search of nectar is beyond me.
A small moth with a long scientific name, the Pseudagyrotoza conwagana glistens in the sunlight. Its name comes from pseudos: a falsehood; followed by argurotoxos: the bearer (Apollo) of the silver bow. This is an example from the earlier of the double-broods (May to August) and can be seen in gardens and hedgerows throughout the country.
|Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria)|
The Waved Umber is a strong statement of colour and design. If seen on a wooden branch it can disappear completely. The reason it is found in Shandy Hall garden is probably due to the clumps of lilac, or the garden privet (not the wild variety), or the winter jasmine all of which provide a food source for the larvae. Yorkshire seems to be about as far north as it can be found. For some reason it seems to be a display of strength.