Thursday, 12 June 2014

A choosy Dame and some burst bubblewrap!

Saturday morning I rescued a rather worn looking, female Humming-bird Hawkmoth [Macroglossum stellatarum] Moro-Sphinx from the inside of the kitchen window.

This is one I took earlier.... 2006, actually!
Their larval foodplants are bedstraws....
here we have the biggest of the lot...
Goosegrass or Cleavers [Gallium aparine]Gaillet Gratteron.
I wish it wasn't so abundant....
it pulls my young trees over....
and then buries them completely...
so I released her where there was a patch that is unlikely to get the chop in the "foreseeable".

She immediately began to lay...
it was fascinating to watch...
I thought she was feeding at first....
but it dawned quite quickly that she was hovering mainly at the unopened tips.
She would hover up and down a tip...
decide it wasn't right, or too small...
then move to another.
If it was deemed suitable, she laid an egg...
by dabbing her tail against the underside of a leaf about two inches lower...
she chose nice fat tips...
presumably with plenty of growth to come.
I will keep an eye open on that patch....

On the subject of laying eggs, the daft Fox Moths have been at it again....
laying on the edge of the door frames....

Rather like little eyes... or perhaps humbugs?


and another, an Ubu moth [Unknown because unseen], laid a batch of eggs directly on the glass...



Little round marbles...

they seemed to be doing nothing and....
as they were in full sunlight...
I thought they'd probably cooked...
and then, just as Pauline and I were going out...
I noticed each one had a black dot....
"I'll photograph that later", thought I...
on our return...
they'd almost completely hatched out.

All hatched out....


These pix give some idea of the hatching out process...
some of them crawled away...
others abseiled down the three feet on home-spun silk!

...and almost all gone!!


Now all that is left is the burst bubblewrap!!

They were leaving silk trails before they left the vicinity of the egg mass!!


7 comments:

GaynorB said...

Wonderful pics!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Fascinating...

RestlessinFrance said...

WOW... brilliant photography and an incredible natural experience or experience of nature to witness! Lucky you!

Susan said...

Bloody Goosegrass! I am covered in scratches after removing it from invading my compost heaps.

Nice baby moth photos.

Tim said...

Gaynor, C&E & RiF, thanks...
to watch...
fascinating....
Nature is...
yessss!
And the pix are down to a small camera that can focus down to 1cm and then still zoom in!!
Some catterpillars eat their egg cases as their first meal...
these have eaten some, but not all.

Susan, thanks...
and as for Goosegrass and other scratchy things...
buy yourself some some gauntlets...
or use the barbie ones...
I even wear them when mowing out in the meadow....
saves a lot of blue air and anguish.

Balled up Goosegrass makes very good, bio-degradable, non-scratch pan scourers for picnics.

The young shoots that the hawkmoth laid on...
are very nice gently steamed with butter.

The whole young shoots and not just the tips make a very nice "spinach" dahl!

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

What a super post! I've just found out what "Sticky Willy" actually is and that it is edible! I have spent a lot of time trying to eradicate it completely from the garden as I hate it but I never knew it was where the Hawk moths laid their eggs. We have masses in the garden at the moment but it must have been marvellous to see one laying eggs. Your Ibu moth photographs on glass are suberb. I love the burst bubble wrap if you had not seen the preceding photographs it would be difficult to think that caterpillars could have hatched out. Amelia

Tim said...

I'd forgotten the joys of "Sticky Willy"....
it has only just occured to me that my, and my friends, parents and grandparents had a very good way of ridding their gardens of Goosegrass...
we were actively encouraged to have Sticky Willy fights...
making it into balls heavy enough to throw at each other and make it stick.
That of course, meant that we had to hunt down all the Cleavers in the garden to gather enough to make into balls of the required weight...
clever, these adults!!