Wednesday 13 April 2011

Moths from underneath

There really should be a book about moths, aimed at those of us who see them in the comfort of our own living rooms, as they flutter against the window! The underside of the wings and body is often as subtle and delicately patterned as the upper side, though not as brightly coloured. Our latest such visitor was a female small emperor moth (pavonia pavonia, or sometimes saturnia pavonia, le petit paon de nuit). It's only the female that flies by night - she hangs about during the day, waiting for a male (day-flying) to turn up.

Female Emperor Moth

This female was particularly dim-witted, as she proceeded to deposit her eggs on the cold stone of the window mullion. She had a full range of food plants to choose from only metres away - alder and bramble to name but two, emperor moth caterpillars are not choosy. Unfortunately, the neatly glued array of eggs has already been pillaged, probably by a blue tit.

Here are the moth and the newly laid eggs.

 This isn't the only moth to have laid in an odd place.... Susan from Days on the Claise reported it here with reference to the Fox Moth [Macrothylacia rubi] le Bombyx de la ronce which seems to like doors! We've had one lay in almost the same position on one of our doors.

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