JERSEY TIGER MOTH, DORSET
It’s been a remarkably mothy summer. Our interest in moths mainly centres on ‘clothes’ moths, detection, prevention and termination thereof. Suddenly, there are moths I’ve neither seen nor heard of before. MAGPIE MOTH. DRINKER MOTH. And now, on the hyssop last Sunday, a Delta-winged Stealth Moth. It wasn’t in our (basic) book, but a quick online search revealed it to be a Jersey Tiger Moth Euplagia quadripunctaria. UK MOTHS has this to say:
“One of the most attractive of the Tiger moths, this species was until recently restricted in distribution to the Channel Islands and parts of the south coast . On the mainland it is commonest in south Devon, but colonies have recently appeared in Dorset and the Isle of Wight, and it has also been found in other southern counties. It now seems to be expanding its range quite quickly. There is also a thriving population in parts of London, but whether this is due to range expansion or the result of accidental introduction is still unclear. It flies both in the daytime, when it can be found feeding on various flowers, as well as at night, when it is attracted to light. The main flight period is July to September. The hairy larvae feed on a range of herbaceous plants including nettle (Urtica).”
I never got a shot of the full glory of this moth – indeed I had no idea what to expect. Courtesy of wiki, I now realise that beneath the black and white the moth was bright orange.
DRINKER MOTH Euthrix potatoria
I’ve recently posted images of a moth I have never previously seen / noticed MAGPIE MOTH. Here’s another one that’s new to me – the endearingly alcohol-suggestive ‘Drinker Moth’. I thought at first it was an Oak Eggar moth, until I checked the ID. In some positions it looks more like a tiny mammal – check out those little feet (photo 2), and furry tail (photo 7)… I rescued it from inside the house and took it outside. It didn’t much care for being on a sheet of paper and dropped to the ground, where it fluttered round rather feebly. In the end I put it on a flower to avoid inadvertent underfoot tragedy.
MAGPIE MOTH Abraxas grossulariata
This is an insect I had never knowingly heard of or seen until last weekend when it turned up in the kitchen. The species was once prized by collectors for its marking and colouring, apparently. They like currant and gooseberry bushes. And unwisely flying into kitchens. It’s also the first time I’ve seen or heard the word ‘Abraxas’ other than in the context of Santana’s 2nd album (1970), with its (at the time) controversial cover (Mati Klarwein’s ‘Annunciation’).