Monday, 4 May 2009

The Eyes have it.

After a small burst of activity around the 10th of April mothing has been very slow, probably because the nights have been cold here, despite the mainly fine days.

Last night was no different, with very few moths, but there was this beautiful Eyed Hawk-moth. When you first see one at rest it isn't very striking, although the velvety quality of the top of the head is striking.

But if you tickle it's antennae so that it thinks it is being threatened it immediately spreads it's wings to show the prominent eye pattern on each wing. I'm not sure but I think this has two functions. First it looks almost like the face of a small owl and this in itself might be enough to frighten off a potential adversary and secondly it it is still attacked the lightlyhood is that it is these false eyed that will be attacked and the vulnerable body will be left untouched. As tonight is again forecast to be cold I doubt if there will be many moths tomorrow.

2 comments:

Greenfingers said...

Beautiful moth and great photographs, capturing a fascinating aspect of insect behaviour.

Warren Baker said...

Must remember that one tony. Tickle the antennea!!