Sunday, 6 September 2009

It's not Dracula

A few more moths last night including two Feathered Gothics. The feathered comes from the nature of the males antennae, but the two I caught were females so the antennae were plain.

Feathered Gothic (Tholera decimalis)

This is one of the moths that has an intricate pattern of lines and shapes which would challenge many artists to produce something as perfect. I presume that it is this pattern that gives it the name "Gothic" as applied to the pointed arches and rib vaulting of 15th century cathedrals rather than anything to do with Gothic literature.

I like this sideways on angle, it shows of the way the lines radiate form the "shoulder" and then spread to the base of the wing, with a little arrowhead between each pair of lines. These were the first I've caught since 2005, and all six that I've had have been between Sept 3rd and 24th.

Large Thorn (Ennomos autumnaria)

The first large Thorn of the year appeared last night. This is a male and does have feathered antennae. Like several of the Thorns, this moth sits with its wings about two thirds open, forming a shallow V. It is quite variable, some having much heavier speckling than this one. It is a scarce species, occurring locally in a few counties in the south-east of England, but it is possible that this is a migrant. The caterpillars feed on a wide selection of trees.

Dusky Thorn (Ennomos fuscantaria)

A Dusky Thorn was present for comparison. It sits in much the same way but is much smaller. It has a longer flight period and I catch then from the second week of August To the third week of September. It is a much commoner moth then the Large Thorn and the larvae feed on Ash.