Saturday, 31 July 2010

Acorns and eggs.

A rather dismal, drizzly day. I caught this Oak Eggar yesterday and managed some photos today. It had been happily sitting in a pot in the fridge and very quickly warmed up and flew away once it had posed for it's picture.

Oak Eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)

The one I caught was a male. It differs from the female in having feathery antennae and being a rich brown colour. It is slightly smaller that the female, but still has a wing span of over two inches.

The females are much paler and can have a span of about three inches, making it a pretty big moth. The males are generally day fliers, and I seldom catch them, while the night flying female is a more likely to come to a light. I average about two a year and these are mostly females. Although the name is Oak Eggar, they feed on a wide variety of plants, including Hawthorn and Bramble. In the north of England development from egg to moth takes two years, while down here in the south it takes one. So why is it called and Oak Eggar? The Eggar comes from the fact that the cocoons of moths in this genus resemble an egg, and the Oak because the cocoon of this species is actually like an Acorn.

We are just beginning to get a few Painted Ladies arriving. Nothing like the early invasion last year, but there are a few about. This one landed on the path and in the wind was very reluctant to open it's wings. In many ways I think that the pattern on the underside of the wings is even more impressive than the upperside.

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