Moth hunting

As the wind got up the other day I noticed something brightly coloured flouncing about against the glass as I shut my firedoor; I assumed it was a piece of litter or other detritus but I was surprised to see it move about on its own accord. It turned out to be a butterfly or moth of some sort and I had no idea what particular type it was. It settled on the concrete outside the door and being overly excited by its unusual appearance I raced to my camera and poked it up against the glass.

Hello Mister Moth


What the hell is this I pondered, the colours seeming so out of place for my damp little corner of the world, but the urge to find out quickly slipped my mind. This evening however I was spurred into action by the reappearance of the exotic creature on the wall outside the firedoor. I was confused- Brightly coloured like a butterfly with unfeathery antennae but wings that closed on top of each other like a moth.

Wikipedia – Differences between butterflies and moths

In my head the Cinnabar moth came to mind – I know that they’re black and red – This didn’t seem to fit the bill though as it was bigger and had white on it that I didn’t remember Cinnabars having. A bit of trawling through the butterflies and moths of the British Isles led me to the Scarlet Tiger Moth, Callimorpha dominula. Bingo.

I feel lucky and privileged to have seen my little colourful friend; only one generation is produced each year. It is somehow appropriate that it is outside my room, given how it “occupies damp areas such as fens, marshes, river banks, as well as rocky cliffs near the sea.” Or at least the damp bit :)

There’s a drool-worthy programme on BBC2 at the moment about the flora, fauna, peoples and cultures of the the South Pacific; in it I discovered that there is such thing as carnivorous caterpillars. They hang around in the leaf canopy pretending to be twigs and then BLAM! they snap onto the poor oblivious fruit fly that has wandered over it and munch away. Bizarre-o.

As I was typing to MW#1 this evening about my new black and red friend I discovered that he has The Fear of butterflies and moths; interestingly Leia Ewok Village is similarly troubled, and I have had to hunt down and “dispose of” a fair few errant moths who made the fatal mistake of fluttering into Leia’s vicinity.

Mottephobia is a fear of moths, Lepidophobia a fear of butterflies and Lepidopterophobia a fear of both. Apparently.

It is awesome to be human!

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