A Surprise

Dear Readers, I was minding my own business drinking a cup of coffee when my husband called up to me as he was about to head out of the front door on his way to work.

“Come and see this!” he shouted. “It looks like a clothes moth on steroids”.

This, Readers, is one reason why I love him. Clearly this is not a clothes moth, but he knew I’d be interested.

“Bring your camera!” he yelled, and so I did, and what I found was this really beautiful, new-minted Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa). I took a couple of photos and then released it into one of my well-planted window boxes outside, where I hope it will be invisible to birds and will head off when darkness comes.

Angle Shades is a very common moth, but this one is very early – their flight season is normally May to June, and then August to October. The caterpillars normally pupate in soft soil, but they will use soft mortar on a wall. As our house is south-facing at the front, I wonder if the heat has encourage the moth to emerge, and maybe it pupated in the big plant pot next to the door. It also comes to light, and so maybe the light over the front door invited it in. At any rate, it is subtly beautiful, in olive-green and pink, and I love the ripple through the wings.

The caterpillars are the ubiquitous little green critters, but the broken white line along the back is helpful for identification. The foodplant doesn’t help much, as they seem to be happy to munch down on more or less anything.

It’s amazing what turns up, at any time of the day or night. And in other news, the magpies are continuing to build their nest, it’s turned very cold and so the frogs have given up on the breeding for now, and the crocuses (especially the white ones) are still in full flower. Spring is on the way, but very slowly.

2 thoughts on “A Surprise

  1. chrisswan94

    A beautiful specimen. The weather is so up and down at the moment it can be very difficult for animals and birds. This is a beautiful moth and I hope it finds shelter from the cold weather that is approaching. We have a wild patch at the bottom of our garden and don’t use any chemicals so all bugs are most welcome. I also live near a small nature reserve which is a real haven for all lepidoptera ( and me!)


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