Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Cold moths

As I write, the first sub-zero temperatures of the season are about to arrive, but moths are still arriving at light. Some, like the Red-Green Carpet moth below, are nearing the end of their season; others are about to emerge for the first time this year, and still others are emerging for their second brood of the year.

The Red-green Carpet can often be more green than the Green Carpet: this specimen hasn't got the slightest trace of red anywhere, but the diagnostic white blotch at the outer edge of the wing is just enough to convince me of its identity:

The Spruce Carpet is bivoltine: it has two generations per year. I suppose two generations increase the chance of reproduction, but it makes the moth interesting in that it can tolerate heat and cold at all stages of its lifecycle:

The Feathered Thorn, on the other hand, is most certainly a cold-weather specialist. Thorn moths are generally seen later in the year - hence the 'fallen-leaf' appearance of the wings - and this male clearly shows where the 'feathered' comes from: those antennae look very much like feathers.

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