Sunday, 6 March 2011

Elementary, my dear reader

Moth identification is a dark art, and last night a famous quotation from Sherlock Holmes came to mind: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." 

My version, adapted to Moth identification, is as follows: "In March, when you have eliminated all other possible identifications, then the moth is Clouded Drab, no matter how unlike the specimen is to the usual illustrations."

Clouded Drab - Orthosia incerta

I showed my first Clouded Drab last year in April (Click here to see it), and I'm sure you'll agree there is little superficial similarity between the images. Clouded Drab feeds on many broadleaf plants as a larva.

Another timely moth is the March Moth - Alsophila aescularia, which think is a rather delicate little beast:

March Moth (male)
Yet again, the females of the March Moth are wingless. It seems that there's some correlation between the cold-weather moths and flightless females (although it's not exclusive to them). There must be some advantage  in that system, but I can't quite work it out.

My first Beetle for the year is one of the Chrysomelids, or Leaf Beetles - Chrysolina staphylea. I'm seeing more of these each year since I first recorded it 3 years ago.

The Chrysomelid beetle Chrysolina staphylea

It's about the same size as a 7-spot Ladybird, and they can often be found in the same locations.

1 comment:

Gill said...

My version of this would have to be "If it's a small bird or group of small birds in a bush making an unfamiliar noise, it's a goldfinch/charm thereof."