Back to moths, I am behind as always but I put the moth trap out three times before the last but one chemo session - these are from 2nd, 3rd and 5th August. I'm just going to share the more interesting and groovy looking moths trapped, and a few of the more drab ones that I did manage to (or almost manage to) ID. Am I allowed to call moths drab? Well, a lot of them are! But for all those hard to ID browny grey jobs, there are some absolute stunners, like the chap or chappess below, of which there were three, two in the trap and one on the wall by the potting shed.
It's interesting seeing how the temperature makes a difference to the amount of moths trapped, as one night the temp dipped to 8.8C on my outside windowsill and I caught the grand total of 11 moths. Usually when the night temps are around 14C+, I'm getting about 50. Also I seem to get more when I put the trap out in the open nearer the house, than under the lime trees near the more wooded part of the garden. I usually find a few moths on the stone walls of the house too when I place it not far from the house.
|Gorgeous Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina).|
|Leopard Moth close up showing the lovely irridescent |
blue markings on the thorax and legs.
|The same metallic blue is visible on the tip of the abdomen |
but it was washed out a bit by using flash.
Despite the beauty of the moth above, this Lappett is my favourite catch of the ones I haven't yet shared. I seem to be doing OK with the family Lasiocampidae, but then I'm not surprised as I've found a fair few of their caterpillars in the garden over the last few years.
|The Lappet (Gastropacha quercifolia) in its flapping wings prior to take off position!|
|A closer up showing that amazing snout like 'nose' and blue colour on the antennae.|
|The Lappet in its typical imitating a dead oak leaf position. |
Yes it flew off and here it is on my beamed ceiling!
Now onto some drab ones but I have been finding quite a lot of them so I was interested to find out what they were.
|Great Dart (Agrotis bigramma) - pretty sure of ID but could be wrong!|
Link to a French site showing pictures of it.
|Great Dart showing the white underwing.|
|And another picture of it.|
|Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria). |
There is a 2nd generation in France which flies until September.
|Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta).|
The following I'm pretty sure are Pine Processionary moths. I'm not surprised to find them as I have their caterpillar nests in my pine trees. The first time I saw these fluffy nests in Greece I thought they were made by a spider! They have a bad rep because they are supposed to be a real pest of pine forests, but worse than that is the hairy caterpillar, which is something that you don't want to ever touch. Apparently they can shoot out highly toxic hairs if they are disturbed and these can cause nasty itchy skin complaints. Even worse if dogs sniff them out or try to eat them - I've heard tales of dogs having to have parts of their tongues removed due to this. So we are very wary of them.
I've only seen a small procession of them once in our garden and I must say we carefully removed them and destroyed them, because they were in the vicinity of where we at the time fed the ducks, and ducks snuffle in the grass whilst feeding and drinking. You'll see from the photo a few down from here what a real procession of them looks like - where we saw them up in the Pyrenees mountains there were hundreds of these processions, some metres long, and lots of them squashed over the road as well. I was very glad I had my hiking boots on rather than sandals and we walked around careful not to tread on them and so we had no problem - but there were no signs anywhere to warn tourists about them!
|Pine Processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa).|
|Pine Processionary showing what looks like some pine sap on wings.|
|Pine Processionary Moth caterpillars in a huge procession |
up in the Pyrenees mountains 2010.
The next four photos feature two moths for whom I have managed to get ID down to either Common Rustic or Lesser Common Rustic. It's impossible for me to tell whether I have two different species or a different colour variation of the same species...and which one, as they both can have white markings, or not!
|I know the big one is Mrs Oak Eggar!|
|Same moth as above.|
|Same moth as above.|
|Different moth, but is it the same species but with less pronounced white markings?|
Going back a bit, the first time I put out the moth trap an Oak Eggar laid some eggs. I kept meaning to put them out in the garden, although I knew that wouldn't really help the eggs as I couldn't exactly glue them to a leaf. After some time I thought they were not viable and with one thing and another they got a bit forgotten and were still sitting on the kitchen table in a specimen pot. Well lo and behold very luckily I suddenly noticed movement in the pot and there were loads of tiny caterpillars! First I picked some bramble leaves for them and most immediately headed for the leaves, so the next day I was able to put those leaves out wedged in amongst other bramble leaves so they could move off amongst the plant and get fresh leaves. For those remaining in the pot I picked a few oak leaves and they seemed to prefer them to bramble. I finally had a bright idea of how to fix the oak leaves up in the tree..... as you will see further down.
(I am a bit confused as some sites say Oak Eggar larvae don't eat oak leaves, and some do....)
|Taken with macro lens but more distant.|
|A bit closer up taken with my macro lens - I'm glad I took the trouble |
to look at them up close as they are very cute and incredibly hairy!
|I found some little pegs and pegged those leaves onto the oak leaves on the tree!|
As usual, if I've got any ID wrong, please let me know! :-)
I put the trap out again on the 19th and caught a nice selection this time with moths with more pronounced markings, so I'm in the process of trying to ID them. Some I've managed thanks to Hants Moths 'Flying Tonight' but I'm sure I'll be asking for your help with some of them - as I have all the continental ones this side of the channel to contend with too and some of them could be 'foreign' ones. Aaarrggh! Fun though. :-)
By the way, the garden is looking a lot happier after that rain we had, plus a shower on Thursday morning. We are due what might be a lot of rain for about three or four days starting tonight, so the less watering we have to do the better and the grass should green up even more, and hopefully it'll be enough to give the deeper rooted shrubs a good boost! This morning seems like the last of the sun so I am going to get out and take some more photos and enjoy the sun, as I'm surprisingly feeling OK for the moment. I'm just waiting for the nurse to come to unhook me from my diffuser and take out my needle and I'll be free - for 48 hours I have to carry this diffuser around with me in a bum bag (fanny pack to my American friends) and whilst it's not really a big deal, I am always glad to be shot of it!