Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Heftier than the male


I featured the Ghost Moth in a post back in June when one of the creamy-yellow and orange females flew into the trap. At least a score of others have arrived since, but none of them male - until last night when a chap finally turned up. He's completely different-looking, as you can see: pure white apart from a carroty fringe to his wings and tuft of hair on his head, identical to the female's. He's also smaller, and that may account for the bit of damage to the edge of his wings.

Discussing the strains of sex with a Bright-eye Brown-line? The male Ghost Moth

As the June post described, the courting behaviour of Ghost Moths involves females hurtling straight at males in flight with such force that both are thrown to the ground, where lovemaking continues. This strenuous business may also explain why so few males have come to the light. They're probably all still in Accident & Emergency.

The female was standing on her head when I reached her eggbox, which also contained this Herald. I have never seen a moth doing this before.

Along with the Ghosts came this beautifully patterned and coloured moth which deserves its name of Marbled Beauty. I wonder if you can guess what its caterpillars eat and where the adult insect likes to rest, for camouflage reasons. The answer is lichen; and if you coax a Marbled Beauty on to lichen and turn away for a moment or two, you will have trouble relocating it when you look back again.



4 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

Fantastic to see the male ghost swift- like you, we've had only females.

David Shenton said...

Martin,

More great moths, love the 'handstand' image, I have not seen this before either, very strange.

The Ghosts are lovely, I see them lekking in the field by the house and it is fantastic to watch.

Regards

Dave

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi both!

You'll get one tomorrow now, Countryside Lady...

I really envy you Dave. I shall look out for the same here. Maybe a film...

all warm wishes as ever

Martin

Christa said...

Gorgeous!