Sunday, 3 June 2012

The humble moth ... ...

To be honest I'd never really given much thought to moths (or butterflies) at least until my son was born, on the night he was born it was quite warm so we had the windows open, and the usual thing happened, open window + lights and in come the moths, but we only got one type of moth that night, they are known as old ladies, they are quite a large moth and although quite common I'd never seen one, and I haven't seen one since.

Here's a link to a page about the Old lady moth (Mormo Maura) - Old lady moth (opens in new window)

Anyway since then I've given moths a lot more consideration, seems when I read nature articles and such like they are almost always about butterflies, not that there's anything wrong with them, I just prefer moths I guess.

So last year whilst I was on my travels I found a caterpillar, it turned out to be a Lime Hawk moth caterpillar, here's another link to a picture of one - Lime Hawk moth (opens in new window)

As the little chap was heading towards the road I moved him back to some trees, and on my way back there he was again, so I took him home for the kids to look at, with the intention of letting him go, but shortly after he arrived this happened.

Not a caterpillar anymore -


The kids were fascinated.

Eventually the chrysalis turned brown, and for almost a year it has been in a jar, and the kids have been waiting patiently for it to change into a moth, and yesterday it did.

Here he is (we're pretty sure it's a he) - 


Isn't he great ?

Now we just need him to sort himself out so we can let him go, this is the second moth we've had hatch (not sure hatch is the right word) the first was an Angle shade, yes that is a real moth.


The Angle shade - 


Another great moth.

We also have another Angle shade that's still in chrysalis form, so the kids are eagerly awaiting it's hatching.

Moths I feel are some what over looked, but I think they are great, all the chrysalises we've found in our garden (apart from the Lime hawk moth) we also found a load at our allotment, so we plan to find some more and watch them change and have fun identifying them, I had hoped I'd catch the hawk moth as it started to emerge so I could do a little time lapse photography, but it beat me to it.

It's a very educational experience, for us and the kids, and now we are on the look out for a couple of these.


Cinnabar caterpillars -  


Tiger pillars ?

These are an interesting moth, usually people think of moths as a night time insect, but these are usually seen flying in the day (and at night sometimes) they usually feed on ragwort, which makes the caterpillars taste really nasty to predators, the moths themselves are a lovely black and red colour.


A Cinnabar moth - 


Another great moth.

As moths go these are quite colourful, and I guess that's why people prefer butterflies, they are after all better looking and fly in the day, but spare a thought for the humble moth, we did have a extra special moth in the garden last year, it was a humming bird hawk moth, these are becoming more frequent in this country, although as yet I haven't been able to get a good picture of one, I plan to sort that out, and we'll all be on the look out for other types of moth we might have in the garden and surrounding countryside.

I guess this is all about teaching kids about nature, so next time you dig up a chrysalis of some kind, why not keep it and let it hatch, then you can have fun finding out what it is, it's a good learning experience for the kids, just pop it in a jar on a bit of tissue, make sure to put a few holes in the lid.

Here's a few more pictures of our moths.


Lime hawk moth - 


He's quite furry.

Wing markings - 


Subtle colouring.

Front view - 


Awesome moth.

The Angle shade - 


It has a slight pink tinge to it in parts.

A close up - 


Looks like a leaf.


Release day - 


Hopefully it's doing well.


So next time you are out and about, keep an eye out for our humble moths, they are just as important as butterflies, some also pollinate our plants as well.

Thanks for reading, and I'll leave you with this quote, not a truer word spoken if you ask me.

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.  ~ Standing Bear


2 comments:

  1. I love moths too!
    We have several chrysalises in jars or tubs that have been awaiting 'hatching'for months. Which reminds me, I'd better go check them...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We figured we'd keep some so the kids can see what happens to them, they are used to seeing caterpillars and moths / butterflies but not the bits in between, like eggs and chrysalis's.

      Delete

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