Had enough Moths yet?No.1 The Pale Tussock Moth (Male)No.2 " " " " (Female)No.3 The Yellow Underwing showing the underwingNo.4 " " " with wings closed.No 5 " " " A side view.No.6 The Eyed Hawk Moth with wings shut.No.7 " " " " " " open showing why it is called the Eyed Hawk Moth.
I am now going to attempt to show you the life cycle of a very strange little Moth called the Vapourer. I call it a strange little Moth because the female never flies, why ? because it has no wings. I had to breed this female myself in order to get the photos I wanted and prayed that she would not hatch in the middle of the night, she didn't.No. 1 Is a photo of the Vaporour caterpillar with the strange tufts of coloured hair rising from her back. This caterpillar is quite common.No.2 Is the caterpillar weaving herself a silken cocoon and in it you can see the tufts of hair she has shed.No.3 the female Vapourer moth emerges after a number of weeks, as you can see she has no wings and most people would think it's just another bug and not a Moth.No.4 The female gives off a scent that attracts the male Vapourer Moth and this is all within twenty minutes of hatching.No.5 Ops! another male has been attracted I wonder if they will fight for the right to breed with the female.No.6 Head on view of the winner alongside the female, well you never wanted a rear view, did you ?No.7 She has mated and straight away starts to lay her eggs, no time waster this one, it will take her a couple of hours.No.8 Nearly finished laying eggs, she will complete laying the circle of eggs and then sadly she will crawl off and die her role in life accomplished.No.9 A new Vapourer caterpillar has emerged be it male or female only it knows and the whole wonder of nature starts again. Phew!.
John Cooper wrote:What is this, it has so far been established to be a moth and not a butterfly, the 5p piece is there for comparison, the moth is filmed from the underside.
What is this, it has so far been established to be a moth and not a butterfly, the 5p piece is there for comparison, the moth is filmed from the underside.
Dear Mr John Cooper,
Thank you very much for the moth identification you sent to us and I apologise for the delay in responding to you. This has been a busy time of year, with lots of identifications to catch up on.
It is of course very difficult to identify the moth from the underside. There are however several features visible which aid this specimens identification. This includes the size of the moth, the way the wings are held whilst in its resting position, the fine fringe on the edge of the wings and the faint black pattern which can just be seen through the wings. It is impossible to be certain but I think this is probably the clouded silver moth Lomographa temerata.
The clouded silver is a moth belonging to the family Geometridae. It has a wing span that is approximately 22-26mm. It is fairly common across Britain . Its main flight period is during May and June, but in the south some adults can be seen flying in autumn and these are considered migrants. It is generally found in woodland or suburban habitats with bushy areas. Caterpillars will feed on a range of vegetation including hawthorn and blackthorn.
I hope this has been of interest to you.
Assistant Curator of Natural History
Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service