The heavy rains this weekend were welcome after such a long dry spell, and I swear I could hear the entire garden breathe a deep sigh of relief. Ever dutiful to our moth-catching responsibilities, Patrick and I did not let the winds or rain deter us from setting up a trap on both Friday and Sunday nights. The process was a bit more involved, requiring us to set up a tent around the trap to protect it and the creatures inside from a watery doom. But in the end all was well, and as I write this post the sun reigns over Shandy Hall once again, and I’ve a few interesting moths to talk about.
This moth is Ypsolopha sequella, a perky and energetic little fellow who hasn’t visited the garden since September 2012. Its calico-like pattern is striking, and when we caught it in a tube it did a series of impressive jumps and flips. It is fairly common across Britain, despite its long absence from Shandy Hall, and lives in woodlands feeding on Field Maple and occasionally Sycamore. Ypsolopha means high-crested, while sequella means ‘following’ or ‘next,’ for no discernable reason other than it might have been ‘the next’ moth for Clerck to discover.
|Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica)|
Another moth was the Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica), a delicate insect with a strong, intricate pattern. It feeds on lichens growing on rocks, walls, roofs and trees, and it often associated with old buildings and urban areas even though it also inhabits open country, orchards, calcareous woods and coastal cliffs. Its name is charming, with Cryphia meaning ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ from the cryptic pattern on its forewings, and domestica means ‘belonging to the house,’ from its tendency to eat the lichen growing on houses.
Sunday night’s trap was not at all fruitful –perhaps because of the dropping temperatures, strong winds and relentless rains— and there is not much to report from it. There were a handful of moths, the most numerous being Garden Grass Veneers, Footmen (of both the Common and Melon Seed variety), and Dun-bars.
So, not the most exciting start to my final week at Shandy Hall –but I’m happy just to have seen some rain before I go.