We are now on our 100th blog post! The weather is turning around and new moths are on the wing! Over the past few days we have had a good number of new moths in the gardens. It seems as if new broods are starting to hatch. Patrick was quite excited to see the Elephant Hawk-moths out again. I must admit they are quite impressive. Also, Dr. Chesmore came by for the National Garden Scheme event last Friday and kindly donated some new moth identification books, which have helped me greatly in identifying some species that I was completely baffled by before. Therefore, for at least the next 8 or so days, we will be posting a blog a day showing our findings here at Shandy Hall.
Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis)
The first is one of my favorites of the bunch, the Figure of Eighty (Tethea ocularis). The one in the photograph has a very distinct '80' mark, from which it gets its name, in the middle of the forewing. Tetheus is an adjective derived from the Greek Tethys, wife of Oceanus and mother of the river gods and nymphs of the open sea, which links to the stream-like lines on the forewing. Ocularis 'pertaining to the eyes' describes the eye-like markings on the wings, which is better described by the subspecies name, octogesimea, from octogesimus, meaning 'eightieth.' This part of the name is not always mentioned when referring to the moth by its scientific name, however. Too bad we didn't find this one sooner. It would have been perfect to have for our 80th blog post. Maybe it's someone else's 80th something today. The Figure of Eighty brings the species count to 262. - Post by Jane Wu