4 July 2013 - Those Unpatriotic Moths!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope my friends back in the states are celebrating. I've spent most of the day exploring more of England, making peach cobbler, and listening to a children's choir sing - not particularly patriotic I know. If anything, I'm steeping myself more into British culture as of the moment. There are also no ultra-patriotic moths around either to blog about on this day of American independence, but that's alright - they do all live in Great Britain after all.

The Nutmeg (Discestra trifolii)
Dusky Brocade (Apamea remissa)*
I presume the Nutmeg (Discestra trifolii) gets its common name from its nice brownish nutmeg color that's nicely blended in the wing. Di- or dis- 'two' and kestra 'a pointed instrument' are descriptions of the part of the wing patterned in two points (top of the picture). Many moths actually have this pattern, such as the Pale-shouldered Brocade, although the Nutmeg is the only member of the Discestra genus and described in reference to this pattern. Trifolium 'the clover genus' is a deceptive description, as the larva feed on plants of the Chenopodiaceae family, of which mostly include weeds, but also vegetables such as spinach, beets, chard, quinoa, and sugar beets. The Nutmeg makes 272 on our species count!*

*Ben Sale has commented on our Facebook page and has informed us that our Nutmeg is actually a Dusky Brocade (Apamea remissa). The two moths are remarkably similar, though the Dusky Brocade has a more kidney- or oval-shaped mark on the upper (lower in the picture) part of the forewing, while the Nutmeg has a more circular mark. The Dusky Brocade's scientific name has no discernible correlation to the moth. Apamea is a town in Asia Minor, and remissus 'sent back, relaxed, loose, of cheerful or gay temperament' does little to describe the behavior or coloration of the moth. Though we falsely identified this moth the first time, the Dusky Brocade is still new to Shandy Hall, so it can replace the Nutmeg as number 272!

- Post by Jane Wu