|I think this is Buff ermine (Spilosoma lutea)|
It seems to be that time of year here in Suffolk when we begin to notice two particularly fluttery creatures - bats and moths.
I have to confess that I was never very interested in moths. I liked butterflies and had a good butterfly guide from about the age of eleven. Most moths seemed a dull brown colour and did little to make me interested in them. In those days moths seemed to suggest the smell of naphthalene (now considered a possible health risk, especially to the young who might try to ingest mothballs). Some people have switched to red cedar discs as a deterrent, though the cedar may only work on hatching larvae.
I am still more of a butterfly person, but I am coming to appreciate moths as a result of seeing the wonderful photographs on your blogs. Many of you have moth traps, and while I don't use one of these, I really enjoy seeing the variety of shape, colour and particularly pattern that emerge. There is sometimes something rather kaleidoscopic about the markings on a moth.
|We think this is the Straw Underwing (Thalpophila matura) ... thank you, RR!|
|Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)|
Here in the UK there are three species of moth that can have a particularly negative effect on our homes. The Brown House Moth is attracted to natural fibres such as feathers, leather, sheepskin and wood. The White-shouldered House Moth prefers to lay its eggs in our food, and we all know about the Clothes Moth. Insects come in through our open windows and lay their eggs. Once the larvae hatch, the eating begins in earnest.
|Moth eggs on glass|
It is important to remember that most species of moths do not cause infestations in our homes. Many are exquisitely beautiful and play a key role in the food chain. I particularly like the bright red colours of the Cinnabar Moth, which flies at night
The photo below was taken near Snape Maltings and shows a Cinnabar caterpillar.
|Cinnabar Moth caterpillar in Suffolk|
And just to end with a Humming-bird Hawk-moth that I saw near Pylos in the Peloponnese five years ago. These exquisite insects can also be found in the UK, although I have rarely seen them over here.
|Humming-bird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)|