Monday, 24 August 2015

More Moths . . .


I posted a piece last week about moths. I mentioned the Hummingbird Hawk-moth (I shall follow the UK Moths site spelling), and how I had seen a number in Greece but hardly any in the UK. Serendipidously we were sheltering from the rain this last weekend in the grounds of Helmingham Hall when what should catch my attention but ... a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, nectaring on a Buddleia bush. I apologise for the quality of the photograph: these insects rarely stay still, but they are wonderful to watch.



David was just leaving for work this morning when he noticed the moth in the photo above on the Buddleia adjacent to our drive. I think it may be a Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis). 
 


And finally, a handsome caterpillar!

I have been meaning to post this photo for some time. We came across the caterpillar earlier this summer on a sandy track on NT Dunwich Heath. It is an Emperor Moth larva (Saturnia pavonia), possibly 5th instar - and I would love to see the adult. The males fly about during the day.

Does anyone know whether the 'pavonia' bit of the name refers to the peacock-like eyes on the adult's wings?

10 comments:

amanda peters said...

How wonderful to see a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, it's one moth I would love to see, and I think the photo catches it very well.
Straw Dot are a pretty moth seen by me for the first time this year too, and great looking caterpillar.
Amanda xx

eileeninmd said...

Congrats on your Hummingbird Hawk moth sighting. The buddleia is pretty. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

All hummingbird moth shots = blur with nose at one end and bum at other

Ragged Robin said...

Congratulations on the Hummingbird Hawk-moth and on getting a photo! I managed to get a photo last year of one we saw on holiday but failed miserably when we saw the species again this year! They really are difficult to photograph!

Straw Dot is a lovely little moth and Emperor moth caterpillars are my favourite - I was lucky enough to raise some last year from eggs :) I think you could be right about the link between peacock eyespot and latin species name pavonia. I do wish someone would bring out a book explaining origin of moth names latin and common! I've got a few articles published in the past on the subject but can't find anything about the Emperor Moth's name.

Ragged Robin said...

Postscript - Thanks to the lovely people on Twitter I have now discovered a book you can buy on origins/meanings of butterfly and moth names :) When it arrives and if the Emperor Moth is included will let you know.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, RR: sounds an excellent purchase.

Caroline Gill said...

And my thanks to all for your comments!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hummingbird hawk moths are wonderful creatures, congratulations on catching one on film!

Ragged Robin said...

Hi again - Book on butterfly and moth names has arrived today. Brilliant reference book - am going to be checking the names of every moth and butterfly I see. Very expensive but convinced OH it was my wedding anniversary present from him!! The book is just fascinating.


With the Emperor Moth pavonia comes from peacock (pavo) due to prominent eye spots as you surmised:) Saturnia relates to Saturn (oldest of the Roman gods) - his daughters Juno and Vesta were given titles Saturnia and the Moth's name refers to Juno as the peacock was sacred to her. Have paraphrased rather so hope you can infer the meaning :)


Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, RR, so much for this brilliant detail. And I'm glad I guessed correctly about the eyespots - not that difficult, but still pleased :-).

It's funny how some names are so obvious and others so apparently obscure in their origins. So glad the book arrived. It sounds a marvellous resource.