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Posts Tagged ‘Privet Hawkmoth’

Between them the past two days have produced a crop of moths almost worth mentioning and one really tremendous find.

The weather has been calmer and warmer, in fact quite humid and the forecast out until the end of the month is good so I might yet extend my list of finds for the year and overall – quite a few moths from previous years still haven’t made their reappearance.

The pugs which were about in large numbers at one point reappeared with a double-striped pug (glymnoscelis rufifasciata) last night and another specimen which I couldn’t be certain about the night before. Unfortunately and as usual such a small moth is too difficult for me to photograph well, but last night’s visitor allowed itself to be potted up so that I could bring it to the field guide and have a good look.

There was a quite distinctively marked and pale micromoth in the bathroom which I also potted up but haven’t been able to ID. As is often the case the flash reflects off their scales, but without the flash the little light from the low energy light bulb simply isn’t enough for good photographs – I still haven’t replaced the tripod.

Unidentified micro

Unidentified micro

And by the way the diameter of the pot in which it is resting is 5cm. This next picture isn’t as clear but gives an indication of the shape of its head and mouth parts which may help me to identify it or at least place it in the correct family/sub-family.

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On both nights I’ve had what are probably Lesser Common Rustics (mesapamea didyma) which are just about as dull looking as they sound but also the Willow Beauty (peribatodes rhomboidaria) which particularly in the male with its big dark eyes and extravagent feathered antennae is quite lovely.

Willow Beauty (peribatodes rhomboidaria)

Willow Beauty (peribatodes rhomboidaria)

There have been Small Dusty Waves (idaea seriata) about, as well as an unidentifed probable tortrix and a tiny micro with peculiarly curly antennae. The green lacewings are still about but for the most part the flying insects in the bathroom after dark are just midges or micros or other things that will bite and nothing will induce me to develop an interest in them. Our relationships are strictly one way.

And that leaves just the find of the past couple of days, which was spotted making rapid progress in the mid-afternoon yesterday across the back paving. Since I haven’t seen an adult, ever, this was a complete surprise.

Privet Hawkmoth (sphinx ligustri) caterpillar

Privet Hawkmoth (sphinx ligustri) caterpillar

No mistaking however, the species. This creature should it successfully pupate and emerge next year will become a Privet Hawkmoth (sphinx ligustri) with a wingspan of up to 11 cm. The caterpillar is already enormous and so it is hard to imagine that it isn’t close to pupating.

Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar detail

Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar detail

Although I have no privet on the property I do have a large old lilac overhanging the paved area – and that is another prefered foodplant. I can only imagine that something shook it from its perch and it was certainly heading back in the direction of the lilac. I gently helped it on its way and have hopes that next year I might even see an adult, now I’ve had evidence that they are about.

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