Monday, May 30, 2011

The Fly that saw a Ghost


We found this newly-emerged ghost moth (a.k.a. ghost swift moth) Hepialis  humuli yesterday on the banks of the River Derwent, downstream from Blanchland. You can see the remains of the pupal case sticking up through the dead grass just below and to the right of the moth which, judging by the wing damage, had a bit of a struggle to hatch out. Initially I though that little metallic green fly that's standing on the moth might have something to do with the tattered state of the moth and its generally sluggish behaviour (maybe a parasite?) but ........

my suspicions were unfounded - it's Microchrysa polita, which breeds in rotting vegetation and dung and was entirely innocent.  

8 comments:

  1. Wow, that fly must be tiny - and you've captured it so well!

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  2. Will the moth survive? Pretty little fly.

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  3. wow,that irridescence on the wing ,love it

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  4. Super close-up pictures, Phil, and an interesting piece.

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  5. Hi Swanscot, small, but beautifully coloured!

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  6. Hi think it will Toffeeapple, but these adult moths don't feed so they only have very short lives...

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  7. Hi Clare,I've always been fascinated by iridescent colours too .... a genuine 'trick of the light'

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  8. Hi Emma, I hope I'll be able to see their courtship display one day - it's supposed to be very ghost-like

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