Monday, August 1, 2011

Brimstone moth

This very attractive brimstone moth Opisthograptis luteolata turned up in our garden, most likely breeding on our neighbour's hawthorn tree. It looks like it has freshly emerged from a pupa, because its proboscis is fully extended (double-click for a clearer view). It's odd that brimstone moth caterpillars are amazingly well camouflaged, resembling dead twigs, while the adults are so conspicuous. The hawthorn tree were this moth probably bred is visited by various tits several times a day so the caterpillars need to be well hidden to have any chance of survival - the odds of making it through the life cycle to become a moth must be pretty unfavourable - but then the adult flaunts this bright colour scheme that must make it an easy target unless it's very well hidden during the daylight hours. 

The top picture was taken with flash and the lower one with natural light, which goes to show how different forms of illumination can affect the recording of colour in butterflies and moths.

4 comments:

  1. They are lovely, aren't they? I saw one last week, but as it was resting smack bang in the middle of one of the posters on the wall of our open shelter/information board at work I didn't bother taking a photo. I came across them several times last summer in the same shelter. I got a photo one time when one was on the corner of a poster. http://www.flickr.com/photos/swan-scot/4697453397/

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  2. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful creature. What an amazing colour.

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  3. I think your picture is a lot better than mine swanscot - beautiful texture on the wings.

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  4. I like the inset blue panels, edged in brown too toffeeapple - and those immaculate white legs

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