Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Black Pepper

After many weeks of cold nights the temperature kept to double figures last night and at long last more than 1 or 2 moths were in the trap this morning. Nothing really unusual but after all this time it was nice to see something a bit different.

The best was a Peppered Moth, but of the melanistic form ab. carbonaria. This is a famous type of moth. During the early decades of the Industrial Revolution in England, much of industrial Europe was blanketed with soot from the new coal-burning factories. Many of the light-bodied lichens died from sulphur dioxide emissions, and the trees became covered with soot. This led to an increase in bird predation for light-coloured moths, as they no longer blended in as well in their polluted ecosystem: indeed, their bodies now dramatically contrasted with the colour of the bark. Dark-coloured moths, on the other hand, were camouflaged very well by the blackened trees.
These days with the cleaner air the dark form is scarce again, but one appeared in the garden, my first of this form since 2007.

There is a whole article on the evolution of this moth and its dark form on wikipedia

Peppered Moth ab carbonaria

Also present were a Common Pug, Spruce Carpet, Flame Carpet and several Brown House Moth

Flame Carpet

Spruce Carpet

Common Pug

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