Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria.  In my actinic light trap in Hayes on 28 July 2012.
Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria.  In my actinic light trap in Hayes on 28 July 2012.
One evening I put the moth trap out and it promptly started to rain.  So I quickly pulled it apart and reinstated it under the shelter of my balcony.  This is enough to shelter from showers, though torrential rain falls close enough to it to splash it thoroughly.

But it seems that having the trap out on a night of light rain or showers is quite productive.  Next morning, among other specimens new to me, I found this delight.  Large and beautiful, a light fresh yellow decorated with with darker yellow streaks and those red and black highlights at the pointed ends of the hind wings.

It continues to amaze me that these creatures are out there at night and don't get seen unless you make an effort like this.  They come to my small, ordinary suburban garden and I suspect that they go under my back balcony to shelter from the rain.  And there they find an attractive light and somewhere to rest ...

The caterpillars of this Swallow-tailed Moth eat a range of broad-leaved trees and would have no problem thriving here.  But the adults just don't go out in the day, except when I let them go from the trap.  This one flew off like a big yellow butterfly in the early morning light at 6 am.

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