19JUN11 Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Apologies for the image quality – but isn’t that a beautiful moth?

It was certainly worth getting up at 3:15 am for! This Small Elephant Hawkmoth was feeding on honeysuckle in Murlough yesterday morning.

My camera is playing up at the moment and the photos come out covered in white lines. Must be a fault with the CCD chip. The videos were fine until I shook the camera a bit too hard and now it looks like I’ve disconnected the CCD completely! Hopefully a bit more shaking will re-connect it!

And I also saw my 14th butterfly species of the year yesterday – 3 jazzy new Dark Green Fritillaries zooming around Murlough. Here’s a photo from last year.

26JUN10 Dark Green Fritillaries

The other thing that happened yesterday was that I collected 3 caterpillars to rear: two Garden Tigers (“Ferrari” and “Maclaren”) and a Ruby Tiger (“Ron”). The GTs have been eating like crazy while Ron has spun himself a cocoon to pupate in. I suspect that they all might have parasites as they are leaving pupation very late (a sign of parasitisation) but I’m hoping they’re all OK and they’ll turn into three beautiful moths!

I didn’t realise it at the time but I also collected 26 little yellow eggs which had been laid on the Ragwort which the caterpillars were eating. They’re probably Cinnabar moths.

What – a – time for my camera to go wibbly.

2011 BUTTERFLIES: 14

Species study 2, project B: Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)
Species study 5, project B: Garden Tiger (Arctia caja)
Species study 15, project A: Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae

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