Tuesday 22 September 2015

Another Vapourer encounter

This sunny morning I had to stay at home, as my 7 year old daughter was unwell. On our trip to the doctor I noticed a flying insect I couldn't decide if it was butterfly or moth, it looked like it wanted to settle, so we waited until it did. If finally settled on some railings, flew again and resettled on another part of the railings, and then I realised it was a male Vapourer. This most wonderful of moths! Where there is a male Vapourer settling a female can't be far. Females don't look like moths, they are flightless, their wings reduced to little more than stumps, and they have bulging bodies full of eggs. Females actually move very little in their adult lives, as they just sit on top of their cocoon - which they made as a caterpillar and later emerged - waiting for males to home in their pheromones. Males are a wonderful chestnut colour, a bright moon-shaped white dot on each wing, with feathery antennae, and they fly often during the day.
The male had actually found a female on a corner of the railing and, almost immediately, they mated. I took a few photos with my phone and we carried on.
 On our way back a little later, we checked the railing. The male was gone, but the female wasn't wasting any time, and was busy laying eggs on the remains of her hairy cocoon.

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