Tuesday 31 July 2012

Identification problems . . .

I saw a moth on Barry’s hat this morning and of course I had to try and identify it – without success so far, I have to say.
side view
detail - so delicate
Anyway, in the course of my research I came across this note –‘passes winter as an egg’ and that made me laugh. I started thinking how difficult it would be trying to metamorphose backwards, as it were, and fit into a receptacle now patently far too small. In human terms that is a ghastly thought, not to mention eye-watering.

I also discovered that the Ghost moth, among others, has no tongue and cannot feed. What a sad life that must be. I suppose it’s akin to human parents raising their young and then popping their clogs. I know it feels like that sometimes and often we feel redundant. Let’s be honest, we are redundant once the bank of Mum and Dad serves no further purpose and our young people have flown the nest and are busily growing their own credit ratings and treating overdrafts as a challenge rather than a limit (or was that just me?)

It is sobering to realise that so many beautiful creatures live very short lives. Dragonflies spend more time as somewhat unattractive nymphs. They live in the murky depths of ponds for three or four years, terrorising the more peaceable inhabitants. Then they emerge from their hard cases as diaphanous beauties, bringing colour and pleasure to onlookers, though not to the unfortunate insects they hunt without mercy. 
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
Not as great a beauty as the Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
What a stunner - but completely helpless on the ground for dragonflies cannot walk . . .
Laying eggs
So much beauty, such a little life
They mate, they lay eggs, they die. However, they have no thought for the future, no understanding of their ephemeral existence. What do I know, though? Maybe they have a very complex belief system and look forward to dragonfly heaven where food is plentiful and life never ends. Would I have found them so attractive had I lived/existed in prehistoric times when they had wingspans up to 75 cms? Nonetheless, they are fascinating beasts.

However, and I hate to repeat this cliché, it’s all relative . . . We live but a blink of an eye when compared to galaxies. Who knows what the Mars probe will reveal? (provided it lands safely, of course!)


  1. Your post reminds me of a quote by Tagore: "The butterfly counts not months but moments, and so has enough time."

    Thanks for sharing these pics and for reminding me of the relativity of time.

  2. Well, I identified a moth on someone elses blog - a plume moth - but not sure of this one. It must be Name That Bug Month! :-)

  3. Interesting post! I often think about the short lves of butterflies and it seems tragic to me, but as you point out it this is from the human point of view, and hopefully these short lived bugs know nothing about any of it!

  4. Lots of food for thought. These beautiful animals just don't worry about it

  5. Lovely photographs - I remember readign somewhere that the length of our lives all depends on heart rates - elephants are considerably slower than flies ... I liked the theory that we were allocatd 'x' number of heart beats and once we had used them up that was it; maybe that's why I run?

  6. We all have just a brief time of being beautiful the rest of the time its just hard work.

  7. With me around they wouldn't even live a second ! I kill them right away insects are so disgusting to me except ladybugs and butterflies ! All the rest ... yikes !

  8. It definitely awes me when I think about the short lives of some of the most beautiful creatures. I think of butterflies. But then again, I guess butterflies (and other short-lived creatures) just live what they know and enjoy what they have! Perhaps humans could learn a thing or two.

  9. Completely fascinating post. I was totally absorbed by it.

  10. That second dragonfly pic is my favorite -so clear and beautiful of color:)

  11. I didn't know that dragonflies cannot walk, but then, I don't think I have ever watched one for very long... Hummingbirds can't either.
    There is a butterfly that lives in the north that takes 14 years to get through the caterpillar stage of life...

  12. Very interesting. I had no idea that dragonflies couldn't walk. They sure are pretty though.
    That looks like a huge moth!


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