|Pammene aurana (I think) at Silton Forest|
Hey everyone today's Day 351 and the first thing to say is: 'Happy Halloween'! Well, as it's Halloween I thought I would do a Halloween theme post. A while ago, I saw the Agapeta hamana and I gave it the common name of the Smiley Moth as, on its wings, it had a smiley face! Well, a while ago as well, I saw another one that looked like it. But this looked almost exactly like a pumpkin. I thought there and then, even though I saw it in July, "Halloween!".
Now, I've done loads of web research on this moth and had advice from a moth expert but its one that's not easy to identify from a photo. It's definitely the same family as the Agapeta hamana, one of the Tortix family of moths but after that it's hard to tell. The closest match I could find to my photos is the Pammene aurana so that's the one I've researched. No common name so I'll say it's the Halloween Moth.
|Enjoying the Hogweed|
- They aren't the most common. They are found around England, Wales and Scotland. Not at all in Ireland though.
- In Yorkshire there's been about 300 sightings. The were first recorded in Yorkshire in 1883.
- One reason why they aren't seen might be not seen as much is because they are extremely small!
- "How small?" you say. Well, they are very small only, on average, 11mm with their forewings!
|This is why it reminded me of Halloween|
- They fly most commonly between June and July. This is a very small flight period. The smallest I have seen.
- The adults like to feed on Hogweed and so do the larvae which will spin seeds together, I assume with silk, and will feed on the seeds inside the spinning they have made.
- Around October when the larvae are fully grown they head to the soil and spin a cocoon which they live in over the winter.
- They will then pupate in the cocoon in the spring before emerging as adults.
- I bet you're all wondering where 'Jack-O-Lanterns' come from. Well it seems to be a Celtic tradition and Halloween is a mix of Christian and Pagan traditions.
- Originally they were made in Britain out of turnips and on Guy Fawkes night and Halloween turnip lanterns. A man with a lantern used to be known as a Jack-o-lantern and eventually it got applied to the turnip lanterns.
- When Irish settlers went to America they found Pumpkins made better lanterns and so we get the modern tradition.
|Our Jack-o-lanterns this year|
- There is also a legend about a man called 'Stingy Jack' who was supposed to have tricked the devil - cut a long story short he was made to walk the earth with a turnip lantern not being allowed into heaven on account of being an 'unsavoury character'.
Well here's a few link to more information:
Hope you enjoyed,