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Distinctive angles


by Richard Jones

Today on a fencepost, I saw the beautiful angular art-deco prize of an angle Shades, Phlogophora meticulosa.


Richard JonesToday on a fencepost, I saw the beautiful angular art-deco prize of an angle Shades, Phlogophora meticulosa. This wonderful moth is immediately recognizable and unmistakable, even though its colours vary across a whole spectrum of browns, beiges, pinks and yellowy greens.

The nondescript green or brown caterpillar feeds on a huge range of native and cultivated plants, but it's usually very secretive and never a pest.

It was sitting in its distinctive pose: head down body slightly raised with its wing tips tilted into the air. Even against the uniform brown of the wooden fence slat it was well camouflaged; it could easily have been a curled and twisted leaf caught against a rough splinter on the wood. Had it settled into the long grass or amongst real fallen leaves it would have been invisible. I showed it to my toddler son who, after gazing at it for a moment, gave it a thoughtful poke with his finger. It took off like a demented rocket, bowling one way then the other until after half a dozen mad turns and wild spirals it landed at breakneck speed in a neighbouring tree.

'Butterfly' he announced. The division between butterflies and moths is wholly artificial so I couldn't fault his identification: a beautiful scale-winged creature flying by day. Right on son.



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Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:29

some person snapped my acer in three pieces this week can anybody help? I have put them in pots of compost with supports - will they root or die?