Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
buff ermine moth a rolled up nettle leaf

Mother of Pearl

Wednesday 9th August 2000
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mother of pearl mothmother of pearl wing WITH SO MUCH work to complete I don't even get the chance to walk to the post office today, but in summer some of the wildlife comes into the house.

This brownish moth was resting on the toothbrush mug in the bathroom - actually on the flower in design. I sketch it without much hope of identifying it; there are so many little brown moths and this has no obvious special mark - like a 'silver-Y' or a 'Chinese character' - to distinguish it.

It's not in my copy of the 'Complete' guide to British moths, which doesn't cover micro-moths, but it is in the useful Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Chinery, 1986).

It's the Mother of Pearl, Pleuroptya ruralis which is described as having a 'slow ghost-like flight'. It's a summer moth of hedges and wasteland, so our back garden in its present rather neglected state should suit it fine.

stinging nettlered dead-nettle Its pale green larva feeds on Stinging Nettle and plants in the dead-nettles and mint family, rolling a leaf around it for protection.

Mother of Pearl is a good description. My usual medium of pen and ink and crayon doesn't begin to capture the subtle tonal pattern on the wings, so I draw a detail in pencil.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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