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3 August 2016  If small is beautiful... what is micro?


A short blogpost in praise of our bonsai beasts. Last week, I photographed a moth which blasted away my lingering preconceptions that micromoths are boring and not worth the effort. This critter, Chrysoclista linneella(or sometimes known as Lime Cosmet), is rare in Norfolk, with just a handful of recent records (most in Norwich) and officially considered Nationally Scarce. Here is the relevant extract from the brilliant Norfolk Moths website.

On Saturday afternoon, as a break from writing my monthly articles for Bird Watchingand The Countryman magazines, and still sulking because an injured back had ruled me out of playing cricket, I checked out the Norwich site - lime trees in Earlham Cemetery - following a tip-off from Dave Holman, then one from Phil Saunders, then one (with a grid ref, finally and delightfully) from Will Soar. It took me a while to find, but my jaw hit the grave-covered turf when I finally spotted the Lime Cosmet sitting face-down on a lime trunk. What an amazing, beautiful and unusual creature.

There is no doubt that many micromoths are dull in appearance or difficult to identify (even impossible without killing them, which is something I refuse to do). But many - indeed, many more than I would ever have believed - are sumptuous. Here are some that have crossed my path in recent weeks.

If small is beautiful, then micro - I am now led to conclude - can be scintillatingly gorgeous. As further evidence, I plead the diminutive Ruby-tailed Wasp, Maya's favourite insect from the boardgame Bug Bingo.

James Lowen 

Wildlife