Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Micropterix calthella

I'm sure that, until Peter posted his "day-flying species alert", I was not alone in thinking that the myriad of little insects often seen in buttercups were just some small fly or other.  However, upon close investigation, it becomes apparent that the majority of them are indeed these attractive little micro-moths Micropterix calthella.  They are quite sprightly little blighters, often jumping like fleas, so a degree of sedation was found to be necessary in order to capture these photos below; half an hour or so in the fridge followed by a minute or two in the freezer seemed to do the trick!

And indeed they are very beautiful when you see them close up, irridescent gold and silver, some with lovely purple patches; it depends on how the light catches as to the exact colouration seen.  All have tufted heads; some are orange and some are white, I assume male and female, but does anyone know which is which?

And at this time of year you are likely to see many of them "in flagrante dilecto"; you even get voyeurs in this micro-moth world!

At the start of this year the county database held just 9 records for Micropterix calthella; how many hundred records would you like added, Peter??



  1. Peter,

    Both sexes have the orange 'hair'; the whites ones are probably just worn/variation.

    Some nice photos there, considering they're so tiny!


  2. It's good to see that my post on day-flying species has stimulated a some more observations, some good photos as well Peter, I'm sure one or two will be added to the Micropterix calthella webpage.

    Oh and by the way, you can add as many to the data base as you want to count!!