both moth and flame

October 15, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe for me to make my six yearly trip to the UK I read of a new threat to the security of the country: killer moths. According to the Telegraph some ‘killer moths’ have arrived from Tuscany (smuggled in by the Mafia to carry out contract killings, perhaps?) and the nation is in a state of panic. I expect hospitals have been put on full alert, there will be mass culling of Lepidoptera, some minor government nobody will make a statement saying Tony Blair was not to blame, while the nation’s chief lepidopterist will admit that the moths ‘kicked the door in’. We have some pretty impressive moths here, including the one with the largest wingspan in the world and to see a dozen of them arriving at night is quite a sight. Threatening, however, they are not as they flap around like someone pretending to fly when drunk before flopping to the ground exhausted. We only have one species of moth that sucks human blood and that only when more appetising beverages (such as nectar, puddle water and Singha beer) are not on offer.

0706a24.jpg a mating pair of Attacus atlas, the largest moth in the world, in my garden
0704a82.jpg Actias selene also in my garden
On reading the article more closely it turns out it’s not the moths at all but their caterpillars which, like many of that ilk, have nasty little hairs sticking out of them. Some people have had fatal allergic reactions to them. I’m tempted to think that some people will have fatal or near fatal allergic reactions to almost anything. I, for example, have a severe allergic reaction to all politicians but that in itself is no reason to destroy them. Sometimes I just come out in red splodges, at other times I can’t keep a straight face, weep profusely and have trouble breathing. Give me killer moths any time.

2 Responses to “both moth and flame”

  1. crazymac Says:

    Beautiful creatures! I must admit I thought moth were nasty little brown things that ate your socks.

  2. SilverTiger Says:

    Latest news (for example, see the BBC) is that the problem, never a really grave one but as usual inflated by the media, has been solved.

    I hadn’t noticed any panic in the streets or rows of decapitated moths (or caterpillars) summarily executed by vigilantes.

    As the draconian method used by Kew Gardens shows, we do far more damage to the moths (and other wildlife) than ever they do to us.


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