Friday, 16 August 2013 17:59

JTM is back

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So I said goodbye last weekend to the Jersey Tiger moth but today he's back, where the sweet peas were (I've taken them down now) but with a damaged end to his right top wing as you can see in the photo. I sort of assume it's the same moth - I don't know if they all look exactly the same or have subtley different markings.

I wonder what has happened to him? I had supposed they had few predators because they feed during the day and are badly camouflaged but clearly his wing has been torn by something. A fight? A rose bush? Who knows.

Apparently butterfly and moth wings don't mend naturally. I've just watched an amazing video on how to mend a butterfly wing. You can see it here. It is really worth watching as the guy mends wings on live monarch butterflies.

It suggests that if the damage is minor, you clip the corresponding wing to the same shape so flight is not affected. If the wing is broken but still existing, it shows you how to add a tiny cardboard splint to repair it. And, if much of the wing is gone it shows how to mend it - but assumes you have spare butterfly or moth wings around with which to do this. I am very proud of my well stocked tool box. My first aid kit is pretty extensive too. But spare animal and insect limbs and wings are not something I have handy, so I am now feeling wholly inadequate as a Moth mender.

However, I watched the JTM fly about 3m in my garden in what I think is a fairly normal way but I've only had three days' introduction to him so I am no expert. So now I am worrying about whether I should try to catch him and clip his other wing too to make him equal - or not.

The chances are I shan't see him again but, if I do, he will be easy to catch. So what to do for the best?

Later note: He was around the garden for over a week. My last sighting was at my front door. He was inside when I got back from work. I tried to catch him to put him back into the garden but he flew out the front into the road. Oh I hope he found wild Buddleja or another garden and not someone's car windscreen.

Even later note: And on 27 August a new one, with perfect wings, arrived so now I am not sure whether I have had two or three visiting. There must be a little colony around here - or even hiding somewhere in my garden. It was preceded that day by a Speckled Wood butterfly which I've not seen here before either.

 

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