Mating

by Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue June. 23, 2018 1253 views

My daughter told me, it could be a Zyganae ephialtes, which is a European burning moth. Very unpalatable to birds. Nevertheless I had to search for a while. There are some very similar looking moths out there. Now I'm quite sure it's a mating pair of nine-spotted moth, which is also called yellow belted burnet – a Amata phegea. They have only white dots, a yellow belt and the antennae have white tips. The wingspan is somewhere between 35 and 40 mm (1.4–1.6 in).

Victoria wasn't completely wrong, she was cheated by mimicry. The nine-spotted moth imitates its appearance with the same warning coloration as the burning moth. Maybe it's also unpalatable to birds, I don't know and the birds don't know either.

The smaller male moth is on the left side of this mating pair, on the right side is the bigger female moth. The female will lay the eggs on low plants like dandelion, grasses, sorrel, fleaworts and other low plants.

The family Erebida is in English called tiger moths, in German they are called "Bärenspinner". The German name is more fitting, because the fat brown furry caterpillars look like bears.

And again I ask myself: "Why is never enough light to photograph something special and interesting properly?"

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There are 13 comments , add yours!
Antonio Gil 3 years, 3 months ago

Caught in the act. grinning

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Antonio Gil 3 years, 3 months ago

This is proof, that "cranes" don't produce "caterpillars". wink

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 3 years, 3 months ago

You are one lucky girl whose eyes are always wide open. Great shots! I prefer the colored ones over the monochrome.
 Brava!

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Camellia Staab 3 years, 3 months ago

Thanks! blush
The monochrome was a very bad picture in the first place. I tried to photograph them from underneath, couldn't see a thing. The moths came out to dark, the sky to bright and the contrast was ... (I gave up the search for the missing contrast ...). It was just another try to enhance ugly pictures.
It was almost impossible not to see something interesting. The "lucky girl" was surrounded by insects! You should have seen Victoria running after sunset (such a nice dramatic red burning sky). She tried to escape the mosquitos, I didn't know she can run this fast.

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 3 years, 3 months ago

I guess they were more interested in privacy, than being in the spotlight, for your photographic purposes....(grin)
Great catches! I've never seen anything quite like it! Fascinating information, as well!

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Jay Boggess 3 years, 3 months ago

Jeez, I didn't tink about it - Ididn't want to be a peeping tom and for sure I didn't want to do pornographic picture! cold sweatanguishedweary
They are very common in this area, but I would never guessed that this black-bluish moths could be from different families. They look quiet similar. Btw, they fly very slow and wobbly. Of course they are not in a hurry, as bad tasting as they are (or to pretend).

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 3 years, 3 months ago

Hahahahahhahahahahaaaaa...........Yeah, you better be careful, so the International Insect Vice Squad doesn't track you down.....(((GRIN)))

They probably like to try hide, when they "do their thing", because I'm sure they are quite vulnerable to potential predators, when they're all "hooked up" like this.......It would be pretty hard to make a getaway, especially when they are joined & pointed in opposite directions.....

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Jay Boggess 3 years, 3 months ago

bad tasting - no bird want to swallow them ...

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh..........OK.......
I hope all the predators got the "memo"........
(grin)

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 3 years, 3 months ago

This one I have not seen yet here. You caught them in the act

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Berckmans Peter 3 years, 3 months ago

They prefer more southern regions but they could be found around Antwerp too - although maybe less common there. https://fauna-eu.org/cdm_dataportal/taxon/104d0e82-96f9-43dd-9399-3ae910a2368d

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 3 years, 3 months ago

Seen some with red spots

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Berckmans Peter 3 years, 3 months ago

As far as I know the European burning moth (Zyganae ephialtes) can have different colors too.

3 years, 3 months ago Edited
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