Monday, April 26, 2010

Moths in the Karoo

In the chilly morning on Doornberg, at the Vleihuisie, I walked outside and noticed a moth sitting quite still on the stone wall of the little house. Then I saw another. As my eyes became attuned to moth pattern recognition, the walls turned into moth mosaics. There they all were: the indistinct flying objects of the previous night, beating softly against the glass door to get in to the light, now in perfect focus. They were absolutely gorgeous.

I was mesmerised, and very sorry that I had not brought along my mother's South African insect book. Put that on my wish list.

They looked like fur coat-wearing ghosts from the 1920's.

As the day warmed, their numbers dwindled.

If anyone is good with moths...

...please help me identify them.

A whole world to explore.

I'm falling in love again...never wanted to, what am I to do?

I can't help it.


  1. Lovely! Try

    That's how we found what my huge and creepy Australian bagworm was.

  2. I love the green one. My gut instinct is that the good looks of the moth not only offer camouflage, but are evolved to our appreciation so that we don't destroy them because of their bugger vegetable eating stage!

    We must figure out our moths. The only one I know in both moth and larval stage is the cabbage moth and its not even a moth, its a butterfly!

  3. The one with wings outspread, that looks like a Dakota is an Equine Maiden, Thyretes hippotes. Feeds on Pentzia and inhabits fynbos to succulent karoo. Havn't got round to the others yet. Your pictures are much better than the insect book !! The Charaxes came back and has been sitting on the sunbird feeder all day.

  4. Thanks Rachel!
    Bagworms, yuck.

    Frank - there were so many of the green ones, too. So nice and still in the morning, so fluttery at night. I don't know the small white but I suuuuure know that green caterpillar! Huh.

    Hen! Thank you. Now please work on the others. You have the book ^^ So interesting about the Equine maiden (! sounds like a racehorse or a heavy metal band) - because we were surrounded by pentzia.

    And Estorbo says: Pleeeeease: wride the Meenkey People. I need a classy blarg to

  5. Moths? I don't see moths, I see elegant evening gowns and cloaks in silk, velvet, ermine. Moths?

    (And I'm thinking Equine Maiden could be a cocktail for the Derby, perhaps?)
    Yes, I've had a long day!

  6. Is someone calling me a... moth???

  7. Amazing diversity from one little Vleihuisie! amazing


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