Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kicking it: Leg Defence

Lesser Magpie moth, Anania hortulata. Note the tibial spurs on both mid-and hind- legs.
While most moths in Ireland employ excellent camouflage to avoid predation, the Lesser Magpie seems to flaunt itself. Its head and thorax are boldly coloured black and yellow, as is the abdomen, black with yellow bands (1). The wings are no less demure; snowy white, outlined black they proudly display a delightful series of brown markings. The Lesser Magpie should well be so bold as it posses a nasty surprise for any potential predators. Elongated tibial spurs on both the midleg and hindleg, being especially pronounced on the latter.
Lesser Magpie moth, Anania hortulata
The binomial name of the Lesser Magpie has recently been in flux, with many synonyms being used in the past (the most common being Eurrhyparra hortulata). However in 2005 the genera Algedonia, Ebulea, Eurrhypara, Opsibotys, and Perinephela from the pyraustine family were synonymised with Anania and the species is now known as Anania hortulata (2). A widepread moth in Ireland, it flies from June to August, the individual pictured being spotted at the end of June last year.

  1. Atay and Can, 2007. Journal of Entomology 4 pp. 479-483
  2. Tränkner et al., 2009. Nota Lepidopterologica 32 pp. 63-80

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