Photographic Advent Calendar, Day 23: Canary-shouldered Thorn

To try and keep at least remotely seasonal with my choice of species to describe for Christmas Eve’s advent blog, I have decided to focus on a species which does bear an angel-like appearance at times… (okay, so it is a bit of a tenuous link!)…the Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos aliniaria) is a moth which really epitomises the autumn for me. Although they emerge from pupation as early as July, you generally come across these striking geometrid moths towards the end of August and through September. With their bright yellow thorax, orange and purplish-toned wings and abdomen, they are truly stunning moths. The male specimens attracted to light traps also bear an extra feature: feathered antenna. These delicate bipectinate antenna help the male locate females through the detection of phermones using rows of sensilla (the feathered structures). Common throughout the UK, the larvae feed on a range of herbaceous plants including goat willow (which is probably the primary food source here on Bardsey).

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