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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

03 January, 2017

Hoplodrina blanda: the rustic moth

This is the rustic moth (Hoplodrina blanda): 'blanda' just about sums it up! What can you say about an insect that is rather bland and nondescript? Even my text book finds it hard to come up with anything. Well, first of all, you can say that despite its bland appearance to the human eye it is, like all nature, an requisite little creature. Everything it needs to survive and thrive is packed in to that little body and that is something I just have to marvel at.
Whilst the few markings on the wing remain constant the background colouring can be quite variable with some a dark greyish brown and at the other extreme a light, silvery brown. The lighter ones may be bland but actually are a delicate mottled brown when seen close up. it is quite a small moth, about a centimetre long, that flies at night but is readily attracted to light. It has a passion for ragwort and also adores buddleia and generally common in the south from July through until September in dry habitats and is very likely to be found in gardens. The eggs are laid mainly on members of the dock family and over winter as larvae, pupating in May ready for a July emergence.
The choice of common name is interesting. Rustic means "made in a plain and simple fashion" and is synonymous with plain, simple, homely and unsophisticated. Now does that not sum up this rather' ordinary' moth?  
Hoplodrina blanda: the rustic moth