66. Vapourer

We have hundreds of moth species. But we hardly notice this because, contrary to their gaudy day-loving cousins the butterflies, moths are largely drab in colour and fly by night. One moth that breaks the night-shift rule is the Vapourer. The male is often on the wing at this time of the year, fluttering about incessantly (hence the Maltese name: L-iMferfex!) in search for females. As it doesn't land much, we miss its rich-brown patterned upperwings and orange underwing. The ladies' lot is very different: they are flightless, (ultra-feminists stop reading here) they stay in their woolly pupa, get fertilised in their pupa, die in their pupa and the caterpillars (faint-hearted stop reading here) hatch out of their dead mother! And you thought Alien The Movie was gruesome.

Text and photo by Victor Falzon.

Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

More in Nature