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.
 

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