Sunday, May 07, 2006

Chloroclystis filata and the bear umbrella.

Since Dead Wasp went to Te Papa and we saw her in detail Iris hasn't had her in bed with her. Tonight on the way to brush her teeth Iris spotted a moth on the floor. We looked at it for a while and then she very importantly bustled off to get a pot to put it in. She found the pot that had been Hazel's Caterpillar's home and we got the moth in. She rushed off to show Sean and Hazel, who were satisfactorily impressed. Then we had to get Our Insect Book (as Andrew Crowe's Which New Zealand Insect is called around here) put our glasses on, and pore over it comparing the pictures with the moth. It's a 2 cm or so wide stripey brown moth with a stripey brown body whose stripes connect up with the wing stripes. Its head has a little point. It's antenna are not fluffy nor do they have fatter bits at the end.

After quite some time we allowed ourselves to leave the moth and went to brush our teeth. Hazel kindly went and put the moth in its pot on Iris's pillow and Iris and I took Our Insect Book to her room to read before bed. She looked and looked and we talked about lots of stripey moths' fluffy antenna and smooth round heads. Finally we found the Australian Pug moth (every time I type that I spell Pug with a final 'b'), Chloroclystis filata, who came here of its own accord in the 1960s and is now common all over New Zealand. It likes gorse and kanuka (I hope it won't die of starvation in one night but it's rather wet and dark out there).

"Yes, that one, Austral-li-lan Pug one, my moth!"

I had just started re-hashing the investigative process in a triumphantly pedagogical kind of a way when I noticed that Iris, one hand on the moth's pot, was already asleep. I gently removed her glasses.

My work there was done. I heard the front door open so I popped in to see Hazel who told me that Sean was out in the rain getting her umbrella out of the car for her to sleep with.

"Isn't it a bit silly to sleep with an umbrella?" I asked as politely as possible.
"Not when it's a new teddy one!" she replied almost without patronising me.


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