Very unusual colouration of a Silver Y moth

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PostWed Jan 16, 2013 12:57 am » by Evildweeb


Very unusual colouration of a Silver Y moth


A 'normal' silver Y moth - Courtesy of Beryl Ladd


A dark blue Silver Y moth, photographed by Beryl Ladd.

Melanistic moth puzzle

January 2013. The Silver Y moth is common in the UK, and is a well-known moth (at least in mothing circles.). They are mostly a mix of light brown and grey with a distinctive silver-coloured Y shaped mark in the middle of each wing.

However Beryl Ladd has sent us an image of a very unusual specimen, which appears to be mostly dark blue! Beryl has been told that it is dark blue because it was produced in cold conditions and thus needs a dark colouring to absorb the sun. Wildlife Extra has no idea if that is true or not.

Industrial melanism

There is a well-known, and very interesting, phenomenon called industrial melanism, first noticed in peppered moths. Peppered moths used to be mostly white with flecks of grey, but during the industrial revolution it was noticed that some peppered moths had become much darker, and in some cases nearly black. This was attributed to the moths blending in with the soot covered trees they found in their habitat. More recently, they have become much whiter again as the soot has disappeared.

Leucism (or Leukism)

Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures. ... ue.html#cr


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