Old lady found dead in a spider web

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 12 November 2010 18:34

I went looking for spiders in the workshop at Woods Mill on my lunch break today (as you do) and failed to find anything in there other than Pholcus phalangioides. I did find, in a very cobweb filled window, two wings and a leg of a large moth that I instantly recognized as an Old Lady. This big moth is quite local and not all that easy to catch in moth traps (although they do come to light). It's the first one I have seen at Woods Mill. These moths fly in July and August and during periods of hot weather they 'aestivate'. They enter a period of dormancy in a safe, cool, sheltered spot, just like the Woods Mill workshop that is very cool in mid summer. Sadly, when things cooled down, this old dear must have tried to escape via the window which is exactly where all the spiders were waiting. However, the moth is not named after its inability to cope with hot weather, years ago I read somewhere it was named after its similarity to a Victorian pensioner's petticoat although I can't find the reference. If anyone else can confirm this I would appreciate the comment. Have a look in your sheds during hot spells in mid summer, there may be an uninvited Old Lady hanging out.

1 Response to "Old lady found dead in a spider web"

Ralph Davey Says:

I found this:

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