LEPIDOPTERA

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After three wonderful months in London, I’m now writing this from more Northerly lattitudes in my little apartment in Manchester. Last Friday was my last day as a fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology where as well as writing a peer-reviewed briefing on marine microplastic pollution (hopefully to be soon published) I did a considerable amount of gallivanting around the palace of Westminster, gawping at the fact that I was allowed into the building as an employee. Needless to say, when the time came to return to my PhD (with a rather large deadline looming around this time next year) I was rather sad; but there are many exciting things afoot back home, not least prepping for this year’s field season.

I spent my last week in the city basking in the sunshine, and on Wednesday we took the tube a couple of stops down to the Natural History Museum for a lunchtime jaunt around their summer butterfly house. It was brimming with a variety of species fluttering through the air like tissue paper, and peppered with young caterpillars. We even managed to see a female carefully laying her eggs, which looked like intricate glass baubles. Most impressive of all were were two atlas moths which had recently emerged. They were so enormous that, like a four-year-old, I let out a loud gasp when I first saw them and had to get up close to check they were real. Such a wonder of nature- I can’t imagine what it must be like to come across them in the wild. Most of my experiences with massive moths in Ecuador involved them repeatedly flying into my face while I was trying to watch The Wire- but I imagine these guys would be more civilized.

 

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The Natural History Museum’s Sensational Butterflies tent is open until the 11th September.

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