It's a pleasure to have been visited this week by the moth in my first two pictures which is either a Treble-bar or a Lesser Treble-bar; the two are too similar for your humble servant to tell apart. The family also includes a slightly more exciting-looking Purple Treble-bar and - a moth which appeals greatly to my Northern connections - a Manchester Treble-bar.
As with the mystery of hawk moth caterpillar horns, I have failed as yet to find an explanation online for the 'Manchester' part of this name, other than the rather vague suggestion that the moth is commonest in northern parts of the UK. The excellent website of the Islay Natural History Trust, reporting last year on finding three Manchesters in a moth trap, notes wryly: "We're not very close to Manchester, but this attractive small moth has a scattered distribution across Scotland as well as northern England."
Initially I wondered if it was named by the finely-named taxonomist and great 20th century moth expert Louis Beethoven Prout whose obituary is here . His father was another outstanding character, the musician and teacher Ebenezer Prout, on whom there is more online if you are in a dilly-dallying mood. Prout junior gave the moth its scientific name of Carsia sororiata in 1937 but the English name was already in use in 1830 when the beautiful engraving below was made by John Curtis for his celebrated part-work British Entomology. The Manchester was also known to Curtis as the Dyed Treble-bar, so perhaps a set of references to the colourful textile industry of the supposedly 'grim' North provides the answer.
I am very familiar with the only other moth to have 'Manchester' in its English name, albeit a name which is little-used as the species is a micro which has not been seen alive since 1829. Here, below, is a summary of its interesting history from my book True North, which I urge you to buy at every opportunity, and for all friends' birthdays etc.
The story had a further complication in that the moth's scientific name of Euclemensia woodiella was given to it by none other than John Curtis who was sent one of Cribb's catches by a mutual friend and collector, and made a mistake in his attribution, which was printed in British Entomology alongside the fine engraving below:
"The only specimen I have seen of this beautiful Moth, which is larger than the others, is a female; it was taken on Kersall-moor the middle of last June by Mr. R. Wood, of Manchester, to whom I have the pleasure of dedicating it;—a most zealous and successful naturalist, to whose liberality I am indebted for many valuable insects."
To conclude, here are some more of my visitors earlier this week:
|A Common White Wave|
|A well-named Snout|
|A Flame Carpet|
|and a Green one|
|Flame and Green together, the second a faded specimen whose green has all but gone|