Posted by: Ross Gardner | June 6, 2019

Beauty in miniature

June arrives in the woods with concerted hum – not necessarily audibly so – of life.  It is a hum that can indeed be heard, but is also one that can persists on the very edge of your senses – not quite heard, but you know it’s there nevertheless.

Such is the burgeoning of woodland plantlife, seeing some of those creatures that contribute theirs to the throng can be more of a difficulty than one might expect.  The trickle of birdsong and the twitterings of fledgling birds all too often come from deep, verdurous cover.  The life of a June wood can sometimes seem little more than so many flitterings and scurries among the undergowth and amid the canopy overhead.

But there is, of course,  the flicker of smaller lives and smaller wings that glimmer in and out of the sunshine.  If we shift our focus then that hum comes more firmly and more fully into our senses.  And what things might we then discover……

Alabonia geoffrella

At barely a single centimetre in length the micromoth Alabonia geoffrella can easily go unnoticed, but what a little beauty it is.


So too the closely related and rather scarce Dasycera oliviella.

Degeer's Longhorn 6

And what about the gleaming hues of the stunning longhorn moth Nemophora degeerella ?

Micropterix calthella on buttercup

Smaller yet – perhaps less than half a centimetre long – are the golden flakes of Micropterix calthella. Look for them crowded on to buttercup flowers in the damper woodland clearings. Micropterix species are unique in being the only moths to have biting mouthparts with which they chew pollen.


The otherwordly charms of a Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) nymph; the miniscule embodiment of a summer in the making.


  1. Interesting article. I was struck by your mention of Micropterix with its chewing mouthparts. The results of a little googling suggest that Micropterix is one of the older moth lineages and this might be the ancestral condition. Now I want to read more on this subject. Thanks.

    • Thank you Tim. Glad you found it interesting. I’ve not posted on my blog for quite a while. You contacting me might just be the impetus I need to pick it up again.

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