The Pygmy Thyris fenestrella (Fr. le Sphinx pygmée) is a day flying moth found all over calcareous areas of central and southern Europe and into Asia Minor. The species is warmth loving and the adults fly during the summer months. The caterpillars eat clematis.
The species gets its scientific name because it has a series of translucent patches or 'windows' in its wings. They look white in this photo.
I photographed this one in June at Chaumussay when I was checking for orchids. It is nectaring on Wild Privet Ligustrum vulgare (Fr. le Troène commun), another lover of calcareous soils.
I have always been mystified in English by the word Moths not knowing exactly what they were. Today I found out they were in French papillons de nuit as opposed to butterflies papillons de jour. Better late than never!
So, why this day flying moth is a moth and not a butterfly? Is there a nocturnal butterfly?
chm: the answer is really long and complicated. Basically there is a tradition that day flying clubbed antennaed lepidoptera are butterflies in English and night flying thread antennaed lepidoptera are moths. But there are lots of day flying exceptions in the moths. No night flying butterflies though.
Thank you Susan. The antennae explain it.
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