THE FIRST THING that struck me when I saw this moth in the light trap was the tracery on its wings. Now that I know it is the gothic, Naenia typica, I can see that it resembles the patterns found in the stained glass windows of gothic cathedrals. Its relative the Bordered Gothic dispenses with the pointed tops to the arches and has more of an Art Nouveau look, as if it had been designed by Aubrey Beardsley rather than Hugh of Lincoln or Bram Stoker.
The larvae feed on a range of wild and cultivated plants including willowherb, cleavers, comfrey and sallow.
I KEPT THINKING of the patterns on sea-shells as I drew this moth, the mother of pearl, Pleuroptya ruralis. At 15-17 mm, three-quarters of an inch, it’s no midget but it’s classified as a micro-moth, one of the Crambidae, a group which also includes grass-moths, china-marks and the small magpie.
You might disturb the mother of pearl in daylight in a nettle patch. Its green larva rolls a nettle leaf for protection. Its larvae will also feed on elms.