The Moth Ball

Moth-er Day

Mar 14

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Come on let's crawl
Gotta crawl, gotta crawl
To the ugly bug ball
To the ball, to the ball
And a happy time we'll have there
One and all
At the ugly bug ball!"

~ Ugly Bug Ball, Sherman Brothers, from Summer Magic (1963)

Although a few moth species may be interested in eating a hole in your kilt or sash, these fluttering creatures are important pollinators and a key part of a food chain. Butterflies and moths belong to the same order, Lepidoptera, but over 90% of this order are moths, making them one of the most diverse and successful organisms on earth with an estimated 500,000 moth species! Their intricate camouflage inspired scientists to define what camouflage means in the animal kingdom. Some are visual mimics, such as moth caterpillars that look like twigs and adult moths that blend in with tree bark. Others use "startle markings," like the underwing moths that flash brightly colored hindwings to distract pursuing predators. Tiger moths produce ultrasonic clicking sounds that confuse sonar-guided bats. Moths can be both nocturnal and diurnal, flying both by night and by day! Should you want to attract moths for night viewing or lure them away from your tartan, they have an acute sense of smell and are attracted by the irresistible scent of bananas, molasses, and beer! 🦋

The Moth Ball

Moth-er Day celebrates the butterfly's nocturnal and crepuscular (and even sometimes diurnal) brethren.

 

This dance was devised by Ian Dickson of the Herrington Scottish Country Dance group to mark a time when a moth joined the set and flittered between the dancers!

Light navigators, moths are particularly susceptible to confusion by man-made light.  Moths mostly fly by night, using the light from the moon for navigation.  The basic principle behind the moth's orientation is to fly in a straight line - it attempts to keep a constant angle with respect to the rays from the brightest object in its eyes.

Problems occurs at night when other light sources shine brighter than the moon, such as a sodium vapour lamp or candles.  It was once believed that moths were attracted to a candle's flame, but in reality, their navigation strategy is fooled by the artificial light.  

And for a better  explanation of why moths are attracted to flames, lights, and the occasional Scottish Country Dance, click the vintage French trading card with an Apollo Moth Fairy.

The Moth Ball
The Moth Ball

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