Five Photos Five Stories Challenge Day Two | The Cinnabar Moth

cinabar moth3

The other day I came home and opened my front door, nearly stepping on this little fellow. He was very determinedly making his way across the doormat towards the door. I wondered if he had just hatched, because he made no attempt to fly, but kept intermittently fanning his wings. I held the door open for him, and he went out onto the doorstep, from where the breeze reached him and lifted him up.

I assumed he was a butterfly, but later discovered he is a MOTH! Who would have thought it? So unlike his usual drab friends.

The day flying cinnabar moth is common in Ireland, feeding exclusively on the toxic plant, ragwort, with its glorious yellow flowers, and as a result is poisonous to would be predators, hence his bright warning colours.

Having said that, I’ve had lots of moths and butterflies in my house and garden over the years, but have never seen one of these. I’d remember, because his markings are so beautiful and distinctive.


I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Sue Vincent, who takes the most beautiful images and always has a story to tell about them. I would like to nominate fellow blogger and author, Sacha Black, because she tells a great story, and I love her style.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


36 Comments on “Five Photos Five Stories Challenge Day Two | The Cinnabar Moth

    • Hi Marje! I know, usually all we see are the dull brown ones, and the pale ghostly ones. I saw two of these moths this year, both in my house, and have never seen them before in all the years I have lived here. Or maybe I have seen them fluttering around the garden and thought they were butterflies!

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  1. What a stunning moth. Like the Atlas moth – thats gorgeous too. I happen to be named after a moth – my real name. loving the branding you got going on too Ali πŸ™‚

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  2. Ah we will make a lepidopterist of you yet, Ali! Bugs have been a large part of my life as my father bred them and my brother and I joined in as kids. My brother even took his passion so far as to become a fellow of the royal entomological society. The yellow and black caterpillars are still common on ragwort in the UK so I’m sure the same goes for Ireland and as you say are a great way to remove these from a sheeps diet. They are similar to the burnet moths with red spots who are also diurnal. People do think they are butterflies because they are day flying but they both have the classic way of folding their wings flat to the leaf rather than as butterflies do, upright and together. If you are looking for beautiful moths that you will find locally to you, look up hawk moths esp the elephant hawk moth (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deilephila_elpenor) or the tiger moths (http://butterfly-conservation.org/51-1492/scarlet-tiger.html)

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    • Ah… I dont think so Geoff! Im very squeamish around bugs! And you have amazed me with the things your family do in their spare time lol! Thanks for the links, they are stunning creatures. I will definitely keep my eyes peeled! Always learning…

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    • I know! I thought moths were drab dull things, but not all of them, it seems. Life is full of wonder,,we’re always learning!

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  3. That’s such a beautiful moth!

    I generally don’t like bugs, but I always help them when they get caught in my house. And then, butterflies are more gentily. But I promise, I also help spiders and wasps, when I can… even if those, I’m really afread of.

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    • I know… I just couldnt believe he was a moth at first, but moths fold their wings horizontally, and butterflies vertically, besides which, those markings are so distinctive, there was no arguing with the facts! Life is full of surprises…

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