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Mother Shipton

Mother Shipton Moth – Callistege mi

Callistege mi

One of the more unusual day flying moths I’ve encountered on Morgans Hill is the Mother Shipton Callistege mi which has a very distinctive cream-edged dark brown central blotch on each forewing which is said to resemble the face of an old hag or witch. Look and you’ll see a beady eye, long hooked nose, downturned mouth and knobbly chin.

Interestingly Mother Shipton may have been a real person. Ursula Southeil, a witch born in Knaresborough, Yorshire in 1488. Said to have the sort of face only a mother could love she nonetheless became Britain’s most famous prophetess. Her many prophecies included the Civil War, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the Great Fire of London, the death of Cardinal Wolsey and her own death in 1561.

Back to the moth, it’s reasonably common in England in Wales on wasteland and open downland. Tricky to photograph though due to its short, rapid flight. As soon as you focus and begin to press the shutter release, whoosh it’s off again.

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