12 OCTOBER 1934, Page 15

A Mystery of Migration

We all know of the attraction of particular bushes for particular insects ; but I had not before noticed this associa- tion, and the ways of this hawk moth make its appearance of particular interest. It flies over to us from the Continent in the spring, as does the painted lady (and the red admiral). I have found the two associated together in considerable numbers in May on the South-West coast. Are these autumnal moths (which seem to be in quite unusual numbers) • the produce of a horde that came over in the spring ? One difficulty is that the numbers seen in the spring bear small relation to the numbers that appeared in late September ; and the free distribution along the West Coast is perhaps a little unexpected. What a marvellous creature it is to watch. The wings move so fast that they are invisible ; and this speed of beat enables the insect to stand so still in the air that it appears motionless. While thus momentarily still it does not approach nearer the flower than an inch or so, and yet is able to use its honey-sucking apparatus with as great effect as any perching butterfly that clings firmly and thieves the sweets with due and proper deliberation I