Thursday, August 8, 2019

the gypsy moth despaired - imaginary project 16

Lymantria dispar (Linneaus 1758)  Lymantriidae(1893), Noctuidae (2006), then Erebidae (2012) were sought out and brought to America (1869) by artist Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, to be interbred
with Bombyx mori, the domestic silkmoth. Trouvelot's disastrous imagination produces a century of poisons and insect introductions. It is interesting to note two native species, the daddy-long-legs (Pholcus phalangioides) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), have been observed to be very effective predators. The emergent female, shown here, never flies but dies after producing a soft woolen, doe-colored egg pouch. 

Imagine cloaks made of white wings, things as revered as the Gaelic poet's tuigean (teygen), or as that of a Maori kakahu, each exhibiting a kind of cool climate delicacy. Imagine the beautiful brown egg pouch covers collected and pressed into felt for children's slippers or prayer book covers. I've discovered in this moth how the unwanted and reviled deserve attention. This war on a species began with us; our mistakes and manipulations have driven its persecution.  The creature itself? Contemplate this - a gypsy moth's persistence in existing.

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