World War 3 and the buttoned snout

We live in strange times. Well, perhaps “strange” is not the most appropriate word. When I read or hear the news (something I cannot always avoid, although I do try), the words of a song from my youth come irrepressibly to mind. “The world has surely lost its head…” sang Fairport Convention back in the early 1970s and how not to agree as Russian tanks roll out across Ukraine, pushing before them a flood of refugees across the nearest frontier and relegating the still unresolved battle with SARS-CoV-2 to the mute subtitles running across the bottom of a screen filled with smoke, mud, rubble and blood. In supermarkets, shoppers are starting to warily eye the shelves of flour and toilet paper and nervy queues are beginning to form in petrol station forecourts, while pundits of every race, creed and degree of expertise expound their theories on geopolitics past and present, sneaking cagily around the no-longer-so dormant peril of nuclear escalation. Oh yes. Happy times indeed.
So what does all this have to do with the little brown moth that alighted yesterday on my computer screen cover. Well, absolutely nothing. And absolutely everything. Because in times like this, caught between the impossibility of turning a blind eye to the world’s madness and the frustration of my complete irrelevance to the improbable restoration of global sanity, the only sensible course of action is to throw myself willy-nilly into the things I love most… and one of those is without doubt photographing little brown moths (and not only).
So allow me to present Hypena rostralis, otherwise known in English by the delightful name of “buttoned snout moth”… buttoned for the pattern on the wings, snout because.. well, because of its snout. And you know, perhaps it isn’t as insignificant as it might seem. Because the caterpillars feed on hops (Humulus lupulus) and in my part of the world (the innermost mountains of Italy’s Abruzzo region), hops grow mainly in damp shrubby or wooded areas, particularly along watercourses, environments continually under threat from water regulation or drainage measures. So it’s safe to assume that I can thank the relatively high degree of naturalness of the banks of my local river Sangro for the presence of my snouted visitor who for a short while managed to oust the missiles and tanks from my personal cerebral RAM.

For my Italian-speaking friends (or anyone wanting to translate into another language), I recommend DeepL translator available clicking here or also as a browser extension for Google Chrome.

Per i miei amici di lingua italiana (o chiunque voglia tradurre in un’altra lingua), consiglio DeepL translator disponibile cliccando qui o anche come estensione per il browser Google Chrome.