Sunday 10 December 2023

Park Life

 With the world apparently trundling towards hell in an accelerating handcart, it is cheering to come across a good news story, so I was delighted to read that a new species of moth – one entirely new to science – has been discovered, in, of all places, a park in that 'queen of suburbs', Ealing. Indeed, it was found in the very park where, as a lad, I used to play with my brother and friends: Walpole Park, developed from the grounds of Sir John Soane's Pitzhanger Manor, which in my day was the public library (the park also, in my day, contained a small zoo or menagerie). The moth is a new species of microlepidopteron, so cannot be described by any stretch as spectacular – but that it should have been discovered at all, let alone in such a location, is quite astonishing: these things very rarely happen. Tachystola mulliganae  – named for Barbara Mulligan, the moth enthusiast who found it – belongs to a genus originating from Australia, and an unidentified microplepidopteron in the Natural History Museum's collection turned out to be an exact DNA match. That specimen was found back in 1886, in the Western Australian town of... Walpole. 
You can read the full story here.

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