In Praise of Horrid Zales

Horrid Zale by ammodramus88
Horrid Zale, a photo by ammodramus88 on Flickr.

Today I saw the first Horrid Zale moth of the season. Although I don’t have a list of favorite moths, Horrid Zale is probably on that list. I smile every time I see one.

It has a wonderful common name (although “horrid” is apparently not the best translation of the Latin “horrida” in this case; Bob Patterson suggests that “shaggy” is a better translation).

It’s easy to identify.

It’s common.

It looks snazzy in an understated way. It looks a lot like a Mourning Cloak butterfly, assuming the mourning cloak had some gilt embossing on the hem.

Happy spring! Horrid Zales are back!

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2 thoughts on “In Praise of Horrid Zales

  1. Hmm. I like “grizzly” too, but that seems to have the essential connotation of “grayness,” which this moth is not (according to my Concise OED). On the other hand, my main mental association with “grizzly” is “grizzly bear,” which is a shaggy creature.

    Anyway, they will probably be coming to your neighborhood soon, if they’re not there already.

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