Friday, December 22, 2017

So long 2017 it's been good to know you...

The December edition of 'It's a Bug's Life' that has just been published, will be my last contribution to Magnet magazine. When I started writing for them in 2014 I expected that perhaps it might be something I would be doing for a year or two at most. As it turned out, it was four years. 

I really enjoyed the experience and had, and still have, a great relationship with everyone at Magnet. I wish them continued success and thank them for the opportunity to be a part of the team for those four years. 

This from Magnet editor Adele Tratham:

"I hope you appreciate this decision is purely for the fact we have to continually evolve and change.
You have been an absolute delight to have as a contributor and have always delivered great content on time, with your wonderful images, and I know our readers have enjoyed your features very much.

Can't thank you enough!"


I will leave the published articles here as an archive for the time being. Here is my last contribution, which will also be on the 'Magnet' tab at the top of the home page of my blog.

I will still be writing my articles each month for the Wealden and look forward to what will be my sixth year of contributions.

An update on the Indian moon moths: the eggs that I had seem to be unfertilised, as none are showing any signs that caterpillars may emerge soon. The moths themselves were delightful to have around for the few short days that they live. I managed to keep a male and a female that were in reasonably good condition after passing away naturally. I thought I would try to mount and frame them if I could preserve them well enough.

I Googled some instructions and constructed a board to pin them. They were to stay like this for 4 to 5 weeks until set. Here's a close-up of the male; you can see that there is just one pin through the abdomen. This would later be cut close to the body so that it wouldn't show when framed. 

The first one that I mounted and framed was the male, which went well and I was quite pleased with the result. The female however was something of a challenge. It broke into pieces as I released it from the pin-board and so I had to try and reassemble it. I think it worked out reasonably well considering my ignorance of the process...

A while ago wildlife artist Gordon Corrins asked if he could use my photograph of a green hairstreak butterfly as a reference for a painting he was wanting to do. When it was completed, he was kind enough to send me an original print of the painting. I have framed the print now, but below is the scan he emailed to me, next to my original photo...

There has been little time or opportunity to get out looking for bugs over the past few weeks. I doubt there is much of interest to be seen at this time of year anyhow. I did spot a spider moult in the garden shed though and thought it would make an interesting subject to photograph, as the moult also included its fangs!

Female Giant House Spider Moult

That's about it for this year then: goodbye 2017


  1. Wow JJ! You did a phenomenal job mounting those moths! They look amazing! Congrats!
    Lovely painting that artist did too!

    Reckon regular readers will miss your contributions to Magnet. Such brilliant, informative and beautifully illustrated articles!

    1. Many thanks Maria. It was a labour of love. As for Magnet, I have since found out that they have actually now merged with a larger publication and guess that is why they decided to part company with me (and incidentally ALL the other monthly contributors).


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