Millions of moths mass on Madrid

2013-06-18 09:33

(Jack Guez, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Madrid – Millions of moths have engulfed Madrid in a population explosion blamed on spring rains, a sudden blast of summer heat and winds that have wafted them in as unwelcome guests to the Spanish capital.

Across the city, people are swapping tales of nighttime battles to swat moths lured by the light into their bedrooms, a whole new genre of jokes has been born and the phenomenon has become a trending Twitter topic.

No-one is sure of precisely where they came from.

Roger Vila, researcher at the butterfly diversity and evolution laboratory in the northeastern city of Barcelona identified three types of moth from photographic evidence: the gamma, noctua and catocala.

Many of them flew to the capital from southern Spain but others may have migrated from northern Africa on a long journey across the Gibraltar Strait to destinations across Europe, he told AFP.

"What happened is that there were very special climactic conditions," Vila explained.

After a cold, wet spring, the weather suddenly turned hot just as the moths were ready to emerge from their chrysalides, the scientist said.

The flying insects, which carry no health risk and are not the clothes-eating variety, probably ended up in Madrid because of prevailing winds, Vila said.

"They live for about a week so they will certainly die within a few days," he added. "The only question is whether more arrive at some point."

Jose Maria Camera, a vet at the Madrid city hall's health department, said there were countless moths in the city.

Residents had called the city authorities with sightings of anything from two or three moths to a barely credible 150, he said.

"The first reaction was alarm, then curiosity and even irony and jokes," the city official said.

Many citizens, for example, jokingly blame Atletico Madrid football supporters, who won this year's Spanish Cup and removed their scarves from musty drawers for the supposedly rare celebration.

On Twitter, one twit is sending messages pretending to be a moth (polilla in Spanish) and signing them Polilla de Madrid. One of his latest tweets reads: "The truth is your homes are so comfy. Don't you love the sound of our wings?

Read more on:    spain  |  insects
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Touw River sandbars breached

2014-04-24 21:00

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Minister promises high security on election day

Police will be out in full force in Manenberg on election day, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has told residents of Cape Town's gang-plagued township.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Parow - 06:35 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Plattekloof Road and the N7 Highway
  • Friday Pinelands - 06:29 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC between Duinefontein Road and the Jan Smuts Drive exit
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.