Taking a Closer Look

mango moth copy

What a moth! This is the photo husband Paul took back in July 2011.

One evening, about 6 years ago, Paul called me over to see a gorgeous winged insect resting on one of our screen doors. What I saw changed me forever.

It turned out to be a Mango Hawk moth (Amplypterus panopus) with a wingspan of 12 cm – almost 5 inches. The beauty of its colours and patterns literally brought tears to my eyes.

We had just moved house, and now lived on a wooded hillside. As no other homes had been built here yet, and there were no street lamps either, at night we were literally the only light on the hill. That meant an incredible treasury of insect visitors, including many, many species of moth.

After the first few weeks of constantly asking Paul to come and take photos of our moth guests (Paul being the professional photographer in our family), I realized it was time to learn how to do it myself. And so began the delightful hobby of insect macrophotography…

Total photo collection so far: https://www.flickr.com/photos/annvanwijgerden/

Moths must be one of the most misunderstood and most maligned creatures on our planet. Be honest: what are the first words that spring to mind when you think of a moth?




a nuisance

a destroyer of clothing

Okay, the offspring of a tiny minority of species of moth may chew a hole or two in a piece of cloth if given the chance.

But the biggest misrepresentation of these creatures concerns their appearance: after all, aren’t they the ugly cousins of the butterfly?

If only we would bother to take a closer look… (*)

That’s the insect world.

How about the world of our fellow human beings?

Would we find any similar ‘blind spots’ in our thinking? Are there people groups, races, cultures, countries, regions, neighbourhoods, neighbours, even family members whom we misunderstand and malign, mostly because we haven’t bothered to take a closer look.

If only we would.

Their beauty just might bring us to tears.


(*) Some of my personal favourites:







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