Feed on


Night time temperatures have remained low until now, so it seemed timely on the first mild night of spring to sample moths from the garden. The action was far from brisk with only a small number of arrivals, mainly common species, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have their time in the spotlight. The rig was set up in the workshop doorway to escape the breeze, and a few moths like this male Crypsiphona ocultaria, (Geometrinae) preferred to settle on the concrete instead of the sheet. It held its wings vertically for a time displaying some of the under-wing detail.

Epyaxa subidaria, (Larentiinae) is a very common moth that flies during every month of the year. This is a female.

Another very common moth is Scopula rubraria, (Sterrhinae) often disturbed when walking through grassy areas. Also a female.

Gastrina cristaria, (Ennominae) is entering its main flying months, this is a male.

One of the smaller Geometrids is Chloroclystis testulata. (Larentiinae) MOV 3 notes that the larvae feed mainly on Acacia flowers. With the Snowy River and Gold Dust Wattles in flower there is plenty of food for them.

Moths in the genus Taxeotis, (Oenochrominae) can be difficult to identify. This one is probably T. perlinearia.

A member of the Oecophoridae, Euchaetis rhizobola is a very attractive moth. The sickle-shaped palps can be seen curving back over the head.

Another bright Oecophorid is Hemibela hemicalypta.

Nola vernalis, (Nolinae) is not unusual from the garden, pointing to a resident population.


The Southern Armyworm, Persectania ewingii (Hadeninae) is also very common to the light. A strong flier it is known to migrate across Bass Strait to Tasmania.

Another Noctuid, Ectopatria horologa (Noctuinae) is quite eye catching.

There are three Victorian species in the Spilosoma genus, (Arctiinae) S. curvata is the most common to the light in this area.

Two other small moths are awaiting identification.

Click all images to enlarge.



In MOV 5,  seven species of Nisista, (Ennominae, Nacophorini), are listed, with three of those named, serrata, galearia, and notodontaria. The others are listed as sp (1) (2) (3) and (4), the three named species and sp (2) and (4) have come to my light at various local locations. Many photos are included to show variations. The first recorded was Nisista serrata, and it has turned up on a number of occasions. Four males are shown, larvae feed on acacia foliage, and the main flight months for adults are in spring.

The Serrated Crest-moth.

Nisista sp(2) has also been recorded more than once, this male’s appearance is striking, it was photographed in October at Holey Plains State Park.

Nisista sp(4) on the other hand has so far only come to the light once, at Holey Plains State Park, it is a female. Flight months are in spring.

Nisista notodontaria flies mainly in April and May, the larvae feed on the fresh growth of a variety of native plants. The third pictured is a female.

The Annulus Crest-moth.

Nisista galearia flies at various times throughout the year with June the main month. The two pairs of short brown lines plainly seen on the wings of the moth in the first two images are part of the identifying features. The final two images show spectacular variation. All are males and were photographed once again at Holey Plains State Park.

The Winter Crest-moth.

Click to enlarge.

References and further reading,

M Hewish,
Moths of Victoria Volume Five.



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