The Emperors.

Magnificent moths, the Emperor Gum-moth, Opodiphthera eucalypti, and the Helena Gum-moth, Opodiphthera helena, members of the Saturniidae family. There is another species, O. loranthi that occurs just over the border in NSW and may be one day recorded in Victoria, its larvae are mistletoe feeders. (MOV 1) Both Victorian species fly in spring and summer with January being the main month. The larvae of both feed on eucalypt foliage plus two exotics, the Peppercorn and the Silver Birch. In this area the Helena Gum-moth has been the most frequent visitor to the light, while the Emperor Gum-moth that was common in earlier years seems to be much less so nowadays.

Firstly, four pictures of the male Emperor Gum-moth showing the pale triangular marks on the leading edges of the wings that are a distinguishing feature.

And four of the male Helena, all these moths were photographed in the Holey Plains State Park in springtime.

References and further reading,
Moths of Victoria Vol. 1 second edition.

Ghost Moths #3.

In MOV 6 there are eight species of Abantiades listed for Victoria, and four of the eight have come to the light locally. During a mothing session at Holey Plains State Park  in February 2012, three species were recorded, Abantiades hyalinatus, latipennis, and magnificus. The first image is of hyalinatus and latipennis on the sheet together, giving an indication of the size difference.

Three images now of male A. hyalinatus, the Mustard Ghost Moth, followed by a large plain female.



Male showing eye catching hind wings and body colour.


This moth varies in colour, and sometimes the white markings can be reduced or absent. (MOV6) Several came to the light in Providence Ponds Flora and Fauna Reserve in March 2016, including a male with plain fore wings. The main flight times are from January to April.



Male with plain wings.

But back to Holey Plains and Abantiades latipennis, the Brown Ghost Moth, it flies from January to April and is prevalent in wet forests. Although Holey Plains is mainly a sandy area, the light was set up on this occasion close to a soak and string of waterholes.

A. magnificus, the Magnificent Ghost Moth, in contrast prefers heathland, so both species had their preferred habitat close to the light, the two main flight months are February and March.

Abantiades labyrinthicus, the Labyrinthine Ghost Moth  is another species of wet forests, and Gladstone Creek south of Mount Moornapa supports this type of vegetation due to the higher than average rainfall south of the ridge. A gully leading down from Moornapa to the creek contains rain forest vegetation clearly visible in this Google Earth image. A session beside the creek in February 2016 saw a number of this striking moth come in to the light, main flight months are  January to March.

Click images to enlarge.
References and further reading,
Moths of Victoria Vol. 6.