A warm calm night was ideal to sample the moths flying in the box/ironbark bush as February was drawing to a close, and it didn’t disappoint with two nice Amata coming in, a first. The taxonomy of this species is still under consideration, and in MOV Vol. 2 Second Edition it is referred to as Amata nigriceps group sp. (1) (Arctiidae, Ctenuchinae) It is believed the larvae of this striking moth may be litter feeders.
A pristine specimen of the Showy Geometrid, Niceteria macrocosma (Enomminae, Nacophorini) was a delight to see, it flew in three times before finally settling on the sheet.
Another Geometrid, Circopetes obtusata, (Oenochrominae) the Grey Twisted-moth landed on the ground and was moved to an ironbark trunk for safety. This is a female.
Also in the Geometridae, (Sterrhinae), is Idaea pseliota, the Doily Moth. The distribution map in MOV 3 shows it in central Victoria and notes “that insufficient material is available to draw any meaningful conclusions about the biology and distribution of the species in Victoria.” This record may add a little to that knowledge.
A male Tiny Tussock Moth, Oligeria hemicalla (Lymantriidae) was the second record for this locality. It is an uncommon visitor to the light, the female’s wings are vestigial and she cannot fly.
The local Wingia moth species (Oecophorinae) are quite beautiful, the larvae feed on Eucalypt foliage. Three species have come to the light, W. hesperidella, W. lambertella, and on this occasion Wingia aurata, the Golden Leaf Moth.
The big Cossid, Endoxyla encalypti, (Zeuzerinae) one of the so called Wattle Goat Moths is a frequent visitor to the light at this location, Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha is one of the main understory plants and food for the larvae. They often flap around upside down on the groundsheet, causing the thorax to become bald, but this male settled quickly and is near perfect condition. It too was moved to an ironbark for safety.
Finally, something much smaller, one of a surprising number of Hookwing Footmen, Termessa discrepans (Arctiidae, Lithosiinae) that came in.
Click images to enlarge.
More of the night’s moths can be seen here.
References and further reading,
Moths of Victoria Volumes 2, 3, 5,