December.

On the third of January this year, a big surprise was finding a Batwing Moth caterpillar on an Angophora costata in the garden, post here. Then in May, an adult of this autumn flying species came to the light, raising the intriguing possibility that a population was becoming established in the garden. Two days ago while looking for photographic subjects on the garden trees, one of the Forest Red Gums came up with the goods.

Yes, another Batwing Moth caterpillar in its daytime retreat from where it goes up into the canopy at night to feed. This individual is larger than the one photographed in January, being one hundred and thirty millimetres long from head to tail, an impressive creature.

This development seems to confirm that we now have a population of this spectacular big moth in our garden trees, that include several species of eucalypt plus two of the angophoras. It will be interesting to continue monitoring this species in our trees.

Click the last two images to enlarge.

The Anthelidae #2.

Twenty two species of Anthela are listed for Victoria, many are from the north of the state, while six have come to the light locally, viz. acuta, repleta, nicothoe, ocellata, addita, and ferruginosa. Acuta is extremely variable and is properly referred to as the acuta complex, as further study may indicate that there are more than one species involved. Repleta is also variable and the same situation may possibly be valid. While many of the Anthelids are autumn fliers, the Anthela species pictured may fly in during much of the year, except perhaps the coldest winter months.

A. acuta, the Common Anthelid.
The first image is typical of those encountered at home, it is a male. The second is a female, and the next two males show some of the variability of moths from further afield. Larval food plants include Acacias.

A. repleta, the Replete Anthelid.
Images of three males, again showing the variability, larval food plants as for acuta.

A. nicothoe, the Urticaring Anthelid.
In contrast to the above two species, A. nicothoe has been a rarity at my light with just one male and two females to show for many night’s mothing. Two females first, then two males, the second a lovely individual from Providence Ponds, photograph courtesy of Peter Marriott. The larvae again feedĀ  on Acacias, plus the widely grown plantation tree Pinus radiata. As the common name suggests, the larvae have stinging hairs that can cause urticaria.

A. ocellata, the Eyespot Anthelid.
This aptly names species can also be variable in its markings as seen in these three females. The larvae are grass feeders, the reason perhaps why the first moth refused to come to the sheet but stayed in the grass, possibly having eggs to lay.

A. addita, the Reddish Anthelid.
Again, like A. nicothoe, only occasional at my light, two females.

A. ferruginosa, the Rusty Anthelid.
In March this year at Glenmaggie, a number came to the light for the first time, all females with some the worse for wear, this was one of the freshest. Grass feeding larvae.

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