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.


Ghost Moths #2.

Trictena atripalpis is commonly known as the Rain Moth, due to its habit of emerging from the ground with the autumn rains, and then often fluttering at lighted windows at night. It is variable in colour and pattern, and it is possible that more than one species may be lumped under the T. atripalpis name. (MOV 6) In the latter they have been separated into two groups, a larger plain form with less reticulate wing markings and brown antennae, and a smaller form with more defined reticulate markings and dark antennae. The first image is a female of the first group, then a male in the second group. The larvae of this moth live in tunnels underground, where they feed on the roots of trees such as the red  and manna gums. When the adult moth emerges, the empty pupal case can be seen protruding from the tunnel.

The next moth, the Intricoid Corbie, Oncopera intricoides, is noted in MOV 6 as being rarely encountered and apparently restricted to forested areas. This individual, the only one I’ve recorded was photographed in Red Gum and Silver Wattle bush beside the Macalister River in Bellbird Corner reserve. The larvae live underground and emerge at night to feed. The main flight times are from October to January, this individual was recorded in November 2011.

Oxycanus dirempta, known as the Variable Oxycanus, is in fact just that, very variable, and again MOV 6 notes that more than one species may be involved. The larvae emerge from their vertical tunnels in the ground to feed on leaf litter at night. The first two images show some of the variability. Flight time is autumn to early winter.

MOV 6 notes that Oxycanus janeus, the Mountain Oxycanus was first recognised as being present in Victoria in 2009, it inhabits dry sclerophyll forest, but this one was photographed at a lighted window in a native garden environment with many trees, just outside Maffra in May 2011. The flight time is as for O. dirempta.

The final post in this series will deal with local moths in the genus Abantiades.

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