April In The Tall Forest.

With moth numbers in the low country much reduced due to climatic conditions, it was time to see what the situation was at a higher elevation. Gladstone Creek drains the country south of Mount Moornapa, and this tall forest has been probably the most productive site sampled, with many good records in the abundant species to the light over recent years. The trees and tall shrubs looked in reasonable condition despite the drought, but the bracken fern had largely died off with only an odd green frond to be seen. Thankfully this area escaped the recent fires that burnt huge expanses of the nearby ranges, but despite those fires, notices tacked to trees advised that the department intends to burn another large adjacent block of bush. A warm calm night was ideal, but again, as in recent sessions, moths were slow arriving and low in numbers.

However, all was not lost with the first in an interesting small Hepialid, Fraus simulans.

It always pays to check the back of the sheet, and on this occasion doubly so, for there was a moth that has apparently only recently become established in the state, Holocryptis phasianura. (Acontiinae) This was just the second local sighting after the first was photographed on a window pane in November 2011, link.

Also a good sighting was the unusual Chlenias MOV sp (6) (Nacophorini) a male.

MOV 5 notes that a thorough revision of the genus Chlenias is needed. This is a female, possibly from the banksiaria group.

Another Geometrid, (Azelina) biplaga, (Lithinini)

And Hypobapta tachyhalotaria, (Geometrinae)

Epicoma MOV sp (1) (Notodontidae) is regular at this site, this was a very fresh male.

Two Noctuids to conclude, Proteuxoa restituta, (Amphipyrinae)

And Sandava scitisignata, (Hypeninae)

Click to enlarge.
References and further reading
Moths of Victoria Volumes 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

All moths photographed can be seen here.

April in the Box/Ironbark

Following on from the previous post, the bush is extremely dry with the continuing drought, and the number and range of moths to the light was well below par. Just one sizeable moth came in briefly, a Monoctenia, but it quickly flew off into the night and didn’t return. The Painted Cup Moth, Doratifera oxleyi (Limacodidae) is flying at the moment with females coming to the light.

The male is quite different, here is one from a previous occasion.

The Orange Cup Moth, Pseudanapaea transvestita also came in.

Pyralids were among the most numerous at the light. Salma species can be most attractive with their neat and tidy appearance featuring subtle colours and patterns.

Salma cholica.

Salma marmorea.

Larvae of the Jagged Bark-moth, Lipogya exprimataria, (Boarmiinae) feed on foliage of Exocarpos cupressiformis. A large tree stands near the mothing spot, and the adults have been regular at the light during flight months, April being the peak time.

About the only other Geometrid to come in was the Grey-caped Line Moth, a female
Stibaroma melanotoxa (Nacophorini)

Small moths were the most numerous and included these two Tortricids,

Meritastis pyrosemana

Meritastis lythrodana.

Nola monozona (Nolinae) is known as the Epaulette Tuft-moth for obvious reasons.

And to conclude, a rather worn little longhorned moth, Crocanthes micradelpha, (Lecithoceridae) The larvae, In common with many of the small moths feed on dead leaves on the forest floor, helping to recycle them and reduce fire risk. This mothing location has not been burnt for over sixty years, is very open, and the recycling of the leaf litter occurring due to abundant invertebrate life is an object lesson in the efficiency of the natural processes.