Colours Of The Night

Although moths are largely creatures of the night and could perhaps be expected to be drab in appearance, in fact they range from plain black or white to colours that can be subtle or brilliant. Wing patterns too can be cryptic or flamboyant, size can be from tiny to large, and the following images illustrate some of the moths displaying these characteristics that can be highlights of a night’s mothing.

The Wingia genus, (Oecophoridae) has eight Australian members of which three have been photographed locally, they are always a delight to see come to the light.

Wingia aurata.

Wingia hesperidella.

Wingia lambertella.

Aeolochroma metarhodata, the Tea-tree Emerald (Geometrinae) can be quite variable, these two images show some beautiful subtle colour.

Anything but subtle, the Showy Geometrid, Niceteria macrocosma,

And the Bright Geometrid, Lychnographa agaura, both from the Nacophorini.

The latter species photographed on the forest floor.

A tiny jewel to conclude, Cebysa leucotelus, (Psychidae) a pristine male photographed on a window pane, click image to enlarge.


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.