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Autumn Mothing #1

A warm still night up on Gladstone Creek below Mount Moornapa, still extremely dry, it had missed the recent very localised fall of rain, and the vegetation was showing the effects with wilted foliage. The evening movement and calls of the birds were lacking, they had probably moved closer to water. Bats were active, cutting laps above as darkness was falling. It was a relatively quiet night with many of the moths very worn and tattered, but as always there were some of particular interest. One of the several Emeralds (Geometrinae) that came in was a tick, a female Chlorocoma tetraspila, in quite good condition.

The Four-spotted Emerald.

Another emerald also only slightly worn was Chlorocoma dichloraria, a male.

The Double-fringed Emerald.

Also in the Geometrinae, a male Hypobapta tachyhalotaria. March is the main month for this species.

The Varied Grey.

Moving to the Ennominae, Macariini, Dissomorphia australiaria is a very variable moth. Several came in, this attractive female being one.

The Dashed Geometrid.

Four years and four days previously, a Noctuid, Lophocalama neuritis, (Amphipyrinae), came to the light at Providence Ponds Flora and Fauna Reserve, on this night two appeared, with no other records between the two occasions.

Urocoma limbalis is a member of the Lymantriidae family.

The Bordered Browntail Moth.

Two small moths to conclude, Nola monozona,  (Nolidae, Nolinae)

The Epaulet Tuft-moth.

And a small moth with a big name, Zonopetala quadripustulella, (Oecophoridae)

More of the night’s moths can be seen here.

Click to enlarge.

References and further reading,
P Marriott,
Moths of Victoria Vols. 2, 4, 7.
Australian Moths.

 

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,
Australian Moths.

 

 

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