Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Caution with Caterpillars

 Chelepteryx collesi ANTHELINAE ANTHELIDAE

Anyone who has much to do with moths and caterpillars, should be aware that a few species of moth larvae, like the larvae of the Chelepteryx collesi pictured, have hairs and spines that can cause rather severe skin irritation.
The hairs on some species of moth larvae, can be barbed, while others are not barbed but both can penetrate the skin if touched. If not removed they can cause problems. In some other species, some of the hairs (setae) are hollow and if touched may break off and a toxin is released causing a sharp stinging sensation followed by a persistent itchy rash.
Because the caterpillars also weave the hairs into their cocoons, handling cocoons and cast off skins can also cause problems.
Adult moths don't very often cause problems but inhalation of scales in any quantity can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible people.



Family:- ANTHELIDAE
Sub Family:- ANTHELINAE
Genus:- Chelepteryx
Species:- collesi







Chelepteryx collesi ANTHELINAE ANTHELIDAE
White-stemmed Gum Moth
These are a large and rather beautiful moth around 150mm to 160mm winspan.
The males if annoyed strike a pose that makes them look like a spider about to strike. The larvae feed on gum trees. They have an annual life cycle living most of their lives as caterpillars. The adults who are unable to eat only last a few days.

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Chelepteryx chalepteryx ANTHELINAE ANTHELIDAE






Family:- ANTHELIDAE
Sub Family:- ANTHELINAE
Genus:- Chelepteryx
Species:- chalepteryx



Chelepteryx chalepteryx ANTHELINAE ANTHELIDAE
The larvae in captivity have been fed Acacia (Mimosaceae), Exocarpos cupressiformis, (native cherry) it belongs to the sandalwood family of plants (Santalaceae), also Choretrum candollei  "White Sour-Bush" (also Santalaceae).
They are smaller than C. collesi and have a similar life cycle.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Large Emperor Moth

Syntherata janetta SATURNIIDAE



Family:- SATURNIIDAE
Sub Family:-
Genus:- Syntherata
Species:- janetta




Syntherata janetta SATURNIIDAE
This weeks blog was all ready to go last night when this moth hit our window.
A spectacular large moth with 100mm wingspan. The colour variations in the species range from yellow to purple/grey. You can see hints of this in the wing colour in the photos.
They seem to have been found on a large range of trees from unrelated plant families.
We don't get to see moths from Saturniidae very often because they have a limited life as adults. Their proboscis (feeding tube), is either undeveloped or missing and so they can't feed. They would only live a few days.

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Caloptilia xanthopharella GRACILLARIINAE GRACILLARIIDAE

 


Family:- GRACILLARIIDAE
Sub Family:- GRACILLARIINAE
Genus:- Caloptilia
Species:- xanthopharella




Caloptilia xanthopharella GRACILLARIINAE GRACILLARIIDAE
This second moth is at the opposite end of the scale in size. At less than 6mm it is easy to miss them. The larvae start by living between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves of  the cheese tree, Glochidion ferdinandi (Phyllanthaceae). Later they progress to eating the surface of the leaves. Making a shelter by rolling parts of the leaf into a round cone shape. They pupate in this shelter.

Along with Saturniidae, this is another new family we have found here, bringing the total of
the moth families we have found on this 1 Hectare (2.5 Acre) lot to 39.




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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Tropical Tiger Moths and Black-spotted Moths

Digama marmorea AGANAIDAE
 The first moth this week is the Digama marmorea AGANAIDAE. They belong to a group of tropical tiger moths as opposed to our more regular tiger moths in the family ARTIIDAE. This one is not as spectacular perhaps but is a regular visitor here.
The larval food plant is Carissa ovata (Apocynaceae).
See:-   http://toowoombaplants2008.blogspot.com.au/search?q=Carissa+ovata










Family:- AGANAIDAE
Sub Family:-
Genus:- Digama
Species:- marmorea






Update 24 May 2017
Digama marmoreal is now Sommeria marmoreal and the family AGANAIDAE  is now a subfamily of the newly formed (about 2012) family EREBIDAE.
There have been many changes to the moth taxonomy but not all sites are up to speed with the new listings. I believe "boldsystems.org" is fairly reliable.

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Ethmia clytodoxa ETHMIIDAE
Ethmia sporadica (possibly) ETHMIIDAE
These next two moths are from the family ETHMIIDAE commonly called "Black spotted moths".  This is fairly obvious with Ethmia clytodoxa and less so with my sample of Ethmia  sporadica. I am reasonably sure of the identification but I have put "Possible" after the species because some pictures of them have more dots than my sample.





Family:- ETHMIIDAE
Sub Family:-
Genus:- Ethmia
Species:- clytodoxa









Family:- ETHMIIDAE
Sub Family:-
Genus:- Ethmia 
Species:- sporadica (Possibly)











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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Mites on Moths

 Moths can suffer from mites both as caterpillars and as adult moths. The one pictured on the right wing in the photo below would probably have affected its ability to fly.







Family:- OECOPHORIDAE
Sub Family:- OECOPHORINAE
Genus:- Acantholena
Species:- siccella








The mite is probably an Erythraeidae mite

Phylum Arthropoda - Arthropods
Subphylum Chelicerata - Chelicerates
Class Arachnida - Arachnids
Subclass Acari - Mites and Ticks

The following text has been taken from the two web sites listed below.
http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/fauna/afd/taxa/ERYTHRAEIDAE
http://www.csiro.au/en/Research/Collections/ANIC/Insect-research/Mites-Research

" Mites are not insects, but arachnids, a group that also includes spiders, scorpions and harvestmen, and a few other groups of small invertebrates.
Mites occur in all imaginable habitats – in soil and water, on the bottom of the sea, and on plants and the bodies of other animals. Most mites are small, less than 1 mm in length, so they often go unnoticed until they make their presence felt in some way."

"The Erythraeidae are a large cosmopolitan family of about 300 species of mites that are found on soil, in litter, and on vegetation (Walter et al. 2009). The adults are large and conspicuous, often brightly coloured in red and orange. The adults are predators, which are often found to be beneficial in contributing to the control of pests such as spider mites, scale insects, and aphids (reviewed by Gerson et al. 2003). The larvae of Erythraeidae are parasites on many different groups of insects and other arthropods."

About half a million species are believed to exist worldwide, but the great majority have never been studied or even named. About 3000 named species occur in Australia, but the actual number of species present is certainly much greater than that.


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 Catadoceta xanthostephana OECOPHORINAE OECOPHORIDAE




Family:- OECOPHORIDAE
Sub Family:- OECOPHORINAE
Genus:- Catadoceta
Species:- xanthostephana



The larvae of this genus appear to mostly eat dead Eucalyptus leaves although some eat the green leaves.

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Garrha Sp OECOPHORINAE OECOPHORIDAE


Family:- OECOPHORIDAE
Sub Family:- OECOPHORINAE
Genus:- Garrha
Species:- Sp







There are about 40 described Garrha species in Australia throughout Eucalypt forests. They are often
difficult to tell one species from another due to variations in patterns.