Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Procession caterpillar

Ochrogaster lunifer THAUMETOPOEINAE NOTODONTIDAE

This is our local procession caterpillar. The larvae are nocturnal feeders usually massed in a web at the base of the tree, and climbing the tree to feed at night. The larval food plant is usually Acacia species, but they have been found on other plant species as well.
This is not a common moth here because we do not have the preferred wattle tree.
They are capable of completely stripping the leaves from a tree and when this happens, they will then sometimes form a long procession line, nose to tail, headed for another tree. Children sometimes lead the front of the line around to the back of the line then forming a circular procession.
These are another one of the moth larvae that, if handled, can cause urticaria. The spines on the caterpillar can break off in the skin causing irritation.



 Family:-  NOTODONTIDAE
Sub Family:- THAUMETOPOEINAE
Genus:- Ochrogaster
Species:- lunifer






This photo was taken at the town of Blackbutt a couple of years ago and is a typical procession. I have never counted the numbers but the lines are often quite long.



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Assara holophragma PHYCITINAE PYRALIDAE  

There is a moth listed on the Butterfly House (http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/moths.html) site as Aurana actiosella which looks very similar to this moth.It may be that one or the other is incorrectly named. The samples of A. actiosella on BOLD Systems suggest that Assara holophragma is the correct name for this moth.



Family:- PYRALIDAE
Sub Family:- PHYCITINAE
Genus:-   Assara
Species:- holophragma



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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Edited 15/10 2017  the entry for Eccymatoge morphna and E. aorista   August 17, 2016

I previously thought the second photo was E. aorista but now believe it to be E. morphna

Thursday, 12 October 2017

 Donuca Species ERIBINAE ERIBIDAE

Donuca spectabilis ERIBINAE ERIBIDAE

Was:- Donuca spectabilis  CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE
I originally found a good match with this moth that was named Donuca memorabilis. In 1865 the species Donuca memorabilis was identified by Walker as a separate species from D. spectabilis. Most sites now consider D. memorabilis to be the same species as D. spectabilis.
Looking through all the photos that I can find of D. spectabilis, although reasonably close in pattern to this moth, still have some significant differences. It may suggest that this moth is just a regional variation or that there are indeed two similar species.
There may also simply be a difference between the sexes, since some samples appear to have pectinate antennae while others have simple antennae.
For the moment I will go with the general consensus and call it D. spectabilis.
The larval food plant is likely to be an Acacia species.

    species: Donuca memorabilis Walker, 1865 (accepted name Donuca spectabilis)




Family:- ERIBIDAE
Sub Family:- ERIBINAE
Genus:- Donuca
Species:- spectabilis























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 Donuca orbigera ERIBINAE ERIBIDAE

Was:- Donuca orbigera CATOCALINAE   NOCTUIDAE 
This is a spectacular moth with a wingspan a bit over 50mm. The white stripes on a fresh new moth stand out as brilliant white.
Moths of Australia lists the larval food plant as Acacia.
 



Family:- ERIBIDAE
Sub Family:- ERIBINAE
Genus:-  Donuca
Species:- orbigera











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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Chloroclystis approximata

Chloroclystis approximata LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE 

I covered a number of the Chloroclystis moths as listed at the end of this article, so here is another species in the same genus.
The larvae of this one sometimes damage apples in the early stage of fruit development but normally live on Acacia flowers.
This one is the male, the females don't have the tufts on the fore wings.





Family:- GEOMETRIDAE
Sub Family:-  LARENTIINAE
Genus:- Chloroclystis
Species:- approximata







 Below are the other blog entries:-
Chloroclystis catastreptes LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE-1  Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Chloroclystis cissocosma LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Chloroclystis insigillata (male)  LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE-1 Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Chloroclystis insigillata (Fem)  LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE-2 Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Chloroclystis Poss catastreptes LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE -1 Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Chloroclystis metallospora  LARENTIINAE GEOMETRIDAE Thursday, 24 September 2015

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Dichromia quinqualis HYPENINAE EREBIDAE


Was:- Dichromia quinqualis Hypeninae Noctuidae

The larval food plant is possibly Cynanchum elegans, APOCYNACEAE ( White Flowered Wax Plants).
Although we don't have any of  C. elegans here, we most likely have a related plant or  perhaps there
are other suitable food plants here.






Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Dichromia
Species:- quinqualis





Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Dichromia
Species:- quinqualis











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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The eyes have it

I have previously done a blog on Speiredonia spectans, but here I have added a similar moth for comparison. Both moths are very common here and are fairly easy to confuse.

Speiredonia spectans EREBINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Speiredonia spectans CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE
Common name:- Granny's Cloak Moth

Part of the description of this moth in Moths of Australia (IFB Common, 1990), is that the wings of both Speiredonia and Dasypodia sometimes have eyes pots on the forewing and sometimes both wings. The main word here is "sometimes" , which means they sometimes don't have eye spots. Looking up photos of S. spectans on the BOLD Systems site, they do indeed have two photos of S. spectans with few markings on the wings and no eye spots.
Various sites quote the larval food plant as Acacia, (MIMOSACEAE), and one site as Acacia and Drypetes deplanchei, (EUPHORBIACEAE). In our case we have both plants and indeed, we do get a lot of these moths.


Family:-  EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:- Speiredonia
Species:- spectans





 I wrote a blog about Speiredonia spectans on Wednesday, 8 July 2015 on the subject of the changing colours of the wing scales.
The wing span about 80mm.

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Dasypodia cymatodes EREBINAE EREBIDAE

Was :- Dasypodia cymatodes CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE

Dasypodia cymatodes, the common name is "Northern Old Lady Moth" which I am sure is in retaliation to the common name of Speiredonia spectans which is "Granny's Cloak Moth".
The larval food plant is also likely to be Acacia species.
The wing span is also about 80mm.


Family:-  EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:- Dasypodia
Species:- cymatodes






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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Genduara punctigera

Genduara punctigera LASIOCAMPINAE LASIOCAMPIDAE 

Another new moth. They are coming thick and fast this year. This one is said to breed on  Exocarpos cupressiformis, (SANTALACEAE), common name "Native Cherry". Exocarpos cupressiformis are partly parasitic on the roots of plants around them, and are not choosy. They are said to be able to use grasses, Eucalypts, wattles, Casuarinas, Banksias, Grevilleas, and plants in the pea family. As far as I know we do not have any E. cupressiformis here but we do have other species of SANTALACEAE.
The larvae of other members of the Genduara genus have been found feeding on mistletoes (LORANTHACEAE), and other members of  Exocarpos, so it is possible that the larvae of G. punctigera are able to live on some of these other plants.
The common name of the moth is "Spotted Clear Winged Snout Moth", because the males often have nearly transparent wings. 




 Family:- LASIOCAMPIDAE
Sub Family:- LASIOCAMPINAE
Genus:- Genduara
Species:- punctigera





Further information on the host plants can be obtained from the Toowoomba Plants site link in the right hand column of this blog and searching for the plant family names.

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Hypena (Probably) laceratalis HYPENINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Hypena laceratalis HYPENINAE NOCTUIDAE

The larval food plant is  Lantana ( Lantana camara, VERBENACEAE ). There have been many attempts to introduce insects that will eat the pest plant Lantana. A strain of H. laceratalis was introduced to Hawaii, Norfolk Island and Queensland in an attempt to control the weed.
There have been a number of attempts to introduce moths to Australia to control Lantana, in 1914, 1957, 1958 and 1965, but they appear to have had little or no effect in controlling the spread of the plant.








Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Hypena
Species:- laceratalis (Probably)















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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Thallarcha Species

Thallarcha species ARCTIINAE EREBIDAE

This moth is not in perfect condition. The two possible species are likely to be Thallarcha rhaptophora (Desert Footman), which is generally found in South Australia and Western Australia, which makes it unlikely that it is here, and Thallarcha fusa which is quite common here but the wing patterns not a very good match with my sample.
The weather around the time I took the photo, has included very strong, dry winds from the west, for days on end, so there is still a chance that this moth may be T. rhaptophora blown in from somewhere in the western deserts.





Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- ARCTIINAE
Genus:- Thallarcha
Species:- Sp (Possibly Fusa or rhaptophora)










I did a blog on some other Thallarcha species moths on 23 March 2016
Thallarcha macilenta LITHOSIINAE ARCTIIDAE Wednesday, 23 March 2016
Thallarcha Sp Poss sparsana LITHOSIINAE ARCTIIDAE Wednesday, 23 March 2016

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Mataeomera Species


These two took some work to find names for them, even then I am really only sure to Genus.
I could not find out much about the biology either of them.
There are a couple of sites placing these moths in Erebidae family.



Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- ACONTIINAE
Genus:- Mataeomera
Species:- Possibly ligata












Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- ACONTIINAE
Genus:- Mataeomera
Species:- Possibly dubia








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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

 Sandava scitisignata

Sandava scitisignata HYPENINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Sandava scitisignata HYPENINAE NOCTUIDAE
 These Caterpillars have been found under loose bark on tree trunks, and appear to eat fungi on dead trees.
They have a wingspan of about 20mm. Male and female moths are similar, but the antennae of the males are thicker than those of the females.




Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Sandava
Species:- scitisignata
















These are both the same species taken at different times, and both have lost a number of scales so I added both photos for better detail.

Synonyms listed :-
Cidaria scitisignata Walker, 1862
Sandava melaleucata Walker, [1863]
Istarba varialis Walker, [1866].

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Iropoca rotundata LYMANTRIINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Iropoca rotundata LYMANTRIIDAE NOCTUOIDEA

This is another new moth for us.

The larval food is Eucalyptus leaves. They pupate under loose bark on the trunk.
Many Lymantriinae larvae in their early instar can spin long strands of silk that are then caught by the wind and so allows them to disperse away from the tree they hatched on. This is necessary, because the females are not able to fly and are therefore not able to deposit eggs in a variety of sites for diversification.





Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- LYMANTRIINAE
Genus:- Iropoca
Species:- rotundata










I found there are 2 possible synonyms :-
    Teara rotundata Walker, 1855
    Anthela sydneyensis Strand, 1929

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Chrysodeixis argentifera PLUSIINAE NOCTUIDAE

Common through most of Australia, sometimes in New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
It is a pest on numerous plants including Tobacco and Tomato and many ornamental plants.
They have a wing span around 30mm.



Family:-  NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- PLUSIINAE
Genus:-  Chrysodeixis
Species:- argentifera





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Craniophora fasciata ACRONICTINAE NOCTUIDAE

One of the Larval food plants is reported to be Privet (Ligustrum vulgare, OLEACEAE), a major destructive, invasive weed in this area.
 Wingspan is about 35mm to 40mm.
Common throughout Eastern Australia, also through India, South east Asia and New Guinea.





Family:-  NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- ACRONICTINAE
Genus:- Craniophora
Species:- fasciata










Privet is a large shrub to small tree that is still being grown as hedges in our area. The fruits are eaten by birds and the seeds are spread by the birds. Once the plants take over an area, they suffocate out the native plants that support our wildlife. This is environmental destruction through neglect and ignorance. 

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Two new moths

A burst of quite hot weather has brought out a lot of moths. The weather is still very dry but in the space of a week I have seen a number of new moths here. Two of the new moths are below.

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Diasemiopsis ramburialis SPILOMELINAE CRAMBIDAE

Although this moth is supposed to be fairly common world wide, I have never noticed it here before.
The larval food plant was previously thought to be possibly a Brassica species, but I came across an article on the internet in which the moth larvae are helping to control the Azolla water fern (Azolla filiculoides Lam., Azollaceae) in rice plantations in Iran. This is a relatively new discovery confirming the larval food plant.
The article can be found at https://nl.pensoft.net/article/6887/

There is a further article on the water fern in Australia :-
http://toowoombaplants2008.blogspot.com.au/search?q=Azolla


Family:- CRAMBIDAE
Sub Family:- SPILOMELINAE
Genus:-  Diasemiopsis
Species:- ramburialis







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Euchaetis rhizobola OECOPHORINAE OECOPHORIDAE 

With a wingspan of around 30mm this is a large moth for this family. The larval food plant is the green leaves of  the Eucalyptus trees. They can be found over a range from Yeppoon, in Queensland to Victoria and also in south Western Australia.
The rear wings of the moth are a brilliant silver white.
In the photo of the underside you can see that one of the labial palps is missing. I took another photo a couple of  days later of another moth of the same species with both palps in tact, so there are at least a couple of the moths around at the moment.





Family:- OECOPHORIDAE
Sub Family:- OECOPHORINAE
Genus:- Euchaetis
Species:- rhizobola











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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Avatha discolor EREBINAE  EREBIDAE

Was:- Avatha discolor CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE
This moth has many synonyms, because they can be quite variable. It was given 10 different names by Walker  in 1857 and 1858, then a further 6 different names by Strand 1917 and 1920, only to find that it had been identified by Fabricius in 1794 and then, with a different name again in 1794.
Of the host plant species I could find, Sapindus, (Sapindaceae family) and Callicarpa (Lamiaceae) are the only plants families we have here.






Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- ERIBINAE
Genus:-  Avatha
Species:-  discolor









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Brithys crini NOCTUINAE NOCTUIDAE

Was:- Brithys crini HADENINAE NOCTUIDAE
The larval food plant here is most likely to be Crinum angustifolium. They bore up the stems of the plant.




Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- NOCTUINAE
Genus:- Brithys
Species:- crini





They are an attractive caterpillar and the larval food plant is a native to this area.




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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Araeopteron canescens BOLETOBIINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Araeopteron canescens ACONTIINAE NOCTUIDAE
One site suggests the sub family is Erebinae rather than Boletobiinae.
This moth has a wing span of about 10mm.





Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- BOLETOBIINAE
Genus:- Araeopteron
Species:- canescens

Not the best set of photos. I must try again.



















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Arrade destituta HYPENINAE EREBIDAE

was Arrade destituta HYPENINAE NOCTUIDAE





Family:- EREBIDAE
Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Arrade
Species:- destituta










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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Amyna natalis BAGISARINAE NOCTUIDAE

 Amyna natalis BAGISARINAE NOCTUIDAE

This moth has been found from north Queensland to central New South Wales coastal and inland. The unusual patches on its wings probably mean it is a male and according to Moths of Australia, (I.F.B. Common 1990), "(the moths) make an audible sibilant sound as they fly in circles about 30cm in diameter and about 20cm above the ground. If disturbed the sound ceases immediately". He goes on to say that the cause of the sound and its purpose has not been studied and later says that it is possible the wing marks may play a part.
In our case the larval food plants are likely to be Abutilon or Sida rhombifolia (Malvaceae).



 Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- BAGISARINAE
Genus:- Amyna
Species:- natalis


















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Anomis involuta SCOLIOPTERYGINAE ERIBIDAE

Previously:- Anomis involuta CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE
Since other moths in the same genus feed on Hibiscus and other plants in the Malcaceae family of plants, the most likely larval food plant here is a native Hibiscus. I have also photographed an Anomis Combinans larvae on Hibiscus here.





Family:- ERIBIDAE
Sub Family:- SCOLIOPTERYGINAE
Genus:- Anomis
Species:- involuta



Family:- ERIBIDAE
Sub Family:- SCOLIOPTERYGINAE
Genus:- Anomis
Species:- Combinans










Species names:-
Anomis involuta seems to be the preferred name but a couple of sites are using Gonitis as the genus so the list below shows some of the synonyms.
Anomis involuta (Walker 1858), Gonitis involuta (also Walker 1858) = Gonitis basalis (also Walker 1858) = Tiridata colligata (Walker 1865) = Gonitis vitiensis (Butler 1886) = Cosmophila dona (Swinhoe 1919) = Anomis brima (Swinhoe 1920) = sabulifera.

The last entry, A.sabulifera, is said to not be the same moth as A. involuta but a similar moth from Africa and is often confused with A. involuta. I will leave the decision up to those who are interested in such details.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Agrotis NOCTUIDAE

Of the five moths below that we are supposed to be likely to find in this area, I have only ever been able to reasonably identify two,  Agrotis porphyricollis and Agrotis munda.
A. porphyricollis is fairly distinctive where A. munda and some of  the others are very similar, especially where the moths are not in the best condition. A. porphyricollis is only an occasional visitor here where A. munda is a regular pretty much all year round.

 Agrotis porphyricollis NOCTUINAE NOCTUIDAE








 Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- NOCTUINAE
Genus:- Agrotis
Species:- porphyricollis





 This one is in poor condition but is in its usual at rest position.











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 Agrotis munda NOCTUINAE NOCTUIDAE


The larval food plants of A. munda are many of our cereal and fodder crops where they can be a serious pest:-  Barley, cotton, lucerne, tobacco, tomato, maize and various vegetables.





Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- NOCTUINAE
Genus:- Agrotis
Species:- munda




















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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

 Aedia NOCTUIDAE

 Aedia leucomelas Sub Sp acronyctoides ACRONICTINAE NOCTUIDAE

Aedia leucomelas, the leucomelas species is fairly common through out Europe. The Australian representitive is sub species A. acronyctoides and is known through northern Australia and down the east coast and in South Australia.
The larvae have been found on Convolvulus erubescens (Convolvulaceae) and Chondrilla juncea (Asteraceae).




Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- ACRONICTINAE
Genus:- Aedia 
Species:- leucomelas
Sub Species:- acronyctoides





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