Wednesday, 8 April 2020

A trick of the light

Scoparia exhibitalis SCOPARIINAE CRAMBIDAE




At first I thought this was another new species but soon realised that it was Scoparia exhibitalis.


It didn't seem to matter what angle I took the photo on it still showed the colours on the scales on the wings.















They normally look like this sample to the left which I put on the Blog on Wednesday, 20 February 2019.


Family:- CRAMBIDAE
Sub Family:- SCOPARIINAE
Genus:- Scoparia
Species:- exhibitalis









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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Spoladea recurvalis

Spoladea recurvalis SPILOMELINAE CRAMBIDAE

This is another one I missed doing a Blog on in the first round.
This a very common moth around here and often seen flying during the day.
The larval food plants around here include Atriplex Sp. salt bushes and Chenopodium Sp. which are a weed here.
They are a pest on Beet vegetable crops.
Wing span about 20mm.





Family:- CRAMBIDAE
Sub Family:- SPILOMELINAE
Genus:- Spoladea
Species:- recurvalis












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I discovered I hadn't done a Blog on Spoladea recurvalis when I went to show these next couple of photos.

We has some good rain in February and have had another small amount just recently. The result is that despite it being late in the season, the butterflies and moths are reproducing in quite large numbers. There is not the variety we used to get but that may come.

Two sites west of us here have had flooding rain in February and a couple of weeks ago we were seeing an amazing number of  moths and butterflies. At one site, an unusually large number of caterpillars on plants and on the ground, moving from one area to another.
I don't think we can say the drought has really broken yet, but the plants and insects are certainly appreciating the water.


Daisies are always a good food plant for butterflies and moths, at least the ones that can feed on the nectar.
These daisies were in large numbers in an area that was recently flooded.

The photo to the left has two moths and a grass blue butterfly. There was a large number of species at that particular site about 80 Klm west of here.




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Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Theretra oldenlandiae

Theretra oldenlandiae MACROGLOSSINAE SPHINGIDAE

I found this caterpillar on our drive way but I have never identified the moth here. I think this is the fifth and final instar of the moth and it was probably looking for a place to pupate.
The moths are very similar to the Theretra margarita but have a double stripe down the abdomen rather than the single stripe of T. margarita.

An article on the T. oldenlandiae moth can be found at:-
http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/sphi/oldenlandiae.html

And a photo of T.margarita in on this Blog on Wednesday, 16 December 2015.





 Family:- SPHINGIDAE
Sub Family:- MACROGLOSSINAE
Genus:- Theretra
Species:- oldenlandiae


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Thursday, 12 March 2020

Phalaenoides glycinae

Phalaenoides glycinae AGARISTINAE NOCTUIDAE

Just as I had given up trying to identify a moth for the Blog, this one landed in the garden.
They are an agricultural pest on the grape vines ( Vitis vinifera, VITACEAE ) but also feed on other plants.
It is likely that our Shining Grape, (Tetrastigma nitens  VITACEAE), which is a native grape vine, would be the larval food source if it is breeding here.
The moths can be found from Southern Queensland through New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
This one is a ragged around the edges of the forewing.






Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Sub Family:- AGARISTINAE
Genus:- Phalaenoides
Species:- glycinae












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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Melanodes anthracitaria

Melanodes anthracitaria ENNOMINAE GEOMETRIDAE

Although I put a post about this moth on the Blog on Wednesday, 30 November 2016, I recently took a photo of the two tone version.
Still the same moth with different markings. The white / yellow markings are not rare but the moths are generally the dark form.
The larval food plant is probably Eucalyptus species.




Family:- GEOMETRIDAE
Sub Family:- ENNOMINAE
Genus:- Melanodes
Species:- anthracitaria


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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Nephele subvaria

Nephele subvaria MACROGLOSSINAE SPHINGIDAE

I must have missed this photo on the first run through.
These are a large moth common down the east coast to Sydney.
The likely larval food plant here is Carissa ovata (APOCYNACEAE).
 They don't always have the white spot on the wings.
The hind wings are brown.

Further information on the plant can be found at:-
https://toowoombaplants2008.blogspot.com/search?q=Carissa






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Friday, 24 January 2020

Summary of 2019.

2019 was not been a good year from a moth point of view. Continuing local drought conditions on top of reduced numbers of insects generally.
Locally we have had a particularly dry period coming into summer, which is normally our wet season. The flush of growth from early rain really didn't happen and the few caterpillars that hatched would have had a hard time surviving the lack of fresh growth.
Bird numbers are also down, particularly the aggressive Noisy Minor (Manorina melanocephala), which rely on insects for breeding. They are one of the bird species that cooperate in families to feed offspring, and we have seen very few young birds.
The year finished off with one of the worst bush fire seasons for this area, and we are now at the end of January and have only had about 65mm of rain. February, hopefully, will be a little better.

Despite this we are getting a few moths appearing, still in very low numbers but fresh new season moths. In a couple of cases, the sizes are much smaller than usual. This can happen in butterflies too in particularly dry times, and they seem to go on to breed normally.

It remains to be seen how long it takes for insect numbers to recover. A lot will depend on the quantity and timing of rainfall over the next few years. The timing is important, late rain will not see the moths reproduce before winter.

On the other hand, our pond has been working overtime this year with five species of dragonfly and two damselfly species using the pond for breeding.
January 2020.

Note:- A couple of hours after I wrote this blog we got another 40mm in 20 minutes in a thunder storm. Much of the water ran off  because the ground is so dry but it all helps.