Wednesday 29 November 2017

End of Year

This will be the last post for this year. I will start again early next year.
I will be spend some time trying to identify the hundreds of moth photos that I have not had time to look at.
Thank you to all the people who are kind enough to keep coming back to view this blog, and the few who have written to me, I hope it has given you some pleasure. I have certainly learnt a lot from all the research necessary to do an article.




Wing span about 30mm.
I originally had this identified as Heliocheilus tenuistria HELIOTHINAE NOCTUIDAE  but it seems to be incorrect now. The preferred name is Heliocheilus eodora.
Some synonyms:-
 Melicleptria eodora ,    
Heliothis eodora ,    
Canthylidia tenuistria.

Genus:- Heliocheilus
Species:- eodora


Heterorta plutonis ACONTIINAE NOCTUIDAE 

The wingspan is about 15 mm.
Synonym:-  Micraeschus diacaustus .

Genus:- Heterorta
Species:- plutonis

Although not listed as a synonym, the moth Enispa plutonis, in Moths of Australia, (Common P455 and Fig 47.12), appears to be the same moth and is likely that it has had a name change.
The larvae are interesting in that they live in spiders webs and eat the leftovers from the spiders along with other detritus. Apparently the spiders don't mind them and they are not affected by the sticky threads.


Wednesday 22 November 2017

 Helicoverpa assulta

 Helicoverpa assulta HELIOTHINAE NOCTUIDAE

The species can interbreed with Helicoverpa armigera to produce viable offspring.
The larval food plants are generally in the Solonaceae family.
This is not a common moth here but we do see them occasionally.

Genus:- Helicoverpa
Species:- assulta


Helicoverpa punctigera   HELIOTHINAE NOCTUIDAE

These moths are often called "Native Budworm'
Once again the larval food plant include the same species as the other Helicovapa moths and are also considered a pest on a large variety of commercial crops.

  Family:- NOCTUIDAE
Genus:- Helicoverpa 
Species:- punctigera

Genus:- Helicoverpa 
Species:- punctigera


Wednesday 15 November 2017

Eudesmeola lawsoni

Eudesmeola lawsoni EREBINAE EREBIDAE 

Was:- Eudesmeola lawsoni CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE
 The larval food plant is Scrub Wilga, Geijera salicifolia (Family RUTACEAE).
For those readers not familiar with the Wilga trees you can search for Wilga on http://toowoombaplants2008.blogspot.com.au
There are a couple of articles worth reading.
With a wingspan around 70 mm it is not a small moth.

Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:- Eudesmeola
Species:- lawsoni


Helicoverpa armigera HELIOTHINAE NOCTUIDAE

The most likely larval food plant here is the common milk thistle Sonchus oleraceus, ASTERACEAE. This thistle is an imported weed but is very common here. I don't know if there are any native plants that it prefers.  The moth is also a major pest on a large variety of vegetable food crops and some ornamental plants.

Genus:- Helicoverpa
Species:- armigera


Wednesday 8 November 2017

 Esthlodora moths

Esthlodora variabilis HYPENINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Esthlodora variabilis HYPENINAE NOCTUIDAE
I did a blog on this moth on Saturday, 11 April 2015, but in the interest of keeping the two Esthlodora together I have included it this week.
Once again I was unable to find much information on either of them.

Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Esthlodora
Species:- variabilis

They can roll their wings like some of the moths from Uraniidae


Esthlodora versicolor HYPENINAE EREBIDAE

 Was:- Esthlodora versicolor HYPENINAE NOCTUIDAE


Sub Family:- HYPENINAE
Genus:- Esthlodora
Species:- versicolor 


Wednesday 1 November 2017

Ectopatria horologa NOCTUINAE NOCTUIDAE

The larvae have been recorded feeding on Rhagodia parabolica which is one of the salt bush plants we have here. It is also likely that the larvae would eat some of the other salt bushes we have in this area.

Sub Family:-  NOCTUINAE
Genus:- Ectopatria
Species:- horologa

This one is in pretty poor condition and is probably at the end of its life.


Ectopatria Sp Poss horologa NOCTUINAE NOCTUIDAE

This moth is quite likely to be E. horologa. There are some differences in the markings, but that may  be just a natural variation.

Sub Family:-  NOCTUINAE
Genus:- Ectopatria
Species:- Possibly horologa



I couldn't find much information on these moths.

Sub Family:- NOCTUINAE
Genus:- Elusa
Species:- semipecten 

Once again, this second moth is missing rather a lot of scales.


Saturday 28 October 2017

Dysgonia constricta EREBINAE EREBIDAE

Was:- Dysgonia constricta CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE
Larval food plant is Elaeocarpus obovatus, ELAEOCARPACEAE (Hard Quandong)
Although this is not a particularly common tree, we do have one here and there are a few in the area. I frequently see these moths when bush walking, so it is possible that there are other suitable food plants around.
This moth is referred to as Parallelia constricta in Moths of Australia (IFB Common), and  Bastilla constricta in A Guide to Australian Moths (Zborowski and Edwards)

Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:- Dysgonia
Species:- constricta

 Here are a number of synonyms:-
    Ophiusa constricta Butler, 1874
    Parallelia constricta Butler, 1874
    Catocala albofasciata Scott, 1891
    Grammodes divaricata Lucas, 1892
    Parallelia divaricata Lucas, 1892
    Dysgonia divaricata Lucas, 1892
    Dysgonia albofasciata Scott, 1891



EDITED:  April 12 2020, It now seems to have changed back again to  Dysgonia!!!

I did a blog entry on this moth on Thursday, 21 October 2015 under the name Dysgonia latizona CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE, however, I find that Buzara latizona EREBINAE EREBIDAE seems to be the preferred name now.
Was:- Dysgonia latizona CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE

The larval food plant is PHYLLANTHACEAE species probably Breynia longifolia, PHYLLANTHACEAE (Willgar).
PHYLLANTHACEAE species is also one of the larval food plant of the Achaea janata moths (Blog, Wednesday, 21 June 2017), and Grammodes ocellata CATOCALINAE NOCTUIDAE (Blog, Wednesday, 1 July 2015).

Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:- Dysgonia (was Buzara)
Species:- latizona

Some synonyms:-
    Ophiusa latizona Butler, 1874
    Parallelia latizona Butler, 1874
    Leucanitis schraderi Felder & Rogenhofer, 1874
    Dysgonia schraderi Felder & Rogenhofer, 1874
    Dysgonia latizona Butler, 1874


Wednesday 18 October 2017

Procession caterpillar


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.

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.


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.

Genus:-   Assara
Species:- holophragma


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 spectabilis EREBINAE EREBIDAE

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)

Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:- Donuca
Species:- spectabilis


 Donuca orbigera EREBINAE EREBIDAE

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.

Sub Family:- EREBINAE
Genus:-  Donuca
Species:- orbigera


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.

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


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.

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

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


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.


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


Wednesday 20 September 2017

Genduara punctigera


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. 

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.


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.

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


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.

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


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.

Genus:- Mataeomera
Species:- Possibly ligata

Genus:- Mataeomera
Species:- Possibly dubia


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.

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].




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.

Genus:- Iropoca
Species:- rotundata

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