Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Coprosma Hawk Moth

Speaking of hindwings, the saga of the correct identification of my Hawk Moth, which I was lucky enough to photograph in February this year, has, hopefully, come to an end.

Thanks to the WA Department of Agriculture's website which has a comprehensive list of rather good specimen images (see "Links" to the right of page.) I was exploring the site on another mission but became sidetracked as I scrolled through their Sphingidae list. At last, I found a real difference between Hippotion scrofa (Coprosma Hawk Moth) and Gnathothlibus erotus/eras.

Hippotion scrofa has spots on wing and a dark line on wingtip, whereas the other species apparently doesn't.

(Click to enlarge image of this magnificent moth)

Now for a little rant! :-)

In the era of climate change, we juniors in the field should be providing a significant contribution to entomology by being the eyes on the ground, particularly as species are likely to move into previously unrecorded zones.

To enable us to correctly identify species, online databases (specifically, image galleries) run by Museums and, dare I say, the CSIRO should be updated and upgraded. Inclusion of approximate size of an invertebrate would be of benefit, particularly when working through the vast number of moth families and sub-families. It would be helpful to know whether we are looking for a 5 tonne truck or a Mini Moke!

I think we really need a comprehensive entomology database along the lines of USQ's brilliant "Find A Spider" website.

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