Wednesday, 31 December 2008

December Mothing - 7

The last of the mothing for 2008 ended on a good note when I was lucky enough to spot this cup moth in a juvenile eucalypt.

(Click to enlarge)

No. 1. Doratifera quadriguttata

No. 2. This one came to light and I think it's the same species as No.1 although it has more than 4 spots on wing.

No. 3. This may or may not be Cup Moth eggs covered in 'fur'!

I'm keeping a eye out for caterpillars on the tree. None that I can see yet.

No. 4. This is a very grey example of the Triangular Moth. I think it is Epidesmia chilonaria as the wing margins are distinctly white as well as the line across the wings.
GEOMETRIDAE : Oenochrominae

No. 5. Another Case/Bag Moth casing - past it's 'use by' I think.
This may be the Common Leaf Case Moth - Hyalarcta huebneri.

I am noticing the Case Moths I've found so far are on young eucalypt regrowth around 2 to 3 years of age.


Happy New Year to all who visit this Blog. I wish you well for 2009.

Friday, 26 December 2008

December Mothing - 6

Here are a few moths that have come to the light over the past few days.

(Click to enlarge)

No.1. Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta showing the striking markings on its wings.

NOCTUIDAE : Amphipyrinae

No. 2. This moth looks very similar to Cotachena histricalis

UPDATE: (Thanks MH) Hygraula nitens.
Caterpillars of this moth are aquatic.
CRAMBIDAE : Acentropinae

No. 3 was a tiny moth. I'm not sure if it's a Tineid as the palps are not really visible in this image.

Perhaps it could be something more exciting like Opostega sp from family Opostegidae

No. 4 is Diatenes aglossoides again showing nice wing colouration. It did not remain on top of the spider web for very long! :-)

NOCTUIDAE : Catocalinae

No. 5 is more than likely to be Uraba lugens again perching on my garden hose.


Saturday, 20 December 2008

December Mothing - 5

A small selection.

(Click images to enlarge)

No. 1. I'm going right out on a limb here. 'I think' this might be a Fairy Moth. If I am correct, it might be Nemophora sp. but I really have no idea. I could find next to nothing on Fairy Moths on the web. This one came to light. If it's not a Fairy Moth, then it's possible it's a Caddisfly of some sort.
On the proviso, it's a Fairy Moth:-

UPDATE: It's NOT a Fairy Moth but actually a Caddis (thanks Wendy) and likely to be the Longhorned Caddis, one of over 400 species in Australia, apparently!
Order: Trichoptera
Family: Leptoceridae

No. 2. Possibly Clania ignobilis or Faggot Case Moth

Thanks to Donald Hobern for his help in identiftying this moth.

It could be Thrinocophora signigerana



I'm putting this photo of some very colourful caterpillars up because I found them on the same little Eucalypt regrowth as the Case Moth. The original tree, although only small, became one of the many victims of the local Council's roadside chopping/lopping exercises!! :-(

I'm not sure what they are. Maybe some sort of Sawfly? They certainly rear up when disturbed.

UPDATE: These are actually Leaf Beetle larvae. (Thanks Wendy :-) )
Probably Chrysophtharta variicollis. See here.

If I am incorrect with any of the above identifications, please set the record straight.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Rat-tailed Maggot

Some of us with a few cattle hanging around keep a garbage bin - or whatever -with a ready supply of liquid manure, if you're a gardener, that is!

Many years ago, I found strange things living in my 'private bin'! I took a specimen into what was then the Department of Agriculture who were unable to identify the creature. It was passed around and nobody knew what the heck it was.

Around July this year, I accidentally stumbled upon it whilst searching another Diptera species. This year, I elected to carefully monitor my liquid manure vats! Voila - we have a touchdown!

The Rat-tailed Maggot is the larva of the Drone fly which is an important pollinator. The adults are nectar feeders.

Drone flies are about the size of a honey bee. They are extremely hard to photograph as they are rapid fliers, changing direction quickly. They hover but then zap off at right angles.

Drone flies seek out highly nitrogenous waste to breed. That can range from septic tanks to liquid manure receptacles.

(Click images to enlarge)

On this photo in particular you can see the snorkel-like breathing tube attached to the end of the "rat-tail". These 2 shots were taken in liquid manure.

Larvae can be as long as 2cm, the tails up to 4cm. They feed on decaying organic material or rich nitrongenous waste.

Family: Syrphidae
Eristalis tenax

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

December Mothing - 4

All but the first moth came to light last night.

(Click to enlarge)

No. 1 I'm pretty sure this is Enispa niviceps

No. 2 Etiella behrii
PYRALIDAE : Phycitinae
This is an agricultural pest.

No. 3 Plutella xylostella (Diamond-backed or Cabbage Moth)
Another agricultural pest!


No. 4 - 1.5cm in length

UPDATE: This moth is probably Neumichtis archephanes

No. 5 - 1.5cm in length
No's 4 and 5 may be the same moth.

No. 6 - approximately

UPDATE (thanks to MH again)
This is likely to be the Lesser Budworm, Heliothis punctifera
Subfamily: Heliothinae

No. 7

UPDATE: (Again, thanks to MH)
Gum-leaf Skeletoniser Uraba lugens

Monday, 15 December 2008


I found heaps of 'spittle' on one large low-hanging branch on my Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) last Thursday before we had significant rain over the weekend.

The spittle is the secretion of the Spittlebug nymph. They attach themselves to a stem, gorge themselves on the sap, taking up excessive amounts of water and carbohydrates. They expel the excess via their anal area, thus providing themselves with a frothy 'cocoon' which protects the nymph from predation as well as insulating it from the elements.

I didn't wreck one of the frothy masses to find the nymph, deciding to leave them in peace. I will have another look for the insect now the wind has ceased here and the camera is back on the table!

(Click to enlarge)

UPDATE: I did a little exploration.

Here's the Spittlebug nymph It quickly regained it's composure with more spittle!

HEMIPTERA : Aphrophoridae

Saturday, 13 December 2008

December Mothing - 3

A selection of moths coming to the light recently.

(Click to enlarge)

No. 1
Possibly Proteuxoa sp.
Subfamily: Amphipyrinae

No. 2 Static wingspan - 4cm.
Triangular Moth
Epidesmia sp. (Probably Epidesmia hypenaria -thanks MH!)
GEOMETRIDAE : Oenochrominae
No. 3
Pyralis farinalis in typical position. This one showing green on wings as opposed to the fawn version in previous December Mothing entry.

No. 4 Pyralid
No. 5 - quite a small moth
UPDATE: Phrissogonus laticostata (female)
GEOMETRIDAE : Larentiinae (Thanks to MH)
No. 6 - about 2cm in length

Sunday, 7 December 2008

White On White

The flowering parsley is attracting a number of insects and I couldn't let an opportunity like this go by unrecorded.

This is a White Crab/Flower spider - Thomisus spectabilis enjoying a Cabbage White meal!

Typically, they go for the neck and that's exactly what this one did when despatching the butterfly.

I hope to be able to keep an eye on this one because they tend to stay put once they've found a good spot.

(Click to enlarge)

Saturday, 6 December 2008

December Mothing 2

It was warm enough to do a bit of mothing last night.

I was delighted to see my first "Emerald"! Two came in.
(Click to enlarge)

No. 1 If I am correct, this is Chlorocoma dichloraria. However, I have received advice that there may be several species that look very much alike in the Emeralds, so my moth might or might not be as named! :-)

No. 2 appears to be a paler form of Sceliodes cordalis I photographed in October this year.
GRAMBIDAE : Pyraustinae - Spilomenlini

No. 3 Pyralis farinalis

No. 4. A strikingly marked moth approximately 2cm in length.

I'm not sure what it is. It might belong to Crambidae or it might be something else.
Assistance would be appreciated! :-)
UPDATE: This moth is probably Dichromodes sp.
GEOMETRIDAE : Oenochrominae
(Thanks MH)

No 5. When I first saw this moth, I thought it might have been Ectropis excursaria until I noticed the spots.

Static wingspan would have been around 3 to 4cm.

No idea so help again will be appreciated.

UPDATE: Diatenes aglossoides

Thanks Mosura :-)

Friday, 5 December 2008

4th Ladybird Species

..........and possibly a 5th! :-)

These are far from good images, taken one-handed as I tried to steady the parsley flower heads against the constant wind yesterday. I wanted some sort of 'recognisable' images for my records, because these tiny beasties might not be around when the wind eventually abates.
Both species approximately 2.5 to 3mm (maybe!)

The first 2 photos I believe may be of Diomus notescens or the "Minute Spotted Ladybird"
Family: Coccinellidae
(Click to enlarge)

This one is taken against my hand. Blame the wind for that! :-)
I "think" it might be Archegleis sp. There is so little information about distribution and approximate size out there, I am guessing with this one. It was about the same size - maybe a bit smaller than Diomus notescens.

Family: Coccinellidae

Thursday, 4 December 2008

3rd Ladybird Species

Hippodamia variegata - the Spotted Amber Ladybird or White Collared Ladybird.

Although a native of Europe, this is a very useful pest control agent. Tests have been carried out to determine the benefit of this species to the horticultural industry, particularly greenhouses, as a biological control for aphids, mites, thrips and whitefly.

These ones (and there were several) were on my parsley which, as you will note, is going to seed! :-)

I've set myself a task to search for and photograph other ladybird species in the garden this year.

(Click to enlarge)

Score-card so far:-

Family: Coccinellidae:

Harmonia conformis
Cocinella transversalis
Hippodamia variegata

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Heteronympha merope

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to pay a visit to the small block of remnant vegetation about 2 minutes walk from my house. I had a plan to undertake some arachnid stalking. Spiders were a bit thin on the ground! Well, there were webs but no residents I could see!

Anyway, there were a few Common Brown butterflies flapping around plus a couple of day-flying moths.

I managed to sneak up on this butterfly after several aborted attempts to get any photos, particularly ones with the wings open! :-)

The butterflies were doing what this species does at this time of the year - flying close to the ground and occasionally landing, opening and closing the wings a couple of times then off again.

I think this one might be a male.

(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

December Mothing (1)

It was sheer good fortune I was able to photograph this Cossid late last night. I turned the porch light on as I went outside and this moth was straight in, hammering the fluorescent light. It took some time to settle long enough for me to take a couple of photos.

It was a soft grey colour with intricate patterning on the wings. There is also a hint of rust brown towards the base as well. As it was flying against the light, the wings looked lacey.

I'm going out on a limb and speculatively identify it as Endoxyla sp! :-)
(Click to enlarge)

I will be watching for more Cossids from now on.