Sunday, 20 December 2009

December Mothing - 1

Weather has been a bit temperamental during December, with a lot of wind and cold nights. No point putting the sheet out in those conditions! Here are a few caught during a couple of warm, still nights.

(Click images to enlarge)

A Plume Moth, Stangeia xerodes

Possibly Thrincophora signigerana
TORTRICIDAE : Tortricinae

This one was taken inside. Apologies for lack of quality of image but that's what happens when short people stand on stools trying to photograph moths on the ceiling!! :-)

Unfortunately, the moth expired before I could catch it to take outside.
Pyralid of some kind, maybe?
Here's an unidentified Noctuid.
If anyone knows what these two are, please let me know.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

November Mothing - 6

Well, what a week this past one has been! While Canberra went into meltdown, I was finding a moth listed as critically endangered in Australia!

This is the Golden Sun Moth, Synemon plana. Victoria seems to be the last stronghold for this diurnal species and is listed as a threatened taxon.
The moth is quite complex. The males usually have a range of not much more than 100 metres which they patrol on very still, warm days searching for females who are generally non-fliers. The females deposit themselves on the host plant, Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia species) flashing their orange hindwing to attract the male. The moth has limited mouthparts and unable to feed or drink so their lifespan is limited to about a week.

I caught this moth doing a bit of circle-work on a footpath leading to the back door. It may have got caught up in a long wire cage I made to protect seedlings from bird attack which is currently on a wall to deter my cats from getting onto the roof whilst the Pardalotes are raising their brood. If this was the reason for the circling behaviour, it could be due to the moth being a bit disorientated. When I put it on a leaf of a large shrub, it immediately flew off.

More on the status of this moth here.

Click to enlarge images)

Synemon plana

An old favourite a bit worse for wear - probably due to a microbat or something!

I found Oenochroma vinaria caterpillars in a young Hakea, trying to hide from the rain, yesterday.

Oenochroma vinaria
GEOMETRIDAE : Oenochrominae

Saturday, 21 November 2009

November Mothing - 5

New species (for me) are continuing to present themselves this month. Here are a few of them.
(Click images to enlarge)

Two new species of Idaea and I was lucky enough to have help with the identifications.
The top one is the striking Idaea pseliota.

This one is Idaea philocosma
Geometridae : Sterrhinae

Another Tiger/Footman.
This one is Termessa gratiosa.
Arctiidae : Lithosiinae

Gastrina cristaria
Geometridae : Ennominae

This, I think is Persectania ewingii.
If you enlarge this photo, the scales resemble feathers on this particular moth. Probably a really fresh model! :-)
Noctuidae : Hadeninae.

We are in for some cooler weather and rain, hopefully, so mothing may be put on the back burner for a few days.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

November Mothing - 4

High temperatures (30s+) last week brough some new moths (for me) plus a few of the usual suspects.

Here are some of them.

(Click images to enlarge)

This is a new moth for me.
Sandava xylistis
Noctuidae : Hypeninae

This is a small moth less that 1cm in length.
Eublemma rivula
Noctuidae : Acontiinae

I think this is Chloroclystis filata. It had a wingspan of about 2cm.
Geometridae : Larentiinae

This one has proved difficult to identify absolutely.

In Janurary this year, I photographed Sterictopsis argyraspis but this one seems to have much darker zig-zag lines across the upper wing. If anyone can correctly identify it, I would be pleased.

Sterictopsis species
Geometridae : Geometrinae

Nacoleia rhoeoalis
Crambidae : Pyraustinae

(Boarmia) suasaria
Geometridae : Ennominae

I knew I was psychic! I just knew my Hypobapta percomptaria would be darker than Mosura's !! :-)

Geometridae : Geometrinae
Edit: This moth might be Hypobapta diffundens - not H. percomptaria.

Friday, 13 November 2009

November Mothing - 3

With temperatures in the 30's+ during this week and a couple of reasonably still nights, mothing has been productive. Here are a few from early in the week.

(Click images to enlarge)

NOCTUIDAE : Heliothinae
Helicoverpa punctigera

Dysbatus singularis

GEOMETRIDAE : Geometrinae
Hypobapta diffundens

Cryphaea xylina
UPDATE: I've received advice this moth might be Mimaglossa species.
Pyralidae: Epipaschiinae
CRAMBIDAE : Pyraustinae
Achyra affinitalis (light and dark forms)
A lovely chestnut form of Uresphita ornithropteralis
CRAMBIDAE : Pyraustinae
I'm pretty sure this is Eochrois callianessa.
There is a tinge of yellow on this moth where it should be.
OECOPHORIDAE : Oecophorinae
This one is unidentified. If anyone knows what it is, I'd be very pleased to know. About 1.5cm in length.
Also, if I have made an error with other identifications, please let me know.

Monday, 9 November 2009

November Mothing - 2

Ten moths of interest attended the sheet on a balmy Saturday night. Six of those, a specific identification might not be possible because of insufficient research information on the Internet.

A number of Horehound Plume Moths (Wheeleria spilodactylus) were around as well.
(Click images to enlarge)

This is my first encounter with Opodiphthera eucalypti. This one is a male.
A bit weather-beaten, unfortunately.
Underwing shot.

Another Tiger/Footman. This one is Termessa sp. possibly T. zonophanes.
ARCTIIDAE : Lithosiinae
Here's a bit of a look at the hindwing and abdomen. This moth was roaring all over the sheet and took some time before it settled enough for a reasonable shot. I'm surprised this shot isn't one big blur!
This is a richly coloured example of Anachloris subochraria.
GEOMETRIDAE : Larentiinae
An Oecophorid. Probably Philobota species. There is a hint of a dark line along the costa but again, research information is sadly lacking to help with an accurate identification.
UPDATE: I've received advice this might be Philobota productella.
The others not appearing here were Geometrids. One was Idaea species, one Taxeotis, I suspect and three remain in the 'too hard file' ! :-)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

November Mothing

A nice start to the month with a new species for me in the form of a Tiger Moth/Footman (Arctiidae)

(Click images to enlarge)

In this image, there is just a hint of a red hindwing.

This is one of my favourites, the Hawk Moth. Hippotion scrofa. My first encounter with this moth in February last year was with a darker specimen. They are nectar eaters and I am wondering if this one has been at my Jasmine which is in full flower! It had not elected to sit on the camelia. I wanted to check the hindwing colour (in this species, it's usually red) while it was resting on a timber beam but it wasn't in the mood for such an examination!
SPHINGIDAE : Macroglossinae

I'm almost certain this is Halone ophiodes. It is my first sighting of this moth. We've had some quite hot days over the past week which probably brought these two species into action.
ARCTIIDAE : Lithosiinae

Friday, 28 August 2009

August 2009 Mothing

Well, it might have something to do with the weather but moths are definitely on the wing this month. I think I heard a report that Victoria has had it's warmest August since records began or for a very long time. It's one or the other!

No. 1 is Uresiphita ornithopteralis. The common name is Tree Lucerne Moth but I am yet to find my Tagasaste trees showing any indication of caterpillar invasion since I began looking for this moth 12 months ago! I will inspect my neighbour's Broom plant shortly. Broom is another host plant, apparently.
CRAMBIDAE : Pyraustinae

No. 2 - Anachloris subochraria
GEOMETRIDAE : Larentiinae

No.3 Female specimen of Phrissogonus laticostata. Common name is Apple Looper.
I have observed No.2 and No. 3 flying about the same time previously.
GEOMETRIDAE : Larentiinae

No. 4. Agrotis munda showing white hindwing which apparently sets this moth apart from another very similar species, Agrotis radians. A. radians also has considerable white edging along the forewing veins and hingwing colour is buffish which darkens at the margin plus dark veining.
NOCTUIDAE : Noctuinae

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

July 2009 Mothing

Precious little mothing activity here during the month of July, but here are two interesting ones that came to the porch light. Both were approximately 2cm in length.

(Click images to enlarge)

Not absolutely sure about the first one, but it may be Nisista species
UPDATE: Nisista serrata (Thanks Marilyn)

I have no idea what this one is! It could be something in winter clothes!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A Weevil?

For several weeks, I've noticed a squadron of these insects congregating under my porch light. I think they might be living under my woodbox, a recycled crate sitting on a couple of offcuts to keep it off the ground. By daylight, they have disappeared.

Body length would be about 8mm.

(Click to enlarge)

The closest I could come up with was a weevil thanks to Peter Chew's excellent site, Brisbane Insects.

Suggestions welcome, as usual.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

June Moths

Winter is here and the moths have been few and far between. Here are a few that have landed on the porch wall. I may be insane, but not insane enough to sit under the clothes line observing a sheet slowly absorbing moisture from the cold night air! :-) My sheet and light have been packed away until September or October, depending on weather conditions.

No.1 Oxycanus antipoda again

No. 2. I suspect this might be Tortricopsis species.
It was approximately 1cm in length.
Oecophoridae : Oecophorinae

UPDATE: I've been checking this moth again and I think it could be a species of Tortricid as the palps are projected directly in front of the head rather than sickle-shaped and/or upturned as with some Oecophorids.

No. 3. Capusa species - propably Capusa senilis again.
Geometridae : Ennominae

No. 4. This moths flopped in front of me as I was stalking fungi.
It could either be Psilosticha mactaria or Philotis cognata. I am
leaning towards the former because of the scalloped hindwings, which
is characteristic of Psilosticha mactaria.
Geometridae: Ennominae

UPDATE (11/1/11) this moth is identified as Ectropis fractaria.