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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Australian Moths and other garden observations (1 Viewer)

A combination of my day job taking over and a cloudless virtually full moon sky has meant no worthwhile opportunity to go trapping over the last week or so. It does give me a chance to sort some photos from earlier in the month
Austrocarea iocephala (Nolidae, Chloephorinae) this is usually a rare annual visitor with a good year seeing two records. This year it has been a regular visitor appearing on at least ten occasions so far
Cernia amyclara (Geometridae, Oenochrominae) a regular visitor to the sheet but always a pleasure to see.
Neogyne (Geometridae, Ennominae) I have only recorded this genus on a handful of occasions so was vey happy to see this one earlier in the month
Oglasa prionosticha (Erebidae, Erebinae) currently placed in Oglasa by some references but consensus is that it remains unplaced. A new species for me
Pardomima amyntusalis (Crambidae, Spilomelinae) I have only caught this on two previous occasions.
Thosea threnopis (Limacodidae) my run of Limacods continues with a couple of records of this species so far this month
 

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The forecast did not disappoint last night and we had the first semi decent rain of the season. It had the desired effect on the moth fauna as well, with the exception of Hepialidae which are very often emerge after / during rain, they were notable in their absence. Saturnidae on the other hand were out in decent numbers with at least ten of them flying around, they were hard to count as they didnt really settle on the sheet. With a wingspan of approx 10cm+ they are not exactly small. As adults these are not identifiable to species with any degree of certainty so these will remain as Syntherata sp at the moment. A new book is being written on this family and that may clarify adult IDs. They are all highly variable species both in pattern and colouration, last night yellow forms predominated but there were at least three brown individuals as well.
 

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After an absence of six months it is nice to see Oenochroma infantilis (Oenochrominae) re-appearing on the sheet again. I had a single on 17th November and then last night there were at least 5, it can become quite common with 40-50 on the sheet at any one time. A completely pointless stat regarding this species - there are 122 records for it on iNat making it the 14th most commonly recorded Oenochrominae in Aus...119 out of the 122 records are mine from here in Weipa!
 

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During the Dry (May-Dec) I very rarely bother to trap in my actual garden, being a government house it is nothing more than a grass rectangle with a six foot fence around it. However one the Wet starts I do trap here with the bulb about 7 foot off the ground against the wall of the house. This last week the Wet has started with rain each afternoon / early evening, Thursday night was especially wet, and there is the prospect of the first Cyclone of the season battering the eastern seaboard of the Cape by the middle of the week. This will hopefully result in some decent total but we shall see what happens as the storm is weakening from a Cat 4 but may well build up as it reaches the coast. Last night I turned the trap on here for the first time this wet and had approx 40 species (I am way way behind in processing photos so not sure exactly how many yet). These are some of the highlights
Bulonga distans (Geometridae, Ennominae) - this species is one of few that I catch in my garden but have not caught it out in the bush yet
Comana cosmocalla (Limacodidae) - a reasonably regular visitor to the sheet
Crithote pannicula (Erebidae, Annobinae) - a common visitor to my light
 

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We were not impacted by ex TC Jasper at all here in Weipa but as it has crossed the Cape to our south and entered the Gulf it has pulled weather down from the north which has given us some much needed rain (250mm in last three days) and a lot of storms, so much so that last night discretion was the order of the day and I didn't go out Bush which I had wanted to given the rain we were having. I put the trap on in the garden for only the second time since last Wet, no point in the Dry. Whilst numbers and diversity are always far lower than at my usual sites there were still a few things of interest with the highlights so far being this quartet below. Our internet is out till next week so have uploaded lower resolution photos than normal.
Oenochroma polyspila (Geometridae, Oenochrominae) - only my fourth record of this species, all from Weipa. Aside from the specimens on BOLD all published records for this are mine.
Periopta ardescens (Noctuidae, Agaristinae) - my first record for several months
Prororcopis (Erebidae, Erebinae) - I think this is the correct genus, with the internet down I cannot check all my normal references as hotspotting off my phone is not very effective for data hungry webpages
Targalla suffundens (Eutelidae) - only my second record for this species, these seem to be the only modern published records for this large and impressive Eutelid. Sadly it was disturbed before I could take any decent shots of it
 

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The forecast last night was reasonable so I decided to head out to my main site. I did end up finishing earlier than I would have liked as the next band of thunderstorms started to get closer and discretion won as I did not fancy packing up in torrential rain. I timed it reasonably well as within an hour of getting home the storm started...Only just started to go through the images, and I am still working on November so will be a while before I get to these properly, but these are two of the obvious highlights
Attatha spA (Erebidae, Erebinae, Catocalini) - my fifth record of this fantastic and as yet undescribed species, all have been in Deember folowing the first rains of the season
Cochylini sp? - I recorded this on four dates on Thursday Island between February and April 2021 and the closest I have been able to get to an ID for this is that it is "probably" something in Tortricidae, Tortricinae, Cochylini was as far as Marian Horak, the expert in Australian Torts, could go when I sent the photos to her
 

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Aquilonia costata (Lampyridae) was common on the sheet with at least 20 present last night. They created an amazing spectacle when I turned the traps off and shook them off the sheet, sadly my attempts at taking a video showing them at their best failed totally!
 

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I rarely bother trapping when the moon is full but the forecast last night was for no wind, cloud and light rain until 0200 so I thought it was worth a go. The forecast was partially right and until 9.30pm was spot on, cloud and rain, and the moths came in in decent numbers. Sadly after that the cloud cleared and the 250k radar sweep showed no more cloud of note and as the moon rose it was obvious that very little else was going to appear so I packed it in for the night. The last month has been fantastic for Saturniidae and last night was no exception. There were at least 15 Syntherata flying around and three very worn Opodiphthera eucalypti. First three images are the Syntherata.
 

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There were only a couple of Aquilonia costata (Lampyridae) around but that might have been more to do with the moon than anything else - I did manage to get one photo of its segments flashing. According to the Australian specialist I am " probably the first person in about 100 years to see this species in a mass display and to know what it is!"
 

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Barely managed to get any field work in over the Christmas holidays due to the weather and last night the forecast was for clear skies so decided to join the rest of the family and socialise over NYE...big mistake cloudy and rain until at least 0200! The break has allowed me to get some of the backlog from this year edited and a few identified but really need to take 3 months off work to make any real dent in it! Earlier last month I had seen and photographed a very red Limacodidae and finally got round to finding and editing the photos. It was a new species for me, Doratifera corallina, and it appears a new species to the Cape. There is in fact just a single record of this species away from northern WA, a caterpillar recorded in southern central Queensland in 2022. The first two photos are of corallina and the third is of Doratifera quadriguttata from the same night.
 

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Another new species of Limacodidae for me from last month Pygmaeomorpha aquila.
 

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Went out last night for the first trapping session of 2024, the conditions were nearly perfect raining and humid with winds dropping as the night progressed. Sadly the night did not live up to the expectations and was very ordinary and not particularly busy. The main highlight so far (not touched most of the micro's yet so will take a while to edit and ID) was my second record of Neomusotima conspurcatalis (Crambidae, Musotiminae) - my first record was from roughly this time last year.
I am still very slowly working through initial edits from 2023 (and earlier) and this morning have got round to this beauty Homospora rhodoscopa (Geometridae, Oenochrominae) - first two images, not worked out how to re-order them!. The vast majority of the records for this species are from NT / WA but there is a single record from Queensland on both BOLD and iNat. This does seem to be the first record for the Cape though.
 

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A small selection from last night, I attempted to go out again tonight but it was too wet to safely set up so I am trapping in the garden instead which is slightly frustrating as it is another potentially excellent night
Aenetus thermistis (Hepialidae) - the only Hep that occurs on the Cape a far as I am aware
Avitta ophiusalis (Erebidae, Erebinae, Catocalini) - a scarce visitor to the sheet with usually only a single record each year
Crocanthes venustula (Lecitherocidae) - prior to 2022 this species was only known from a single specimen caught in 1938 (Park 2017). Over the last two years have caught it in several locations on both the eastern and western sides of the Cape
Entomogramma torsa (Erebidae, Erebinae, Catocalini) - it has been a very good Wet for this species with up to 5 on the sheet in a night
Hippotion velox (Sphngidae) - there were three individuals on the sheet as well as two other species
Oenochroma infantilis (Oenochrominae) - one of over 100 on the sheet
Platyja umminia (Erebidae, Erebinae) - a scarce but annual visitor
Protuliocnemis partita (Geometridae, Geometrinae) - one of the most beautiful members of this family in my opinion
Syntherata (Saturniidae) - there were only three around last night so I wonder if the season is over for them
Targalla suffundens (Eutelidae) - my second record of this species this Wet season
Technemon ANIC2 (Noctuidae, Acontiinae) - a rare visitor to the sheet
Theretra oldenlandiae (Sphingidae)
 

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Was restricted to trapping in the garden last night as far too wet to set the traps up at my normal bush sites. Approximately 300+ moths on the wall by 01.30 when I turned the light off - majority were made up of five species Herpetogramma licarsisalis (150+), Risoba griseata (50+), Spodoptera mauritia (40+), Spodoptera litura (20+) and Casbia rectaria (20+)
Attonda trifasciata (Erebidae, Erebinae) - seems to be a good season for this species as I have caught it several times at my bush sites as well
Herpetogramma licarsisalis (Crambidae, Spilomelinae) - at least 150 of these on the wall
Macroglossum errans (Sphingidae) - surprisingly the only hawkmoth that appeared.
Meyrickella torquesauria (Erebidae, Hypeninae) - my first for the Wet
Ortholomia moluccana (Notodontidae) - there were two on the wall
Pagyda botydalis (Crambidae, Pyraustinae) - two on the wall
Risoba obstructa (Nolidae) - at least 50 on the wall
Ruttellerona sp A (Geometridae, Ennominae) - only my second record of this genus in Weipa
Xenogenes miranda (Erebidae, Erebinae) - only my second record, first was in 2017, as far as I can tell this is the first published record for the Cape
 

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Two good micro's from the garden last night before the wind picked up and started to blow stuff of the trees so I turned it off.
Cosmoclostis hemiadelpha (Pterophoridae) - I can only find three Australian records (1x 1993 and 2x 1994) all from the top of the Cape. The Papua Insect Foundation webpage says it is rare with just a single record. The photo on PIF is the only other photo of a live specimen that I can find.
Microsarotis sanderyi (Tortricidae, Olethreutinae, Grapholtini) - my second record for this small Tort, first being from Thursday Island three years ago
 

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Went out last night to main my bush sites (an old pistol range) and used the remains of one of the buildings as a base as it was windy and didn't fancy trying to photograph off a flapping sheet! Despite there having been steady rain all last week it was relatively quiet but there was still plenty of interest and I managed to solve a three year old mystery as a result!
First shot is my set up for the night - my genny is hidden under the blue tarp to the bottom right corner of the screen. This site has been very productive over the past two years with over 1000 species so far!
Lophoptera melanesigera (Eutelidae, Stictopterinae) - my first record for several years.
Radinocera vagata (Noctuidae, Agarstinae) - one of the so called day flying moths that I have only ever seen at night on my moth sheet!
Syntheta xylistis (Noctuidae, Acronictinae) - I have seen this species twice before when I lived on TI and had put it down as a Lignispalta species but I relooked at last nights individual and I think that this is in fact S.xylistis - there are a handful of published records but as far as I can tell this is the first photograph of a live specimen
 

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This season continues to be very frustrating. There has been reasonable if patchy rain but the constant feature has been the wind - normally wind is a killer but last weekend showed me that I really dont have a clue what makes a decent moth night! The conditions were less than ideal as the sheet was billowing all over the place but it looks like it may have been one of the best nights of the season so far. Still early days processing wise as work has got in the way but it is looking like 150-200 species with 1500-2000 individuals on the sheet.
This species is one of the undoubted highlights and at this stage no one is completely sure what family this is although our current thinking is that it may be something in Tanaoctena (Galacticidae). We shall just have to wait and see what comes back when the specimen is properly curated at ANIC and hopefully some DNA work done to see if its ID can be determined or whether it is a new undescribed species.
 

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