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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Australian Moths and other garden observations (1 Viewer)

Atropos

Well-known member
Thursday night I managed to get out to one of my bush sites again, only trapped till 11pm when I unfortunately had to come home earlier than expected. It was insanely hot (we are in the middle of an extreme weather event here with day time temps in the 40s and night temps hardly getting below 30) but the little bit of rain that we had at the end of last week has made a huge difference. Still processing the photos and already over 100 species for the night with the finished total likely to approach 130, there has been an obvious shift from Dry season mothing as although there are still plenty of micro's on the sheet the number of species of macro moth has increased dramatically.
Here are a few
Tetracona (Agrotera) amathealis (Crambidae, Spilomelinae) - in Cairns this was a daily feature on my sheet, here it is far less frequent averaging a couple of records a month (although that may change when the Wet really starts)
Aucha vesta (Noctuidae, Acronictinae) - not particularly common on the sheet during the Dry, more regular in the Wet
Bocula odontosema (Erebidae, Erebinae) - only the second I have recorded in Weipa
Comostola iodiodes (Geometridae, Geometrinae) - a new species for me in Weipa and not one that I have recorded very often from north of Cairns (just a single records from TI and Nhulunbuy in the last three years)
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Second part of my bush trip
Donuca lanipes (Erebidae, Erebinae) - quite often there is one moth that causes havoc on the sheet, sometimes it is literally a single individual and others it is one species that has clearly recently emerged and they come to the light in numbers. Thursday night it was this species that became a real nuisance with atleast 6 crashing into the sheet all night, which as they have a wingspan of atleast 6 cm was frustrating!
Eublemma loxotoma (Erebidae, Boletobiinae) - I am not exactly sure of this ones taxonomic placement, in some references it is in Eublemma but in others it remains in Autoba. Either way this was a new species for me
Genduara subnotata (Lasiocampidae) - another new species for me and from the look of it a major range expansion as the closest record in Queensland that I can find is approx 21500km south of me (although it does occur in northern WA and NT so no surprise it is on the Cape)
Neomantis (Mantodea) - this was one of my target Mantids for here. A researcher has asked me to be on the look out for this genus. There is currently only a single species namely Neomantis australis, which is known from the Townsville / Cairns area but there are a couple of low quality photos I am told from Iron Range that are clearly this genus but look slightly different - there are currently no specimens from north of Cairns so no in depth studies have been done to determine if this is the same species showing natural variation or whether this is in fact a new species. This is a female and will be sent down to the researchers to try determine exactly what it is.
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Final selection for today
Labdia chryselectra (Cosmoptergidae, Cosmopterginae) - a regular on the sheet
Oenochroma infantilis (Geometridae, Oenochrominae) - another new species for me
Sympycnodes saltera (Cossidae) - I think that this is saltera but the photos have been sent to the Australian expert on this family. This is the first known photo of a live specimen, there are 5 on BOLD all from the eastern side of the Cape around Cooktown I think but nothing from further north or the west
Targalla delatrix (Eutelidae, Eutelinae) - a new species for me in Weipa and one with few records from the Cape and none that I could find from the western Cape

I am off out again tonight to my other bush site so will be good to compare and see what is happening there
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
An absolutely crazy weekend (and start to the week) which has meant that have had no time at all to process any of my images from the last couple of sessions. Finally had some time last night and today so a few photos from the last couple of nights.
Aloa costalis (Erebidae, Arctiinae) - a very nicely marked individual. Not seen this species for a couple of years so was very pleased when this appeared on the sheet
Auchmophanes (Erebidae, Herminiinae) - one of several known but as yet undescribed members of this genus, there were several of these on the sheet over the weekend
Axiocrita cataphanes (Pyralidae, Epipaschiinae) - have caught this a couple of times this month and thanks to a friend have finally tracked down an ID for it.
Coesyra philoxena (Oecophoridae, Oecophorinae) - a new species for me.
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
A few more from the weekend
Crioa acronyctoides (Erebidae, Erebinae) - was totally thrown by this individual as it lacks the large tuft behind the head...shows the weakness of relying on a single feature for an ID!
Donuca orbigera (Erebidae, Erebinae) - there were at least three of these on the sheet on Saturday behaving like rowdy teenagers, causing chaos all over the place when trying to photograph some interesting Spilomelinae. Ended up having to catch them and then release them at the end of the night
Ectadiosoma straminea (Crambidae, Spilomelinae) - a new species for me and one that almost got away thanks to the Donuca species above!
Eloasa bombycoides and Eloasa brevipennis (Limacodidae) - both of these were present in good numbers this weekend. E. brevipennis is a stunning moth in real life my photos do not do the colours justice.
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Gonioma hospita (Xylortycidae) - there were several of these on the sheet over the weekend. Only known from the western Cape so was very nice to see them.
IMG 3556 (Phycitinae) - absolutely no idea what this is. It has similarities with the genus Emmalocera but this is larger and has a very dark hindwing, a feature that is not found on many Phycitinae. Have sent this to various experts and to date none have even been able to confirm Phycitinae although all seem to agree thisis the most likely family
Lissomma (Geometridae, Oenochrominae) - not seen these for a few weeks so I assume that this is a second brood emerging.
Macroglossum errans and vacillans (Spingidae) - these are the two commonest Macroglossum species here at the moment.
Orthospila orissusalis (Crambidae, Spilomelinae) - the second new Spilomelinae for me this weekend
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
A few from end of last week - am heading out again tonight to make the most of the moonless nights.
Aloa costalis (Erebidae, Arctiinae) - nice to see this species regularly
Anthela phoenicias (Anthelidae) - nice male, one of the few Anthelids to have no stigma on the forewing. That combines with the colouration makes them easy to identify
Cenoloba obliteralis (Alucitoidea, Tineodidae) - there were a handful of these on the sheet last week.
Comana miltochyta (Limacodidae) - another new species for me
Dahlia sp (Erebidae, Erebinae) - the sole Australian representative of this genus is not black like this specimen so at this stage I am not completely sure what this is although it is a reasonable match with melanica that occurs in New Guinea
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Gymnoscelis kennii (Geometridae, Larentiinae) - one of the few Aussie Pugs that is easy to identify
Iscadia pulchra (Nolidae, Eligiminae) - as can be seen from these two specimens from the same night they are quite variable, and large!
Nephopterix chryserythra (Pyralidae, Phycitinae) - one of the few that is identifiable to species
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Lactura dives and Lactura erythractis (Lacturidae) - I had originally thought that the first species was an Asura but a friend stumbled across its true identity whilst checking another Lactura
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Last night had the potential to be the best night of the year so far, warm (well hot really) with light to moderate rain and no wind....sadly my generator decided that it was not going to behave and stopped after a couple of hours so despite being serviced last month it is back with the mechanics again and I am now looking at alternatives for the rest of the season (they say they can get it up and running again by the weekend but who knows). I think a second genny will be bought (not a Honda unfortunately as there are apparently none in the country) and a battery operated Lepilid light system from Germany is about to be ordered. In the couple of hours that I was able to trap there was some interesting stuff on the sheet as well as an amazing supporting cast of Palm Cockatoo, Greater and Lesser Frigatebirds, Large-tailed Nightjar and Rufous Owl
Blenina viridata (Nolidae, Chloephorinae) - not seen this species for several years and a new one for Weipa.
Brevipecten captata (Erebidae, Erebinae) - I have not seen this species since 2017 and as far as I can tell there are no records in Queensland from north of Mossman
Ramadasa crystallina (Erebidae, Erebinae) - my third record from the last couple of months
Xanthodes amata (Noctuidae, Bagisarinae) - another species new to Weipa, and from what I can see the Cape as there seem to be no published records north of Mossman / Port Douglas
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Daphnis protrudens (Sphingidae) - one of my favourite species, and one that was common in my garden in Shannonvale. Aside from records from the northern Torres Strait and the Iron Range there are no other records from the Cape and certainly none from the western Cape. An unexpected bonus
Macroglossum prometheus lineata (Sphingidae) - only the second individual of this species that I have seen
Dysgonia (Erebidae, Erebinae) - I have caught several species in the Dysgonia / Bastilla complex but nothing that looks like this. SO far no-one else that I have talked to has any idea as to what species this is.
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Due to work have been restricted to trapping at home this week. The trap has been quite productive with 40+ species each night. Here are a few from the week to date
Anemosa isadasalis (Crambidae, Odontiinae) - my first record of this species for several years, it was quite common around cairns so I shall be interested to see how frequently it comes to light here in Weipa
Anticrates paraxantha (Lacturidae) - there are very few published records of this species, it was certainly new to me
Circopetes obtusata (Geometridae, Oenechrominae) - one of the few Australian species with a widely accepted "common" name...Grey Twisted Moth
Dipterygina kebeae (Noctuidae, Acronictinae) - another species that I recorded from the Cairns region but not seen for several years.
Emphylica xanthocrossa (Crambidae, Pyraustinae) another new species for me.
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Heteropsyche peocilochroma (Epipyropidae) - not the most visually stunning of species (or families for that matter) but one that always blows me away due to the fact that its caterpillars are carnivorous parasites on Fulgoridae or Lantern Flies!
Hyperlopha aridela (Erebidae, Erebinae) - another species that I have not seen for about five years
Isocentris filalis (Crambidae, Spilomelinae) - widespread in Asia but few records on the Cape, this appears to be the first for the western Cape although recorded from Iron Range
Prionopterina tritosticha (Erebidae, Hypeninae) - this species took me a long time to identify when I first caught it in Cairns in 2016 as I was convinced this was something in Crambinae this appears to be one of few records from the western Cape..
Somatina microphylla (Geometridae, Sterrhinae) - another species with few records from the Cape. recorded from Iron Range
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Final selection for today
Synthereta sp (Saturniidae) - possibly escarlata but a dissection job to confirm species
Theretra margarita (Sphingidae) - a new species for the northern Cape with the closest record being in Laura 490kms to our SSE
Trichiocercus sparshallii (Notodontidae) - another species that is visually underwhelming but one with a unique history. It was described by a gentleman called John Curtis in 1830 and named after Joseph Sparshall the man who found the first specimen in August 1829, nothing too unusual about that until you find out that the specimen Sparshall found was apparently collected from the trunk of an Elm tree on a lane "near Horning, Norfolk UK"...this is the only record not only of this species, but this genus, outside of Australia!
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Apologies for no posts for a week but work has got in the way, have not even got round to IDing the basics from my last two sessions. One that I have spent time looking at is this one. I have caught this four times in the last few weeks and have put it down as a Cotachena species but have now found a tentative ID and it looks to be another new species for Australia Cotachena fulvomarginalis (Crambidae, Spilomelinae). It is listed as being found on New Guinea and that is the only location that I have found any records for (namely the specimens on BOLD). So in addition to this being a first for Aus it also looks like this is the first published photo of a live specimen.
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Work and clear moonlit nights have severely restricted trapping opportunities over the last fortnight but I managed to get out twice over the weekend and although work will stop me getting to my bush site again till next weekend I will be trapping from home. Highlight this weekend was without doubt seeing a Black-footed Tree Rat when I was driving home last night (only had my macro lens with me). This once widespread species is now in severe decline across its whole range and the Cape York population was only found a couple of years ago apparently and is rarely seen other than via camera traps.
Anyway on to the moths!
Saturniidae featured strongly on Friday night with at least two species and 15+ individuals.
Neodiphthera excavus was nice to see again, especially an individual in good condition. The rest were all Syntherata species...unfortunately as adults these are ridiculously hard to get to species (the caterpillars are easier in many cases) and whilst it is likely that these were all escarlata inspection of genitalia is required to be certain - they are all highly variable colour wise and this weekend was no exception with individuals ranging from Yellow and Brown as the two posted here through to the same red colour as the Neodiphthera
 

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Atropos

Well-known member
Oenochroma (Geometridae, Oenochrominae) were also present in good numbers with three species turning up on Friday night
Oenochroma infantilis - the commonest species with ten individuals turning up on the sheet. Prior to my series of records this was a rarely recorded species with few published records, here in Weipa it is seemingly quite common.
Oenochroma pallida - a widespread species that I used to record in Cairns. Here it is less common and this is the fourth individual I have seen this year
Oenochroma polyspila - a new species for me and one that appears to have been rarely recorded with only four records that I can find on line
 

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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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