Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Flyscreen grid

A small moth was on the outside of the backdoor flyscreen in the middle of the day and stayed for a photo.

Finally tracked down the identification as Sandava xylistis of the Noctuidae family which has been found in the Eastern parts of Australia. Wingspan about 3mm. No information on the larvae food preferences.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Jezabels attracted to Fire Sprite

A warm spring day brought out many jezabel butterflies and our Grevillea Fire Sprite (cultivar) was providing a great source of nectar. Our most often sighted species is the Common Jezabel Delias nigrina but today we had quite a few Northern Jezabels getting into the action.

Female Northern Jezabel
Male Northern Jezabel
Male upper wings
The larvae of this Genus have mistletoe species as their main food source and we have many in the trees on the property to attract these butterflies.

The Northern Jezebel as their name suggests are more likely to be sighted in the north of Australia but they do range down as far as Sydney.

Common Jezebel female

Monday, 21 August 2017

From inside and out

A small pale moth was on the window last night, but a show of red colour along the leading edge of the wings hinted there was possibly more to be seen from the other side of the window.

I was not disappointed as the upper wing surfaces were well coloured and patterned, which made identification quite easy, Northern Emerald Prasinocyma rhodocosma, a species of the GEOMETROIDEA famly.

The moth has a wingspan of around 3cm and the larva feed on the new leaves of Eucalyptus and they range throughout Australia.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A weather forecaster

Ages since I have posted anything, as I have been very busy, had computer problems and not seen any new and exciting species.
I haven't had the time to go searching, so I was relying on finding something of interest just by chance.
Last night we heard loud fluttering against the window and on investigation found a large moth (75mm) which settled on a cushion and allowed a couple of photos.

It was one I hadn't seen before although it appeared to be in the HEPIALIDAE moth family. 
On checking I found this to be correct, with the species being Trictena atripalpis, common names Rain Moth or Bardi Bardi Grub Moth.
These moths are renowned for arriving just before a rain event and often only on one Autumn night in the year with all appearing on the same night.(we did find another couple coming to the light). 
Another claim to fame is the fecundity of the females which hold the world record for the most eggs of a non-social insect, with one recorded with over 40000 eggs.
It is thought that the females lay the eggs whilst in flight allowing them to be scattered over a wide area and that the rain event helps to wash the eggs into cracks and hollows giving the emerging grubs a start on gaining access to their food source.
They are found across southern Australia and the wood boring larvae feed on the roots various native trees. 

Information source  Lepidoptera Butterflyhouse website

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Native "Johnny Hairy Legs"

I can recall as a little kid getting a fright when finding one of these weird creatures scuttling around in the bath. They were not that common but you would find one every now and then, usually under the house or around drains. However yesterday I found one resting on the laundry door but it did look different to the those of my earlier years.

 It did take some tracking down for identification but finally found it to be from the SCUTIGERIDAE family species Allothereua maculata, a native House Centipede or Johnny Hairy Legs . However the common names are a bit confusing as the species of my childhood Scutigera coleptrata has the same names. That species is an import, originating from the Mediterranean region and widespread throughout the world, resulting from stowing away on ships. The Johnny Hairy Legs name is also strange as they have 15 pair of legs that are not at all hairy. The imports have naturalised mainly around urban areas where as the native species (around 8) are found mainly in bushland areas, with this one found throughout southern Australia. They move very fast and rundown their prey which are small insects, lizards
and other arthropods.