Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A taste for fruit

A dark shape on the verandah ceiling ouside our kitchen turned out to be a large moth that must have been attracted by the light last night and had settled to await tonight for another flight. It was not in a great spot for a photo so capture in a plastic container enabled it to be repositioned on a table.
When it was being moved in the container I noticed bright colours on the hind wings but each time I tried to get the wings displayed in the open position the moth flew off but fortunately landed a short distance away.
 My only way to get the display was with it contained and trying to escape the container.
Not a great photo but it does show the hidden beauty of the orange and black markings.
After some research I identified it as one of the Fruit Piercing moths in the NOCTUIDAE family sub family Catocaline Eudocima fullonia. 
Widespread worldwide throughout tropical regions it is an orchard pest of many types of  fruit and in Queensland citrus and tropical fruits are widely affected. It is the adult moth that causes the problem as it pierces the fruit with a strong proboscis and sucks the juice. The hole allows disease to enter making the fruit unsaleable.
We are likely to be at the southern end of its range and this is the first one I have seen but neighbours have reported having problems. At present wedo not have enough numbers to cause us any significant problem in the orchard, although with global warming it could be in the future .

An interesting features are the pair of labial palps in front of the eyes and the shoulder tufts.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Another moth and unusual predator

Another moth visitor last night and I thought the very distinctive patterns on the wings would make identification relatively easy but although I have found very similar looking moths this one has a few different markings.

So it would seem to be one of the species in the ANTHELIDAE family and the closest I can find is Anthela limonea butI will happily be corrected if someone knows the identity.

Today, when I was cutting a tree up for firewood, I noticed nearby in amongst a deep cover of bark and leaf litter the telltale sign of a silent predator. The red and white fruiting stem of a fungi Cordyceps militaris, that invades chrysalis of various insects or  caterpillars, gaining nutrition from their bodies.

I don't know what type of insect was the victim but you can see the small egg-shaped cases that held the small larva, from which the fruiting body has burst forth. There is some interest in this fungi from a medicinal view point and a related fungi in Tibet is worth more than gold. This species is found throughout NSW and Victoria.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wing shine

After being away for some time it is good to get back to the blog and first up are a few photos of a moth that was attracted to the lights yesterday evening.

 The metallic shine of the wings was a particularly striking feature but as yet I haven't identified the species.

The other notable point for identification was two orange coloured spots on the underwings.