Wednesday, 17 February 2016

No sting in the tail

I found another muncher on the Slender Grape vine today but a decidedly larger and duller critter than the caterpillar of the Joseph's Coat Moth.

This caterpillar is in the SPHINGIDAE family and the moth is the Pale Brown Hawk Moth Theretra latreillii and is found in tropical and sub-tropical Australia and various sub species are found throughout Asia. The Slender Grape vine is one of a number of food sources for this species.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Coat of many colours

Lately I have regularly observed Painted Vine Moths, Agarista agricola one of the NOCTUIDAE family, but have not been able to get any photos as they haven't remained still enough to enable focusing. But today I found one caterpillar on a Slender Grape vine Cayratia clematideo a thin scrambling native that is growing amongst our banana plants.

It is one of the most dramatic patterned caterpillars and like many of the showy ones it says to predators "you can see me but you won't like the taste"

As I was taking photos one of the moths arrived and was busy marking out her territory around the vines and on the bananas,  marking with a scent to discourage any others from depositing eggs. 

The other name for this moth is Joseph's Coat Moth  which as you can see from the photo is quite apt. It is a day flying moth and as well as the native vines that are the food source for the caterpillars they will also feed on the cultivated grape vines. Found it the Northern Territory, Queensland, NSW  and Victoria as well as in Papua.