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