Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Big Parade

It's that time of year again. The moth season is about to commence.

Eustixis sp nr sapotearum; Lacturidae
Lyssa macleayi (Montrouzier); Uraniidae; Uraniinae
The Upside-down Day-flying Moth That Flies At Night

This large moth is fairly rare in north Queensland. It is said to be more common to the north where it occurs in New Guinea and Indonesia. Many uraniids are diurnal but this one in different. Oddly, it perches upside-down. The caterpillars are said to feed on Endospermum medullosum and probably other members of the plant family Euphorbiaceae.
 Hercules Moth, Coscinocera hercules (Miskin); Saturniidae; Saturniinae
I've noted this moth before, but they have just begun to show up at the lights after several months absence. This is one of the largest moths in the world and always attracts attention when it is seen for the first time. It also attracts the attention of the Black-butcher birds.
Caraea unipunctata (Bethune-Baker); Nolidae; Chloephorinae
Parotis sp., Crambidae; Pyraustinae
 Hypsidia erythropsalis Rothschild; Drepanidae
An old favourite, it is still difficult to believe that with such a large and beautiful moth, nothing is known of the larval stages nor of its host plant(s). 
 Artaxa sp.; Lymantriidae
 Donuca rubropicta (Butler); Noctuidae; Catocalinae
Caprina felderi Lederer; Crambidae; Pyraustinae
 Amerila timolis (Rothschild); Arctiidae; Arctiinae
 Eudocima aurantia (Moore); Noctuidae; Catocalinae
Chrysochloroma megaloptera (Lower); Geometridae; Geometrinae
 Tetrernia terminitis Meyrick; Crambidae; Acentropinae
(note the red mite on the top of the abdomen)
Acatapaustus mesoleuca (Lower); Nolidae; Nolinae
 Caterpillar of the Four O'clock Moth; Dysphania numana (Cramer); Geometridae; Geometrinae
Look carefully. See the tiny white spots. Those are eggs of a parasitic fly, probably in the family Tachinidae. The tachinid parasites are living within the caterpillar and will stay with it until it forms a cocoon. Then the caterpillar will die and the flies will emerge. This is a natural biological control. This exerts some form of control over the numbers of the caterpillars that will mature. But it is not a very effective way to preserve the host plant, Carallia brachiata (Rhizophoraceae). Most of the time, the large numbers of caterpillars devastate the plants.

Four o'clock Moth 
I'll end this blog with an unknown hoping one of the readers will be able to identify this moth. It appears to be an arctiid but it's one I have not seen before. There are always "unknowns" that act as the carrot before the jack-ass!


Denis Wilson said...

Amazing moths, David.
Beautiful for me to see.
Good fun for you to work out the puzzles, no doubt.

Mr. Smiley said...

Thanks Denis. Always a dazzle at the light sheet.
Thanks for the comment.