Drhoz! (drhoz) wrote,

#1390-1399 - Moffs (and a Butterfly and a Giant Mosquito)

#1390 - Psilogramma casuarinae or menephron - Privet Hawk Moth

Found by Susie Wade on a hedge in Dubbo, NSW. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell P. casuarinae and P. menephron apart by photos, especially at this stage. And even more so because they both enjoy a diet of Privet and White Jasmine, although the former is also a pest of olives and a wide variety of other domesticated plants. I’ve covered the former, way back at #527.

#1391 - Thalaina angulosa - Blotched Satin Moth

From Naomi Gillespie, in Rushworth, Victoria.

A striking Geometrid moth, found over large areas of Mainand Australia, where the caterpillars feast on Golden Wattle, White Mallee ( Eucalyptus dumosa) and Velvet Bean ( Cassia tomentella, CAESALPINIACEAE ). Probably other plants too.

#1392 - Thalaina tetraclada

Another Satin Moth, this one photographed by Zara Brown in Coondle WA. Bit blurry, but seeing the hindwings makes the species ID certain. Found in New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia, but I don’t have an info on diet. 

#1393 - Metallochlora neomela

AKA Urolitha bipunctifera (Walker, 1861), Nemoria pisina Warren, 1899 and Thalassodes albolineata Pagenstecher, 1900

Photo by Karl Granzien, in Cooroy, SE QLD. 

The Australian Butterfly House website says the caterpillar has been reared fromPlumbago auriculata, and the moth has been found in most Australian states, and in Papua. But that Plumbago is a South African species, so in the wild it probably eats Plumbago zeylanica, a native plant found in most of the warmer, wetter parts of Australia, assuming it doesn’t have a wider diet. 

#1394 - Alcides metaurus - Zodiac Moth

AKA Nyctalemon zodiaca 

 Found by Lucy of Lucy’s Textiles, and forwarded to me by one of my aunts. Lucy lives in Cairns, and said  “ Wow! This beauty was hanging around near my washing line - anyone know what it is? Probably 20cm across and super calm.”

That posture would usually suggest a Geometrid, but 20cm across is huge for any moth or butterfly, so I immediately suspected it was a Uraniid, and I was right. Uraniids, which are related to the Geometrids, include a number of spectacular, colourful, day-flying moths, of which this is one. The underside is black with fluoro-green stripes and a bright orange belly.

The caterpillars feed on poisonous plants in the Spurge family, and may be green with a black band, black with white bands and a red thorax,or red with black bands and orange legs. It seems likely that the butterflies and caterpillars sequester poison from the host plant, and advertise the fact with their vivid colours.

The eggs are often laid in open groups of two dozen or so, on plants adjacent to rather than on the foodplant - on spiderwebs near a foodplant, or on dead twigs, or on debris at the foot of the host plant. This may be a response to a defense that some plants have against caterpillars - secreting a juice where-ever an egg is laid on them. The juice causes mould to grow which kills the egg.

Native to northern Queensland.

#1395 - Erysichton lineata - Hairy Lineblue

Previously known as Lycaena lineata 

Photo by Jacquilin Amber, in Brisbane. Female of the species.

A Lycaenid butterfly found in Papua, and most of Australia’s eat coast, where the caterpillars eat the flowers of a wide range of plants including Flame Trees, Macadamias, and Tamarinds. Males don’t have the white flash, and have blue upper surfaces to their wings. 

#1396 - Toxorhynchites speciosus - Giant Mosquito

Photo by Lisa le Strange in Brisbane, QLD

Australia’s largest mosquito, with brilliant colours and a truly formidable-looking snout, as visible in the photo below by Gary Pattinson.


It’s also completely harmless, unless you’re another mosquito. 

Found along the coast of Queensland and New South Wales, where the adults drink nectar, and the larvae hunt other mosquito larvae. So effectively that the adult never needs to drink blood to get the materials that help other mosquitoes reproduce.

It’s been studied as a biological control of disease-carrying mosquito species. but results have been mixed.

#1397 - Toxorhynchites larva

The large (5mm) cannibalistic larva of a mosquito in the genus Toxorhynchites. Almost certainly T. speciosus. Photo by Kennedy Weeb, in Cooroibah, QLD

#1398 - Eucyclodes pieroides - Wattle Bizarre

AKA Anisozyga pieroides, and Comibaena pieroides. Found by Phil Mcintyre, a few hundred kilometers north of Brisbane.

This one is a female, since the males look completely different, and in fact would be hard to distinguish from many similar Emerald Loopers


The caterpillars, found on wattles, eucalypts, Syzygium and other native plants, and Avocado, roses, and a wide variety of introduced ones as well, start off by gluing small bits of debris to their backs for camouflage. After later molts they develop flanges down each side of their midline, and no longer need added disguise. 

Found in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Similar species are found in the southern states. 

#1399 - Ecyclodes sp. - Bizarre Looper

Previously Anisozyga, Thalassodes, and Comibaena.  Probably E. pieroides, the aforementioned Wattle Bizarre, since Laurie Dryburgh‎ found this one near Brisbane.  This particular individual in on his or her back, head and prolegs on the left, and is doing a nice job of pretending to be plant debris. 

Tags: blobs with no bones in, diptera (flies), education even if you don't want it, lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
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