Sunday, 29 November 2009

November Mothing - 6

Well, what a week this past one has been! While Canberra went into meltdown, I was finding a moth listed as critically endangered in Australia!

This is the Golden Sun Moth, Synemon plana. Victoria seems to be the last stronghold for this diurnal species and is listed as a threatened taxon.
The moth is quite complex. The males usually have a range of not much more than 100 metres which they patrol on very still, warm days searching for females who are generally non-fliers. The females deposit themselves on the host plant, Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia species) flashing their orange hindwing to attract the male. The moth has limited mouthparts and unable to feed or drink so their lifespan is limited to about a week.

I caught this moth doing a bit of circle-work on a footpath leading to the back door. It may have got caught up in a long wire cage I made to protect seedlings from bird attack which is currently on a wall to deter my cats from getting onto the roof whilst the Pardalotes are raising their brood. If this was the reason for the circling behaviour, it could be due to the moth being a bit disorientated. When I put it on a leaf of a large shrub, it immediately flew off.

More on the status of this moth here.

Click to enlarge images)

Synemon plana

An old favourite a bit worse for wear - probably due to a microbat or something!

I found Oenochroma vinaria caterpillars in a young Hakea, trying to hide from the rain, yesterday.

Oenochroma vinaria
GEOMETRIDAE : Oenochrominae


Mosura said...

Nice find that Golden Sun Moth!

Junior Lepid said...

There is speculation the caterpillars may remain underground feeding on the roots of wallaby grass for 2 to 3 years.

Perhaps our almost normal rainfall this year prompted some of them to emerge.

I wouldn't be expecting to see the GSM every year - but you never know! :-)