Nature Profiles

Moths of the Adelaide Hills

Zygaenidae

The Zygaenids are day-flying iridescent moths, distributed around the world (see the Cistus Forester in the Moths of Derbyshire part 1 section of the site).

Pollanisus viridipulverulenta

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Para Wirra RP, Adelaide Hills

This beautiful little species is common across most of Australia, wherever Hibbertia spp grow.

 

 

Ennominae

The moths in this family are characteristically broad, flat moths which often mimic foliage or bark superbly.

Ectropis excursaria

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This species closely resembles several other common Ennominae in the Adelaide Hills.  They have a speckled greyish-brown colouration with fine black and brown lines.

 

 

Gastrinodes bitaeniaria

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Idiodes apicata

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Mottled form

This medium-sized leaf-shaped moth is very distinctive - the overall pale brown colour with an orange-brown thin stripe across the wings allow it to be easily recognised.  The third photo shows the mottled form of the moth, which occurs frequently and has a dark, instead or orange, central line.

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Exesaria of Guenee (undescribed species)

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Nisista serrata

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Although rather drab in overall colouration, this small moth can be confidently identified in the Adelaide Hills by its serrated trailing edge to the wings (hence the scientific name). 

Its larvae feed on Acacias, and the species can be found across southern Australia.

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Scioglyptis canescaria

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Geometrinae

This family includes the Emeralds - a group of beautiful, medium-sized bright green Geometrids.  Several similar species are found in the Adelaide Hills.

Chlorocoma assimilis

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Chlorocoma externa

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Prasinocyma semicrocea

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Prasinocyma albicosta

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Crypsiphona ocultaria

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One of the commonest moths in Australia, this species can often be seen resting on walls during the day.  Its pale speckled upper wings contrast with the striking red and black banded underside.

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Austroterpna paratorna

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The prominent black thin-lined pattern helps identify this species, although other Austroterpna species are similar black-lined, grey moths. 

This species is widespread in south-eastern Australia.

 

 

Rhinodia rostraria

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upper wing markings

 

 


Upper wing markings

Oenochrominae

Oenochroma vinaria (Pink-bellied Moth)

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This abundant and colourful moth is widespread in Australia.  Its distinctive yellow-lined pattern and fuchsia-pink colouring make it one of the easiest Australian moths to identify. 

The larvae feed on various plants in the Proteaceae family.

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Taxeotis intextata

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Taxeotis is an incompletely described genus of mostly similar-looking grey-brown moths.  The boundaries between individual species are uncertain, so it can be difficult to assign observed specimens to a given species.  T.intextata is a tentative identification here.

 

 

Dichromodes explanata

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As with Taxeotis, Dichromodes is an incompletely defined genus.  These moths often have distinctive toothed bands across the wings.

 

 

Dichromodes sp (diffusaria or explanata)

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Photographed at Alligator Gorge, Mt Remarklable NP.

 

 

Dichromodes sp

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Currently unidentified!

 

 

Taxeotis stereospila

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Dichromodes sp

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Currently unidentified!

 

 

Larentiinae

Chrysolarentia insulata

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Para Wirra RP, Adelaide Hills

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Anachloris subochraria

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Anachloris uncinata

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Chloroclystis filata

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Chloroclystis testulata

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Epyaxa subidaria

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Phrissogonus laticostata

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female

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male

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Sterrhinae

Scoparia rubra

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Lasiocampidae

Doratifera quadriguttata

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Anthelidae

There are over 50 Anthela species in Australia, and A.ocellata is a common and widespread member of the genus.

Anthela ocellata

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Anthela ocellata showing threat / defence posture.

 

 

Saturniidae

The Saturniidae, or Emperor Moths as they are commonly known, is a family of large, often spectacular moths with a worldwide distribution.  There are only 15 species in Australia, of which the Helena Gum Moth is the most common in South Australia.  The Saturniid family contains some of the largest moths in the world.

Opodiphthera helena (Helena Gum Moth)

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Sphingidae

The Hawk Moths are distinctive, fast-flying moths with a world-wide distribution.  South Australia has very few species, and Australia as a whole has relatively few.

Agrius convolvuli (Convolvulus Hawk Moth)

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cv

This moth is very widely distributed globally, being common from western Europe right across to Australia.  In southern England it is an annual but rare migrant. 

The individual photographed here made a point of showing its red and black bands, which are only partially visible until the abdomen is flexed.  Perhaps it was mimicking a wasp.

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Hippotion scrofa

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This is the other common hawk moth in South Australia.

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Lymantriidae

The Tussock Moths are conspicuous with their furry bodies and legs.  The larvae are even more spectacularly hairy, and some species can cause skin rashes when handled, whilst others are serious pests as their larvae stay in voracious bands that can defoliate whole shrubs.  When handled, the adults often play dead and display the hairy abdomen, which is often brightly coloured.

Acyphas leucomelas

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Adult 'playing dead'

 

 

Arctiidae

The Arctiids are typically boldly-marked moths, and include the well-known tiger moths.  Many are active by day as well as night.

Utethesia pulchelloides

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Spilosoma glatignyi

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This handsome moth is common across all of southern Australia.  As the photos show, the extent of black and white can vary markedly.

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Nyctemera amica (Magpie Moth)

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One of relatively few Australian moths with a well-established common name, the Magpie Moth is active by day and night.  It can be seen across a large part of Australia.

 

 

Termessa diplographa

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Termessa is a genus endemic to Australia.  There are at least 12 species, all of which have characteristic orange and black banded wings.

 

 

Termessa shepherdi

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Photographed at Alligator Gorge, Mt Remarkable National Park, Southern Flinders Ranges. 

T.shepherdii is widely distributed across temperate south-eastern Australia.

 

 

Thallarcha partita

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Similar to Termessa, Thallarcha is also a genus endemic to Australia.  It is restricted to the south-east of the country, and there are about 30 species.

 

 

Nolidae

Aquita tactalis

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There are only two Aquita species.  A.tactalis is common across southern Australia.  This genus and several related ones have unusual 'knobbly' scale tufts on their wings. 

Thanks to Dave Britton for the information and identification.

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Nolidae sp 1

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Although similar to Aquita tactalis above, this moth is a different species, but there are several it could be, from different families, so its identity may remain a mystery! 

Thanks to Dave Britton for the information.

 

 

Nolidae sp 2

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Currently unidentified!

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Noctuidae

The Noctuids are the largest family of Lepidoptera in the world.  They are very diverse on colour and shape, but many have the characteristic kidney-mark on the wings, as well as thin antennae in males and females.  In Australia, this family includes the well-known Bogong Moth (see below), and several economically important pests of agriculture.

Agrotis infusa (Bogong Moth) (Noctuinae)

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Agrotis munda (Noctuinae)

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A very common noctuid across Australia, this species is a serious pest of crops in some areas.

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Agrotis porphyricolla (Noctuniae)

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Identification unconfirmed!

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Diarsia intermixta (Noctuniae)

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Identification unconfirmed!

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Proteuxoa sanguinipunctata (Amphipyrinae)

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Spodoptera exigua (Amphipyrinae)

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This species is also an sporadic immigrant to southern Britain.

 

 

Hypoperigea tonsa (Amphipyrinae?)

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Athetis tenuis (probably) (Amphipyrinae)

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Chrysodeixis argentifera (Plusiinae)

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Chrysodeixis eriosoma (Plusiinae)

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Identification unconfirmed!

 

 

Helicoverpa punctigera (Heliothiiinae)

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Heliothis punctifera (Heliothiinae)

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Common in the Adelaide Hills, this variable moth is endemic to Australia and is a serious pest of cotton and other crops.

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Praxis edwardsii (Catocalinae)

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Dasypodia selenophora (Catocalinae)

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Diatenes aglossoides (Catocalinae)

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Diatenes igneipicta (Catocalinae)

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Pantydia sparsa (Catocalinae)

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This attractive moth is widespread in temperate Australia, and is also found on Norfolk Island and in New Caledonia. 

Pantydia is a small genus, with less than ten described Australian species. 

Thanks to Dave Britton for the identification.

 

 

Persectania ewingii (Hadeninae)

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Leucania diatrecta (Hadeninae)

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Ochrogaster lunifer (Thaumetopoeidae)

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Odd defensive posture, spreading wings and curved abdomen.

 

 

Trichiocercus sparshallii (Thaumetopeidae)

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Periscepta polysticta (Agaristinae)

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This moth is a strikingly marked day-flying species.  I photographed it at Hindmarsh Falls on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  They are restless moths, obviously with good eyesight, as it took an age to get one to stay still long enough for me to zoom in and photograph it!

 

 


 

Metaeomera mesotaenia (Acontiinae)

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Elusa semipecten

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Elusa is a genus of uncertain affinity within the Noctuid superfamily.  Thanks to Ted Edwards for the identification.

 

 

'Micro-moths'

Pyralids

Hellula hydralis (Glaphyriinae)

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Uresiphita ornithopteralis (Tree Lucerne Moth) (Pyraustinae)

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Achyra affinitalis (Pyraustinae)

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Gauna aegusalis (Pyralinae)

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Nacoleia sp (Pyraustinae)

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Currently unidentified!

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Ocrasa acerasta (Pyralinae)

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Sedenia atracta (Pyraustinae)

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Crepidosceles exanthema (Oecophorinae)

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Identification unconfirmed!

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Euchaetis rhizobola (Oecophorinae)

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Philobota lysizona (Oecophorinae)

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Etiella behrii (Phycitinae)

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This small moth is very widespread, not just in Australia but also across much of Asia.  In some areas it is a pest of legumes such as soy beans.

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Mimaglossa nauplialis (Epipaschinae)

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Identification unconfirmed!

 

 


 

Meyriccia latro (Galleriinae)

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