Moth Month wrap-up

May was Moth month ... and it was a rather challenging one.
A huge "thank-you" to everyone who was out searching for moths, leaving outside lights on at night, and generally on the lookout.

Thank you also to Glenn Cocking, who has been carefully checking the identifications of sightings as they come in. 

The long, dry period leading up to May seems to have kept moth numbers low. I know that many people have been checking windows and verandahs regularly - yet finding no moths at all! A bit frustrating, but it does highlight how sporadic and unpredictable moth flight times can be. 

However, there were some moths found, and some good ones at that! For an overview, see Moth sightings on NatureMapr

 

A ghost moth 'first' for our area

We now have the first ever records of Abantiades atripalpis for the southern parts of the Atlas region. Three are confirmed identifications (Wonboyn, Tathra & Moruya), and another probable (Tathra) ... although the huge moth discovered in Tathra was so worn that identification was not possible with confidence. 

 Abantiades atripalpis - these are large moths in the family Hepialidae. Commonly called Bardee Grubs, famous for their huge larvae. (click image to view records)

Abantiades atripalpis - these are large moths in the family Hepialidae. Commonly called Bardee Grubs, famous for their huge larvae. (click image to view records)

 Probably A. atripalpis, but very worn - (click image to view record)

Probably A. atripalpis, but very worn - (click image to view record)

 

Oxycanus: occasionally numerous, and three different species

 Oxycanus dirempta - (click image to view records)

Oxycanus dirempta - (click image to view records)

 Oxycanus silvanus - (click image to view records)

Oxycanus silvanus - (click image to view records)

 Oxycanus rufescens - (click image to view records)

Oxycanus rufescens - (click image to view records)

Oxycanus dirempta was a regular sighting in the south, but perhaps more interesting were the sightings of O. silvanus and O. rufescens.

National (ALA) records for both O. silvanus and O. rufescens are quite scarce: 49 and 117, respectively ... so our reports this month make quite significant contributions. AND these are the first records of both species for our local Atlas of Life NatureMapr database! 

 

Beyond Hepialidae

And it wasn't just the ghost moths (Hepialidae) attracting attention We now have new records and images for some magnificent Anthelidae, for Cossidae sporting fantastic antennae, and for a range of small but beautifully marked moths from several other families. Here is a sample:

In fact, we substantially increased the number Atlas of Life moth records with images, up 26% (from 159 to 215). Not a bad effort, given that there seemed so few moths on the wing!

So well done to everyone who ventured out with camera, torch, and determination. Thank you for your efforts - especially to those people who searched, yet found no moths!


Keep the reports coming

Of course, we are keen to see more moth sightings recorded. Don't stop just because moths are no longer a 'target'. Any sighting is welcome - and encouraged! - at any time. And if you have May sightings that you haven't quite got around to reporting, that's fine too! Just add them when you have time.


Keen to learn more?

If May has whet your appetite for moths, here's some advance news ... the Atlas of Life will be hosting a special Moths & Butterflies Weekend in early November. Glenn Cocking will talk to us about moths and their identification, followed by a night-time survey. The next day, Suzi Bond will present insights into butterflies of the region, before leading a butterfly walk. And this will coincide with November's Target of the Month: Butterflies & Day-flying Moths.

Both Glenn and Suzi are Lepidoptera experts. We are fortunate to have them as moderators for our NatureMapr sightings of moths and butterflies, respectively.

More information on the Atlas of Life website soon!


A detailed Target of the Month Report: May 2018 will be available here soon.


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