Thursday, April 26, 2012

Magical moths

We had recent visits by some of our rainforests most colourful moths. This is
Hypsidia erythropsalis, and oddly for such a conspicous species it does not have a common name.

While we humans marvel at such spectacular colouration, it is nature's way of saying beware. Some colourful species are distasteful to predators, sometimes even poisonous, while others are merely piggy-backing off the reputation. Whether or not this one can back up its claims I cannot say, but according to David Rentz's observations, this is one species that the birds do leave alone.

A close-up showing the colourful scales and hairs.

Another local brightly coloured moth is the Four o'clock Moth, Dysphania fenestrata. This species is actually diurnal and is often seen late in the day, hence its common name. We have observed the caterpillars feeding on plants around the house recently, and have seen several moths active. 

Four o'clock Moth, Dysphania fenestrata

Four o'clock Moth caterpillar

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