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Challenge accepted

April 29, 2021

One of the challenges of writing a blog like this is that people bring photos of fauna and expect you to be able to identify them to the species level. Although it is the part of blog writing that turns me on that doesn’t mean it is easy, particularly where insects are concerned. Sometimes the difference between species comes down to genital configuration and I have neither the knowledge nor tools to go there. Moths also present a difficulty simply because of the sheer numbers of species there are in Australia.

Enter Terry Hubbard. Terry sent me with the photo (above) and asked what type of moth it was. Luckily it is the only species of the genus Oenosandra so it’s picture appears in most moth reference websites. It is a Boisduval’s Autumn Moth (Oenosandra boisduvalii) a night flying moth seen in southern Australia and Tasmania in the months of March and April. The larvae feed on various eucalypts.

The female (pictured) and the male look markedly different. The male is a darker grey in colour and is the gender most often seen.

Terry called the photo ‘colliwobbles’ I guess referring to the black stripe on a white wing. What the photo fails to show is that the abdomen is yellow and black striped – a football conundrum that has caused many a family argument.

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