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It’s umbrella time.

April 25, 2022

This is the time of the year when you will find brown pupa cases lying on the ground (pictured left). They belong to Rain Moths or Waikerie (Abantiades atripalpis). The caterpillars of the Rain Moth live in tunnels underground. They are herbivores feeding on the roots of various acacias and eucalypts particularly the River Red Gum (E. camaldulenis). Their common name is bardi grub, although this name is more correctly attributed to the grubs of the Longicorn Beetle family. The caterpillars pupate underground and move to the surface when the adults are about to emerge. The adults fly off leaving the empty pupa cases sticking out of the ground. This usually happens in Autumn before rain, hence the name. In some areas all the adults emerge on a single night within hours of each other.

Abantiades sp.

Rain Moths are distributed across the southern part of Australia near eucalyptus woodlands. The reference in the title to the umbrella is not due to the rain. The Book of Insect Records from the University of Florida records the Rain Moth as having the highest fecundity (ability to produce offspring) of any non-social insect in the world with a single adult egg count of over 40000 eggs. After mating the eggs are distributed whilst in flight.

Umbrella time indeed!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosemary Simon permalink
    April 26, 2022 8:09 pm

    I did wonder. Thank you.

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