Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Swift Moths are back on the wing

Robbo is famous for its large moths. I recall vividly my first year in Robertson, living in a tin shed. The roof of the shed had Polycarbonate corrugated sheets in places, as sky lights. At the appropriate season (late autumn and winter, as I recall) when I had lights on in the shed, these clear panels attracted moths which would beat themselves silly against the clear panels, trying to follow the light. They sounded like possums running across the roof, and it took a while to get used to them knocking themselves silly. They are big heavy slow-flapping moths. I have never known why they are called "Swift Moths".
Female - larger body (necessary for laying eggs) and small antennae
Male - smaller body, but much larger antennae (used to track the pheromones produced by the female).
The two moths pasted on the same image, for comparison purposes.
These moths (if I have identified the species correctly - and I make no great claim for that)
are probably Abantiades hyalinatus. Certainly I have seen Swift Moths like the ones illustrated on the website linked above which had the same russet coloured hind-wings (which are only visible when a moth is exhausted, and very likely is dying). Compare this image with those on the website linked above.
While I have been writing this, a large Swift Moth has been hammering at the window of my Study. This is not a photo of that individual, but is a shot of another moth, doing the same thing, in late June, two years ago. The eye is very large, and is reflecting the flash of the camera.


Lynn S said...

Moth No Myth.
I have been sitting in my study listening to these strange scratchy noises, thinking that my printer was acting up.....
Then I started reading your blog.... aha, the light went on (in the head... the room light was already on ..... obviously). There are three swift moths (looks like 2 male and 1 female) fluttering outside on the window!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Lynn
Perfect example of the value of local blogging.

From my window to my computer, to your computer, to your window, and back again. The circle is complete, and mystery solved.