Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A new Moth - for me.

I have no idea of what this Moth is, just yet, but it is sufficiently different from my normal nocturnal visitors that I thought I would just post the photos tonight - and invite suggestions for an ID.

Although you probably think me lazy (not quite true). It is more a question of my lack of experience in working through the numerous families of Moths.

So far, the best I can guess is one of the Agathia genus, within the Geometrinae *** but several I looked at individually were Queensland moths, so maybe that's not a good start. (Donald Hobern has solved the mystery for me - Anthela excellens. Thanks Donald.)

Under the flash, the colour was washed out, until I adjusted the light settings on the camera. Interestingly, the most natural appearance was achieved using a "daylight" setting in the White Balance, not the "flash" setting, and yet I was using flash, set at half-power, with a macro lens.

The first thing I noticed about this Moth was the colour - there was a definite greenish tinge about it. Click on all images for larger sized views. Secondly, the way it was holding its wings open, at 45 degrees or higher. There are double "eye spots" (very small) on both pairs of wings, when viewing the under wings.There is a distinct fine red line across both wings, when set in the creature's preferred position.The body is very hairy, but not excessively so, as in many moths. It has a fine set of antennae, which I assume indicates it is male. The eyes are very prominent.
Any suggestions welcomed.

Donald Hobern has come up with a perfect match for my Moth - Anthela excellens.
Many thanks, Donald.
I wasn't even close. Not in the right tribe, let alone Genus. Sigh!
One day I will get better at Moths.
Orchids are much easier!



jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Living in another hemisphere and continent, I'm not sure what your moth is, but my first instinct was that it looks like a sulphur moth relative. But I am probably all wet on that. The photos, however, are fantastic.

Denis Wilson said...

Denis writes:
Thanks Jodi. We have many imported Moths in Australia. I shall check out your Sulphur Moth.
Donald Hobern has come up with a match. Anthea excellens
Thanks Donald.
As usual, I wasn't even in the right tribe, let alone genus. (sigh).
One day I will get better at guessing my Moths.
Its nice to have experts out there who help novices like myself.Donald's Flickr Album is a gold mine of information.

Denis Wilson said...

Darn, I couldn't even get that right.
It is Anthela excellens (Anthela not Anthea).

Tyto Tony said...

Put up a new moth and ID comes in a flash. Pity same swift helpfulness isn't true in many other fields of nature interest (I speak on behalf largely of others and without any finger-pointing or rancour).

I told you not to hold breath over tree in which Rainbow Lorikeet was behaving oddly. Well, tis 'Alphitonia excelsa, commonly known as the Red Ash or Soap Tree, is a species of tree in the Rhamnaceae family. It is endemic to Australia, being found in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and the northeastern tip of Western Australia. It is used in bush regeneration as a pioneer species and for amenity planting.'

Thanks Wiki, and Greg Calvert, who originally gave me the name, which I promptly forgot.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
The Mothy people, are very generous with their assistance (which is just as well for me). Duncan set up a Moths Australia yahoo group, and Mosura, Junior Lepid and Mosura (all Aussie Nature Bloggers) are all contributors, as is Donald Hobern.
I have seen Alphitonia excelsa grown as a street tree in Wollongong. I have searched in vain for any links to psychotropic effects, so I don't know what your Lorikeet was "off his face" on.
In general I find the serious bloggers very helpful indeed. Perhaps you are a bit disadvantaged by geography and climatic isolation. Though there is at least one serious mothy person ("Mother" does not say what I mean) that I know of in FNQ.
Perhaps you need to put a light on at night and start taking nocturnal shots. But then again, the Mozzies and Tree Frogs would probably inundate you, and you've had enough inundations recently. ;-))

Duncan said...

Nice shot of the anthelid Denis, apparently we don't get that one down here.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Duncan
It was amazingly co-operative, as you can see. It was a hot night (for here) and I wondered if it was exhausted.
Eventually it tired of my attention (and flash blasts in its eyes) and flew away.
Some moths just fly around in a frenzy. Very different personalities, it seems.
I had not got around to checking your gallery when I decided to call it a day last evening - I said it was hot. But now I know I did not miss a photo from you (saves me some possible embarrassment).
So it must be a more northerly Moth.
By the end of my photo shoot, I had grown quite fond of it! (Can I say that? It almost sounds too weird!) Lovely antennae.

Anonymous said...

Nice Anthelid shots, Denis. I haven't been able to find any yet.

According to Peter Marriott's "Moths of Victoria" booklet, Anthela excellens is present in Victoria. Somewhere!

Keep on mothing. You're going well. I find it really interesting finding out what people are seeing in any given month.

Junior Lepid

Denis Wilson said...

I claim no credit for "finding" the Anthelid. I just looked at my front light before I went to bed - and then stayed up to photograph it, and then stayed up longer to post the images, as I guessed it was a bit unusual.
Anyway, It turned up for me!
Real thanks goes to the Mothing experts who offer free advice (as you know). I love that camaraderie.
I know you help out too.
I like to help out with Orchids and birds, where I can, so I guess it is a form of Karma.