Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, June 07, 2013

A new Moth - for me

As soon as I saw this hairy little moth, with its hairy legs pointing forward like this, I knew I had found something "new" for me. I went in search of similar Moth images on Don Herbison-Evans's Moths site. This was the closest I could find. It eventually led me on something of taxonomic merry-go-round.

Calliteara pura
my photo.
   This is clearly a similar beastie -
even if its colours are a bit different from mine.
It is clearly wearing similar "socks" as my specimen (above).
Both these specimens (above and below)
also have a prominent raised patch of hairs
in the middle of the thorax.

Calliteara farenoides (as per Don Herbison-Evan's site)
That photo actually is credited to
Buck Richardson from Kuranda.

Lee Freeman took this photo of me holding this hairy moth.
Note the prominent antennae with strong brown fibres
protruding on one side only (forward).
("pectinate antennae")

There is clearly some confusion about the identity (or naming) of these moths.
Don Herbison-Evans refers to his specimens as (variously) as Calliteara farenoides and
Calliteara horsfieldii and even mentions a former name of Dasychira horsfieldii. He freely acknowledges these ambiguities.

I sought assistance from Len Willan, who in turn sought advice from Ted Edwards, from the CSIRO Australian National Insect Collection.

  • This is what is listed in the “Checklist” and labelled in ANIC as Calliteara pura.  There are problems with this name because Lucas’ description of C. farenoides fits the NQ species and not the SQ, NSW and Vic. species although he gave Healesville as the type locality.
    So judged on the holotype, as we must do, C. farenoides is a junior synonym of C. queenslandica and the name C. pura applies to the southern one. C. pura came from Brisbane where Lucas lived and this is more likely to be a correct locality and the description fits the southern one.  The type is absent from the SAMA but there is a specimen labelled by Lucas as “pura”.
    So this is Calliteara pura.
Rosslyn Beeby deserves a bouquet for the write-up of Ted's career and his AM award.

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