Sunday, 6 January 2008

When a butterfly is a moth

What was it? I searched through my butterfly references in vain, looking for a black and white butterfly with orange tufts on its legs and abdomen. Then the penny finally dropped. I looked in the moth references instead and there it was. The Grapevine Moth Phalaenoides glycinae was flying around and feeding on the blossom of a Melaleuca.
Apparently it's a common day-flying moth but I don't remember seeing one before. There aren't any grapevines within cooee either but as it also breeds on guinea-flowers and willow herbs and both of those plants are in the bush nearby I'm supposing it was 'at home'.
The moth was moving fairly quickly around the blossom and the first photo is blurred but I'm including it because it shows the remarkable orange tufts. Now why would a moth want to evolve that colouring?
Grapevine Moth
Grapevine Moth
And on one of my bush rambles (on a day that wasn't enervatingly hot) this butterfly sat still on a bracken frond long enough for me to grab a couple of photos. It's a female Common Brown. The larva feed on Tussock Grass and Kangaroo Grass.
Marbled Xenica

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Boobook

Just caught up on your last few posts - from the case moth, Garden Orb-weaver Spider, and scale insect and Bullants, and this one. Nice posts, good photos. Well done to identify the species (it is often difficult).

Might I suggest that you use hotlinks to take your readers to the various sites you use to identify your insects, etc (assuming you use websites, not books).

Such weblinks would help others of us who are always in search of good sites to identify our own discoveries of moths, butterflies, ants, etc.