Subject: Moth Identification
Location: Richardson, ACT, Australia
January 7, 2013 6:53 am
I have just found this stunning creature on my back wall after my two beagles were going crazy trying to catch it (I have since moved it into a tree in the front yard where it will be safe)
From looking at other posts and pics on your site I tink it maybe a ghost moth but am unsure. I have never seen anything like it before. At first I thought it was a Bogong Moth as we have been known to get quite a few of those here in Canberra but he is the wrong shape.
Would love to know a bit more about it of you are able to help. Sorry the pics are the greatest I didnt want to startle it and I only had my mobile phone.
Signature: Susan Mitchell
You are correct that this is a Ghost Moth or Wood Moth in the family Cossidae. The caterpillars are edible wood borers known as Witchetty Grubs, with the following alternate spellings from Butterfly House: “Witjuti, Witchedy, Wichetty, Witchety, witchjetti.” According to the Australian Museum: “The Giant Wood Moth is the heaviest moth in the world, with some females weighing up to 30 grams.” We suspect the heaviest females are full of eggs, and when Daniel was doing research for The Curious World of Bugs, he learned that “Currently holding the record among nonsocial insects, a ghost moth from Australia is reported to have laid 29,100 eggs; another 15,000 were discovered when she was dissected.” Another reason Ghost Moths are so heavy is that they don’t feed as adults, living only to mate and procreate, so they need the energy of stored body fat to fly.