Currently viewing the category: "Ghost Moths and Wood Moths"
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Subject: moth??
Location: australia country victoria
January 26, 2015 6:55 pm
hi, im from victoria, australia. I heard flaping like a bird while sitting around a camp fire and found this the next morning on the ground.
is it a type of moth? it has some sort of a stinger though?
Signature: ?

Giant Wood Moth

Giant Wood Moth

We just finished posting an image of a Giant Wood Moth from Australia, and though your individual is a bit battered, we believe it is also a Giant Wood Moth.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is an ovipositor.  Caterpillars are wood borers.

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What’s This Moth?
Location:  Melbourne, Australia
January 26, 2015
Hi, this landed on my daughter in a nursery in Melbourne today. the lady in the shop said it has been hanging around. My friend thought it could be a Giant Wood Moth after googling and trying to match the pic and finding your page, but we weren’t sure, so I thought i’d ask.  This was the moth- it was at the nursery in Plenty in  Melbourne, they said it’s been hanging around and keeps coming inside. if you need to crop the pic and take my daughter out of the shot thats ok- it was just the shot of facebook with my daughter it had landed on.
thanks Donna

Giant Wood Moth

Giant Wood Moth

Hi Donna,
Thanks for resending the image.  We agree that this is a Giant Wood Moth,
Endoxyla cinereus.

Thanks. Now just wondering what its doing cin melbourne.

While Melbourne, Victoria is not included in the range map on Csiro, it is because no sightings have been reported or verified.  Perhaps the range is expanding south due to global warming.

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Subject: Large grey moth
Location: Gawler, SA
December 13, 2014 1:06 pm
Hi,
I found this large grey moth sitting on the platform of a train station near Adelaide. I thought it was the giant wood moth but according to what I read this does not occur in South Australia?
Thanks,
Signature: Anne-Marie

Giant Wood Moth we presume

Giant Wood Moth we presume

Dear Anne-Marie,
We agree that this appears to be a Giant Wood Moth,
Endoxyla cinereus, based on images posted to Butterfly House where it states:  “The adult moths have a variable vague pattern of light and dark grey or brown on the wings, including a darker spot near the middle of each forewing. The forewings each have a sinusoidal inner margin, and the hindwings a convex inner margin. The moths are very large. The females are larger than the males, and have a wingspan up to 23 cms.  The species occurs over Queensland and New South Wales.”  The map on Csiro supports that range information, and states “Not verified” regarding South Australia sightings.  Perhaps global warming and other climate changes are resulting in a natural range expansion.  It is also possible that this might be another member of the genus that has a greater range.  We are curious if our readership has an opinion on this matter.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your reply. I am also curious whether your readers will be able to shed some light on the issue. In any case I felt privileged to have been able to see it, as it was the largest moth I have ever seen!
Thanks, Anne-Marie

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Subject: Unusual Bug
Location: Rochester, NY
June 19, 2014 11:38 am
I saw this yesterday at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.
By looking online I can see that it is very similar to a Giant leopard moth, but with some significant differences.
The one I saw has black spots instead of black circles, and notice how the body protrudes behind the wings.
It is also less than 2″ long.
Any ideas?
Signature: Thanks, Doug

Leopard Moth

Leopard Moth

Dear Doug,
Though the Giant Leopard Moth, which is one of the Tiger Moths, and your Leopard Moth,
Zeuzera pyrina, look similar, they are not even closely related.  Your Leopard Moth is in the Carpenter Moth family Cossidae, and according to BugGuide:  “Unlike the Giant Leopard Moth, this one is not native to the US. Supposedly introduced (from its native Europe?) in mid-1800s; first reported in North America at Hoboken, New Jersey in 1882.  It is considered a pest of some fruit trees.”  You can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.

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Comment
Location:  Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
January 19, 2014
I don’t know if this mail will get to you Daniel.
I attach some photo’s of the moth. I live in Rockhampton Queensland and I have lived in the bush for a number of years and I have never seen such a big moth. I live in the city now.
James

Wood Moth

Ghost Moth

Hi James,
Thanks for providing a comment on a Ghost Moth posting and also for sending your photo.  We are uncertain if this is a Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae or a Wood Moth in the family Cossidae.  Both are large moths that have tree boring caterpillars sometimes called Witchity Grubs in Australia.

My goodness Daniel,
You have certainly expanded my education. Witchity Grubs I certainly know, and yes, I did eat one. One was enough for my tender stomach. They are a large white grub, a bit over an inch and a quarter in length and about a half an inch in diameter. But I never even thought that they would/could turn into anything else except be grubs.
They usually live under the bark of dead/rotting fallen trees or stumps. Do they turn into anything else, like a “chrylist” or however you spell it before they emerge as a moth?  If so, what would I look for to recognise them?
If you live in Australia, I will post the moth to you if you give me an address. If you live overseas, it might be unlawful to post it.
Anyway, I have never seen a moth even half as big as this one. The biggest flying beetles I have seen are the Elephant or Rhinoceros; That might be a local name for them. This moths’ body is at least twice as long as those beetles.
If you know of any person in Rockhampton Queensland that is knowledgeable about moths, I will try to get them to identify it.
Thank you for your kindness in answering my mail.
James

Hi again James,
The Witchety Grub does have a pupa stage prior to emergence as a moth.  We are not in Australia, but rather, in Los Angeles, California.  We have already posted the image of the moth you sent and it is live on our website.  We don’t understand the unlawfulness of posting the image because we are overseas.

haha. No Daniel, I meant that I would post the dead moth to you if posting it to you is legal and if you want me to post it to you.
Jimlin

Thanks for the offer, but we do not accept specimens.

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Subject: Moth Identification
Location: Barrington Tops, NSW
December 11, 2013 3:04 pm
My wife and I were camping recently near Barrington Tops NSW and came across an enormous moth which we would like to identify.
The moth was quite docile and as it had landed on a temporary structure which was about to be taken down my wife carefully picked it up and we moved it to a nearby tree. The moth’s abdomen was pumping and it appeared to be about to lay eggs, it was quite heavy according to my wife.
Signature: Happy Camper

Giant Wood Moth

Giant Wood Moth

Dear Happy Camper,
We believe your moth is in the family Cossidae, the Wood Moths or Miller Moths, and we believe your individual is the Giant Wood Moth,
Endoxyla cinereus, which has the distinction, according to the Australian Museum website, of being “the heaviest moth in the world, with some females weighing up to 30 grams.”  The Australian Museum elaborates on the life cycle:  “The larvae of some species of wood moths are better known as witchetty grubs and bore into smooth-barked eucalypt trees. As they grow, the tunnels left behind in the bark increase in width. They may spend up to one year within the tree before emerging as moths. The newly emerged, small caterpillars lower themselves to the ground on silky threads where they are thought to feed on plant roots. As adults they are unable to feed and only live for a few days. The heavy females lay about 20,000 tiny eggs before dying.”  Csiro also has a photo of the Giant Wood Moth.  The distinctive striped legs are evident in the photo of the living specimen posted to Butterfly House which states:  “The adult moths have a variable vague pattern of light and dark grey or brown on the wings, including a darker spot near the middle of each forewing. The forewings each have a sinusoidal inner margin, and the hindwings a convex inner margin. The moths are very large. The females are larger than the males, and have a wingspan up to 23 cms.”  The family page on Butterfly House notes that caterpillars of moths in this family are wood borers known as Witchetty Grubs.  Witchetty Grubs are edible.

Giant Wood Moth

Giant Wood Moth

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my query and for providing such a wealth of information.
Happy Holidays!
Curtis & Ingrid Brager

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination