Currently viewing the category: "Ghost Moths and Wood Moths"
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Subject: Giant Wood Moth?
Location: Ballarat, Victoria
April 11, 2016 5:25 pm
Hi,
Found this giant late evening in Ballarat, Victoria.
Smaller one seen the night previous. Another visitor from our Northern States?
Regards
Signature: HB

Female Rain Moth we believe

Female Rain Moth we believe

Dear HB,
We have done a bit of research, and we are not certain we are correct, but this is the best we can do.  Wood Moths, also known as Goat Moths and Witchetty Grubs are in the family Cossidae.  We classify them on our site together with Ghost Moths or Swift Moths in the family Hepialidae because we have trouble distinguishing members of the two families from one another.  We believe your moth is a Rain Moth,
Trictena atripalpis, a species we first located on an April 7, 2016 posting on The Advertiser which states:  “NATURE is making its own weather forecasts in South Australia’s parched South-East, where the giant “rain moth” has arrived ahead of the Bureau of Meteorology’s own predictions of drought-easing falls this week.  Large numbers of the trictena atripalpis moth, which has a wingspan up to 16cm, have been reported in Keith, Kingston, Penola and Mount Gambier and farming mythology has it that the insects bring rain.  Science backs this to some extent, as the creatures grow from ground-dwelling “bardi grubs” and are most likely to emerge from the earth when autumn rain is in the air.  Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Hannah Marsh said a series of fronts were expected to move across the South-East over the next few days.”  According to NatureOutWest:  “The large moths emerge from their holes in the ground after rains. They are frequently seen when they are attracted to lights. They are so large they almost resemble small bats or birds as they flutter around lights at night.”  Though we missed it the first two times we scanned Butterfly House, once we had a scientific name from the previous two sites, we learned that “The moths have grey-brown wings with two variable ragged silver flash markings across each forewing. The forewings often also show intricate sinuous patterns of pale lines. The wingspan of the males can reach 12 cms. That of the females can reach 16 cms. The moths have tripectinate antennae.”  We suspect that only the male Rain Moths or Waikerie may have the “ragged silver flash markings” and also that they have the more developed “tripectinate antennae” to locate the female when she releases pheromones, and we also believe that all the individuals pictured on Butterfly House are males, though the site makes a point of stating:  “The adult females deposit large numbers of eggs. Indeed, this species holds the World Fecundity Record, for the greatest number of eggs being deposited by a non-social insect. One dissected female had 44,100 eggs. It is thought that the eggs are laid in flight, just being scattered across the ground.  The moths a famous for being able to predict rain. In some areas in autumn, the moths appear on only one night each year, yet all appear together in droves, and always just a few hours before a major downpour in that area. Perhaps the rain helps wash the scattered eggs into crevices in the ground, as well as dormant seeds to germinate, so that after the eggs hatch: the young caterpillars can easily find roots on which to feed.”  Your moths both have much slimmer antennae, leading us to believe they are both females.  This image on FlickR supports our supposition.  Forecaster Hannah Marsh was quoted on The Advertiser as stating:  “A strong low-pressure system will pass well to the south of Tasmania on Sunday with a cold front moving over the southern coasts of the state,” she said.  “Those fronts will bring gradual shower activity for the next six days.”  We would love to know if the weather forecast was correct, and if any male Rain Moths with more spectacular antennae arrive at your porch light, we hope you will send us additional images.

A smaller female Rain Moth, we believe

A smaller female Rain Moth, we believe

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your prompt and very informative reply,
We have had no rain sadly as we could’ve done with a good soaking but nonetheless happy to be visited by such an interesting creature. A few days before this beauty showed up out the rear of the property.
Ive sinc

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What Moth Is This?
Location: South-western suburbs of Sydney
February 12, 2016 5:31 pm
Hi there!
I recently found a moth in the south western suburbs of Sydney that I have never seen before in this area. I assumed it was some kind of Wood Moth, however I’m not too sure and I was hoping that you would be able to tell me what moth this is.
Thank You Very Much!
Regards,
Signature: Lauren

Wood Moth or Ghost Moth

Wood Moth or Ghost Moth

Dear Lauren,
This is either a Wood Moth in the family Cossidae, which is represented on Butterfly House, or a Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae, also represented on Butterfly House.  We frequently have trouble distinguishing members of these families from one another, and your lateral view does not provide the same wing detail that a dorsal view provides.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wood moth from WA?
Location: Dongara, Western Australia
November 29, 2015 10:27 am
This moth was found resting on a wall in Dongara, Western Australia. I suspect it’s a wood moth of some kind – what do you think?
Signature: Nick S

Wood Moth

Wood Moth

Dear Nick,
This is most likely a Wood Moth in the family Cossidae that is well represented on Butterfly House, and based on the image of the adult posted to Butterfly House, it does look to us like Endoxyla leucomochla whose edible larva is called a Witchety Grub.  We would not rule out though that it might be a Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae, also represented on Butterfly House.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mystery moths?
Location: Bathurst, NSW
November 21, 2015 9:45 pm
Hi there,
Any help identifying these? Found today in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia .
Many thanks
Signature: Mark

Mating Wood Moths

Mating Wood Moths

Dear Mark,
We believe these are mating Wood Moths in the family Cossidae, which are pictured on Butterfly House, and we also believe that they might be
Endoxyla mackeri, which is also pictured on Butterfly House and is listed as occurring in New South Wales.  According to the Australian Museum site:  “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.”  We sometimes have trouble distinguishing Wood Moths from Ghost Moths in the family Hepialidae, and we would not rule out that possibility, and that family is also represented on Butterfly House.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Saw this in my garden!!
Location: Crawley, West Sussex, uk RH11 9QD
July 3, 2015 10:23 am
Found this bug in the garden, never seen it before and would like to know what it is! I tried googlin but no luck so please help
Signature: Manuel da silva

Leopard Moth

Leopard Moth

Dear Manuel,
This is a Leopard Moth,
Zeuzera pyrina, one of the Wood Moths in the family Cossidae and you can verify our identification on UK Moths where it states:  “Distributed over the southern half of England and South Wales, associated with woodland, gardens and orchards.  The adults fly during June and July and the larvae feed on the wood of a variety of deciduous trees.  Though nocturnal in habits, the adults can sometimes be found resting conspicuously in the daytime.”

Well there you go, thanks a million for taking the time and replying to me, it’s greatly appreciated, have a good weekend and keep well

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: WTB????
Location: Golfito, Costa Rica
May 10, 2015 5:02 PM
Thank you WTB. I had sent another request for identification months ago. I never received a response. I realize you receive many requests, therefore, I thank you for this one.
Daniel,
Here are the pics of this guy. You can’t really see, but the end of the wings (I think) came out like a trunk. Also, found in Golfito, Costa Rica. We get a lot of interesting critters here.
Thanks so much.
Signature: Golfito

Sphinx Moth

Carpenter Moth

Dear Golfito,
This looks like a Sphinx Moth in the family Sphingidae.  We do not recognize it and we will attempt an identification.
  We browsed through the individuals pictured on the Costa Rica page of the Sphingidae of the Americas, and though we could not locate a conclusive visual match, we believe this is a member of the tribe Dilophonotini.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide an identification.

Bill Oehlke provides a correction
Hi Daniel,
It is not one of the Sphingidae. Don’t know which family it is in.
Bill

Update:  Carpenter Moth
Both Lepidopterist Julian Donahue and Insetologia webmaster Cesar Crash informed us that this is a Carpenter Moth,
Langsdorfia franckii.

Now, how cool is that? Thank you Daniel, WTB and Bill Oehlke!
Isn’t he a handsome looking moth? I just the great bugs we have here. ☺
Sincerely,
Janny

Update:  December 17, 2015
Daniel,
I am so impressed with your desire to help a total bug novice .. how wonderful to be able to seek out the experts.
Thank you so much for the WTB identification. I will forward to all my bug loving friends.
Oh, do you think the photo is cool? I find it so interesting.

Sincerely,
Janny

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination