Currently viewing the category: "Ghost Moths and Wood Moths"
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Subject: Moth – Cossidae?
Location: Armidale, NSW
April 21, 2013 1:53 am
Hi,
Are you able to identify the family of this moth? I originally thought it was Cossidae but then it also looks like it could be Hepialidae or Notodontidae or something else. It was found in Armidale, NSW, in Australia, in March (Autumn).
Thanks.
Signature: Sarah

Ghost Moth or Wood Moth?

Ghost Moth or Wood Moth?

Dear Sarah,
For years we have been mixing up Hepialidae and Cossidae, and we have them lumped together in our archive under Ghost Moths and Wood Moths.  This is a beautifully mounted specimen and we imagine getting the correct identification is especially important to you.  We would recommend that you contact a local natural history museum for assistance.  Please get back to us if you get a proper identification.

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Subject: MOTH
Location: Westdale Western Australia
April 19, 2013 5:46 am
Hi
We found this large grey moth on the ground at our property in Westdale. It was about 12cm long. Just wondering if you could please tell me what it is. Much appreciated.
Signature: Thanks Michelle

Swift Moth

Swift Moth

Dear Michelle,
This appears to us to be a Swift Moth or Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae.  The Csiro website has photos that indicate it might be
Avantiades labyrinthicus or a closely related species.  Photos on Dave’s Garden and the Morwell National Park website support that ID.  Though BugGuide is dedicated to North American species, these remarks about the family Hepialidae should also pertain to your moth:  “Explanation of Names Ghost Moth – to attract females, the male hovers over open ground, sometimes slowly rising and falling [like a ghost] (wikipedia.org)  Swift Moth – adults are rapid fliers” and “Early instar larvae feed on plant detritus, decaying wood, or fungi; later instars bore into roots or stems of woody plants, or feed on moss, and the leaves of grasses and other herbaceous plants.
Some adults cannot feed because they lack mouthparts.”
  BugGuide also notes:  “Considered a ‘primitive’ moth because of a combination of adult and larval characters. Adult moths lack a strong wing coupling mechanism and instead use a “jugum”, which is a thumb like projection between fore- and hindwings. Wings do not remain coupled while in flight. While present in other primitive lepidoptera, the exact function remains speculative. This feature is often strongly, and best, developed in the Hepialidae. Adults also have reduced or sometimes absent mouthparts.”  Finally, the Strathbogie Ranges Nature View website has a very nice posting on the Swift Moth including a link to this wonderful old article from a 1947 edition of The Tasmanian Naturalist.

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Subject: Strange Bug in my veranda
Location: India
January 17, 2013 7:05 am
I found this strange bug between my flower pots in the eve ! Dunno wat its called but am curious !u
Signature: Creepyluv

Unknown Moth

Dear Creepyluv,
This is a Moth, but we are uncertain of the family.  Though it superficially resembles a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae, the antennae are too hairlike for that to be the correct family.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to write in with a correct identification.

Karl provides an identification: Carpenter Moth
Hi Daniel and Creepyluv:
It is a Carpenter Moth (Cossidae) in the subfamily Zeuzerinae and genus Xyleutes, probably X. persona. The species can be found throughout much of south and southeast Asia, from India to Papua New Guinea and possibly Australia. The larvae are wood borers but the species does not appear to be a significant threat to forestry or agriculture. Regards.  Karl

Thanks so much for your assistance Karl.  While unsuccessfully searching for an identity, we tried locating images of Wood Moths from India with no luck.

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Subject: Moth Identification
Location: Richardson, ACT, Australia
January 7, 2013 6:53 am
Hi Bugman,
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.
Thanks
Signature: Susan Mitchell

Woodt Moth

Dear Susan,
You are correct that this is a Goat 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.

Wood Moth

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Subject: Is this a NZ Puriri Moth?
Location: New Zealand North Island, Coromandel Peninsula
January 3, 2013 8:11 pm
I spotted this big fellow late last night on the outside settee. It’s midsummer here and it had been raining steadily through the evening. I would estimate the moth was about 2 – 2 1/2 inches long (5 – 6.5cm), it was pale/bright green with beautiful iridescent markings on the wings. I have been here for 10 years and I’ve never seen a moth like this here before. I would love to know what it is.
Signature: Maureen

Puriri Moth

Dear Maureen,
This is indeed a Puriri Moth or Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae.  We are not certain if the name applies to only one species within the family as so many members look quite similar.  Here is another Puriri Moth from our archives.  We will do additional research on this matter.  More on the Puriri Moth can be located online on the Kiwi Conservation Club website.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your quick response to my query. I hope I don’t have to wait another ten years before I see another one of these beautiful moths in my garden!
Kind regards,
Maureen

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Subject: Giant Wood Moth
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
September 14, 2012 7:26 am
I swear this is not unnecessary carnage. I was filming an orb spider one night when this thing tried to kill me! I kung foo dodged it and it K.O.’d itself on the balcony. Initially I thought it was a mouse that had evolved wings but on further inspection realised it was a moth. This picture shows it unconscious but still alive. I now know from research this is a Giant Wood Moth. I think they spend years underground as pupae only to emerge and try to destroy any humans they encounter. I gather they have a short life span and it started shooting out hundreds of eggs on the money. Lesson: money is dirty and you don’t know where it’s been. In the end I flicked the moth and eggs by the base of a large gum tree, they were probably the next days ant food. It looked in a bad way as it crawled off into the darkness and would have been food for my bearded dragon if I didn’t think there was the posibility of a choking hazard. As a reference, the Austra lian currency shown is about 12cm in length.
Signature: CReadius

Wood Moth lays eggs on currency

Dear CReadius,
We were highly entertained by your encounter with this fecund Wood Moth which is also commonly called a Ghost Moth.

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