Subjec: Who is she?
Geographic location of the bug: Townsville, QLD
Time: 12:41 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Today I met this fashionable individual while taking shelter from the summer rain. Do you know their name?
How you want your letter signed: Gabby
This is a Grapevine Moth and we identified it on Butterfly House where it is classified in the subfamily Agaristinae, called Day Flying Moths or Whistling Moths, in the family Noctuidae, the Owlet Moth. According to Butterfly House: “The adult is a day-flying moth, with a wingspan of up to 5 cm. The wings are black with striking white bands on the forewings, and a white outer margin on the hindwings. The abdomen is black on top and has orange stripes underneath. The body has tufts of bright red hair on the tip of the abdomen, and at the bases of the legs. These red hairs project and are visible from above. The adults are gregarious, feed on nectar and live for 2-3 weeks. They had a characteristic fluttering flight and can ascend to 25 m or more. Their overall sex ratio is about 1:1. The adult males have anterior brush organs on which are secreted chemicals thought to be pheromones.” There is a nice image on Alamy and according to Project Noah: “A Noctuid moth endemic to the south-eastern part of Australia and is now an invasive species in many other parts of the world. In 1862 the Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis) was introduced into Australia to control the Grapevine Moth. The bird is now considered a pest and Grapvine moths are common. I watched a female for ten minutes – first seeking the location of a vine – second happy she was near one she just started releasing eggs; one every 30 seconds while fluttering her wings – third the eggs just fell to the ground around the base of the vine. Over the next few days I noticed scores of tiny caterpillars climbing slowly up the supporting posts. Near enough was good enough I guess.”