Gum Moth from Australia, but what species??? Opodiphtera astrophela

Yellow moth
Location: Kumbia Queensland Australia
February 27, 2011 6:37 am
Hi ’Bugman’
I have been searching the net for identification of a moth I found today. I found a moth that was very similar but the markings on the wings are different and I think, so is the shape of the wings. I found it resting on the stairs of the school. Thought it was a toy one at first as it was such a bright yellow and I have seen rubber toy moths/butterflies on display recently at the local kindergarten.
Signature: E.

Gum Moth

Dear E.,
This is a Gum Moth in the genus
Opodiphthera, but we are not certain how to distinguish the different species.  The Moths of Australian Saturniidae webpage lists seven species in the genus.  The thumbnail of the Emperor Gum Moth, Opodiphthera eucalypti, looks correct, but that image is not on the Emperor Gum Moth page where all specimens seem very tan or brown. Opodiphthera astrophela, which does not have a common name, is described as “The female and male adult moths differ: The males are yellow, and the females grey. Originally they were thought to be different species. Both sexes have a brown eyespot on each wing, as well as two dark lines across each fore wing, and a curved dark line across each hind wing. They have a wingspan of about 8 cms. The species is found in the eastern quarter of Australia.”  That would explain the yellow coloration, but your moth is much larger than 8 cms.  It might also be Opodiphthera loranthiThe Csiro website shows some color variations.  Perhaps the best choice is Opodiphthera fervida which is described as  “yellow with a brown eyespot on each wing, and a brown line across each wing. The moths have a wingspan of about 8 cms.  The species is found in Queensland.”  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a species identification.  We are copying him on our response to you as well since he may request permission to include your photo on his website.

Bill Oehlke provides an Identification: Opodiphtera astrophela
Hi Daniel,
This moth is depicted on WLSS.  I am surprised you did not see it. Thanks for thinking of me.
This is email I just sent to E.

Hi E.,
The moth you sent to Daniel Marlos for identification is Opodiphtera astrophela. I will be sending Daniel a copy of this email.
I wish permission to post the image, credited to you, to one of my webpages. If you grant permission, please send complete name so I can credit you properly, or I can just use E.
if you wish to remain anonymous.
Very nice picture.
Bill Oehlke

Thanks so much Bill.  In my defense, I was multitasking, which is not an efficient way for me to work.  I was putting most of my attention into assembling a lasagna sin carne for an Academy Awards party in my neighborhood.  I like the quote:  “Opodiphthera astrophela, formerly Antheraea simplex, (wingspan: 16 cm) flies in the eastern quarter of Australia, Central Queensland to central New South Wales from your website with the larger wingspan that troubled me in other species descriptions.  Also in my defense, E’s lovely photo of a vitally living male specimen and the way the vivid chrome yellow colors contrast with the floral print blouse cannot be compared to the desaturated coloration of the mounted specimens.  This photograph is a stunning example of edgy composition in nature photography.  If we ever print another calendar, this image would be a strong contender.

P.S. Unnecessary Carnage: It saddens us to see this example of unnecessary carnage.  Scroll down to “Opodiphtera astrophela  Rare and endemic Australian species. Male A1, female close to perfect. Pair: €120 SOLD”.

1 thought on “Gum Moth from Australia, but what species??? Opodiphtera astrophela”

  1. Hi all
    My son has just found a gum moth very similar to the one image above, on our garage window.
    Is it meant to be in the forests of the central coast NSW?


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