Mating Wood Moths from Australia

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.

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