Elusive Otways Moth Shows Up in Tarra-Bulga

On the 8/2/2016 following one of our group meetings at Balook , outside the visitors centre just after sunset I hung out a white sheet with a UV light in the hope of  finding a few interesting insects to photograph and potentially upload on to our “Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park” project on http://www.Bowerbird.org.au. The conditions were windier than ideal but an interesting array of creatures did land on the sheet including a medium sized brownish moth with distinctive white spots on its forewings, it landed without fanfare and hung around just long enough for me to take a quick photo.

Chrysolarentia pantoea

Chrysolarentia pantoea – Variable Carpet Moth

Back home the next day, I consulted Peter Marriott’s book Moths of Victoria and after much head scratching and flicking back and forward between pages I managed at last to find what I thought could be match, a species called Chrysolarentia pantoea  or the “Variable Carpet Moth”.

In Moths of Victoria, photos of this moth are of preserved museum specimens captured in the Otways and Lamington National Park (on the Queensland/NSW border). Peter writes in his book that no specimens of this moth could be found in collections taken between these two sites. He did predict that other populations of this moth could be established in cool temperate rainforest or other similar natural habitats.

As I was not 100% confident with my identification and thought this sighing could be of interest, I contacted Peter who to my satisfaction agreed that I was correct and it was in fact Chrysolarentia pantoea, that I had managed to photograph. Remarkably he said that it was the first time to his knowledge that this species has been recorded in Victoria since the last museum specimen had been captured near Lorne way back on the 8/2/1907. That is exactly 109 years to the day between sightings!

5 thoughts on “Elusive Otways Moth Shows Up in Tarra-Bulga

  1. Congratulations! One just never know what is out there, until by happenchance!! Or until interested and committed people take a punt. Great work and shows what a valuable resource books, Bowerbird and its ilk are.

    • Too right Kaye

      The work put in by the authors of Moths of Victoria and new web based resources like Bowerbird the Atlas of Living Australia have opened up a whole new way for people to learn more about the biodiversity in their local patch and beyond.

    • Thanks Duncan, have certainly enjoyed reading some of your posts on your mothing nights. Only the first time I had tried mothing at Balook but Ken Harris has had a few goes around there. Seems to be a few records that have links to the Otways and Tasmania.

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