Emperor Gum Moth (Opodiphthera eucalypti), female.

The Butterfly Festival is just around the corner (yikes, still plenty to do!) and with headline-status given to their showy butterfly cousins, local moths are starting to flex some muscle. There have been several fantastic moth nights in the last week, and the humid, warm conditions over the last two days have brought out the big guns.

This female Emperor Gum Moth (Opodiphthera eucalypti) appeared at the outside light last night. As adults they don’t feed, having degenerate mouth parts, and rely on the energy collected during the larval stage to find a female and breed.

With a bit of luck, the two mothing nights during the Strathbogie Ranges Butterfly Festival (Ruffy on Wednesday 21st and Violet Town on Friday 23rd) will draw some of these large impressive moths (as well as a good crowd).

Gum Moths are certainly a spectacular sight (having a 12 cm wingspan) and can hardly be missed when they appear. However, some observers suggest that populations of this species are much smaller now, than 20 to 30 years ago. Has anyone else had this, or the closely related Helena’s Gum Moth, appear yet this season?

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