Night of the small moths.

A warm night and no moon, ideal conditions for a mothing excursion to the Ponds Reserve, the rig was set up just on dark, the new MV lamp was screwed in and the generator was fired up. I didn’t have long to wait, moths, beetles, and a variety of other insects started to arrive and after a couple of hours there were literally hundreds on the sheet and fluttering around. I had to be very careful taking photographs, several times I had to remove small moths from inside the lens hood, in the past I’ve had one sitting on the lens. As the title intimates, small moths were the order of the night with few larger ones coming in, a Black Geometrid and a Coprosma Hawk-moth being two of the few. The great majority of the small moths were Dichromodes species, I’d never seen so many, and there were one or two surprises amongst them. Four of the species to the light were from the top, D. diffusaria, D. consignata, D. confluaria, and D. mesogonia. The first two are quite striking and are on the edge of their recognised range.

dichromodes


dichromodes


dichromodes


dichromodes

Amongst the small moths to the light will always be some Oecophorids, characterised by their sickle-shaped upturned palps. On this night two beauties came in, Phytotrypa erythrotaenia, and Deigmoesta lithocosma, the first being as far as I know at the moment, the first record for Victoria.

phytotrypa


phytotrypa


deigmoesta

Some medium sized moths were photographed, this is Genduara subnotata, it has lost a lot of the scales from its wings so is not as striking as a fresh specimen would be. However the shot of it flying up the sheet with its beautiful body visible is some compensation.

genduara


genduara

And a lovely pristine example of Epidesmia hypenaria, showing the diagnostic very long palps.

epidesmia

Click to enlarge, more photographs here

Creatures in close up #3.

You don’t have to go far for fascinating subjects for the camera eg. the wall of the house. Every nook and cranny seems to hold a small spider, and jumping spiders patrol constantly keeping the human inhabitants safe from marauding insects! The first spider pictured was only about thirteen millimetres, it was a roaming hunter and would you believe, when it saw me taking an interest it actually challenged me.



A close up shows it has a formidable set of fangs for its size.

The next had a messy web in a perpendicular brick joint and was indifferent to my attentions.



Jumping spiders are little beauties, the smallest I photographed was only about four millimeters long. I haven’t yet encountered a peacock jumper but maybe one day I’ll get lucky.



The next two allowed a facial portrait.







Click images to enlarge.

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