In April it will be seven years since a very nice pink-hued Oenochroma vinaria first came to my moth sheet to be photographed, and since then it has become a familiar visitor. Not surprising, the larvae feed on plants in the Proteaceae family, hakeas and grevilleas for instance, many of which are in the garden, in addition to the Silky Oak street trees, Grevillea robusta. The adult moths vary in colour, as do the larvae, and the discovery of two very dark larvae on a Grevillea maccutcheonii prompted this post. Firstly, two colour forms of the adult, the first being my original photo.
Grevillea maccutcheonii is a Western Australian grevillea, and is listed as critically endangered in the wild, more information here. Fortunately it is now in cultivation, and we have two plants in the garden, for pictures of foliage and flowers click here. The foliage is spiny and quite coarse in texture, similar to the other garden shrubs the species seems to favour, and the dark larvae were quite easy to see feeding on the pale green leaves.
When I disturbed this one while taking photos it took up what has to be a defensive posture, displaying the bright yellow markings and black horns. This type of behaviour is often indulged in by many species to advertise the fact that they are toxic and not good to eat, I don’t know if this is the case with vinaria or if it is just bluff.
One of the larvae has disappeared, either pupating or perhaps falling prey to a bird, I’m feeding and keeping the other captive to hopefully see the adult moth in the future.
Click pictures to enlarge.