From the Parks website, “Holey Plains State Park covers an area of 10,638 hectares of mostly Banksia and Eucalypt open-forest and woodlands growing in a series of low sandy ridges. Proclaimed in 1977, the park protects an extremely high diversity of native flora and abundant wildlife.” And the moth fauna certainly displays that diversity with quite a few significant records being made over the last few years. It had been just on eighteen months since my last session there so a return visit was long overdue. A productive location has been one of the pipeline tracks, so that was where the rig was set up on an area of hard white gravelly sand, no need for a ground sheet.
While waiting for nightfall I noticed frog calls, k-tek, k-tek, coming from what I thought was the bone dry bush behind the rig. Small frogs are not unusual around the moth light, but the calls definitely needed investigation and what a surprise I found. Just a few metres into the bush I found what must be a spring fed area of shallow water with low green grass from where the calls were coming. Wallabies had been drinking there, the tracks made by their tails were plain to see, unlike the frogs that eluded me despite two searches, one in daylight and one later with the torch. The call though gave me the identification, the Southern Toadlet, Pseudophryne semimarmorata. Dendy’s toadlet has a similar call but has a more north-easterly distribution. But back to business, the sun soon dropped in the west, the abundant Dusky Woodswallows went to their night time roosts and it was time to turn on the light.
Over the course of the night several emeralds came in, including Chlorocoma cadmaria, an attractive moth with its cream and pink wing fringe. I’ve photographed quite a number of the emeralds but have always been disappointed at missing out on any of the more spectacular species. On this night however Holey Plains came good with a lovely Bordered Emerald, Eucyclodes buprestaria, a male.
A frontal close up displayed the beautiful “cape.”
Sometimes moths can be infuriating, fluttering around nonstop, disturbing others and refusing to settle, and on this occasion one did just that. I chased it around for ages trying to get a shot in flight just to see what it was, confirmed it was one of the snout moths, Paraguda rufescens, and then it finally landed on a pebble to pose nicely for its portrait.
The genus Rhuma in the sub-family Geometrinae has several undescribed species, Holey Plains has always been a good place for them and a couple came in on this night including this very attractive male, with characteristics of Rhuma sp(3)
The Grey Elesma, Elesma subglauca, Nolinae, is one of the tuft moths, so called for small tufts of raised scales on the fore wings, a species I hadn’t seen for a while.
Somewhat similar in appearance is one of the stub moths, Discophlebia celaena, the Variable Stub-moth, photographed on the ground with its wings spread.
Several Noctuid species came to the light, two of the more attractive ones were Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta and Proteuxoa oxygona. The former is very common and can come to the light in large numbers, but it’s a striking moth and well worth its time in the spotlight.
All the moths photographed on the night can be seen here.
Click images to enlarge.