Ellura's Ground Moth
Female: dorsal, with scales
Ellura
Ellura's Ground Moth
Female: profile
 
    
Ellura's Ground Moth (Philobota sp ES4)Class: Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)
Order: Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)
Family: Oecophorid Moth (:Gelechioidea Oecophoridae)
Species: Ellura's Ground Moth (Philobota sp ES4)
This Photo:     Female: dorsal, without scales

General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
Eagle eyed Marie spied these two moths mating on the ground. We realised she had found another different species of female Ground Moth, but this time with the male to now tie the two gender descriptions together. These two have gone off to ANIC where Glenn Cocking is comparing them to other specimens to see if the male can give us a genus / species; with more confidence than the previously assumed Philobota.
Male: ~12m long, ~27mm wingspan. Female:~8mm long, ~7mm wingspan
We believe this one to be a different species to the other two. While similar pattens to Philobota sp ES3, the female has shorter wings here.
We were keen on seeing if she'd lay eggs. After a night in a large enclosure filled with damp soil & various plants, fungi & lichen she was exhaused and had worn off all her scales. When we did see her moving it was to try to dig into the soil.
The lack of scales showed an amazing horn on her face, previously hidden by scales. It seems P. sp ES3 has this as well, but it's not clear.
One can only assume the horn aides her in digging in soil; again assuming that's where she lays her eggs.

Copyright © 2020 Brett & Marie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photographed 14-Jun-2020
This species is an Australian Native Species, not listed in the SA Murray Mallee Survey of 2010.