Vacuaria Carpet Moth
Male (S9), dorsal
|Class:||Animal (Animalia) - Joint Leg (Arthropoda) - Insect (Insecta)|
|Order:||Moth Butterfly (Lepidoptera)|
|Family:||Geometer (:Geometroidea Geometridae)|
|Species:||Spider-mimicking Moth (Zermizinga sinuata)|
|This Photo:||Fresh Male (S10), dorsal|
|Other name:||Lucerne Looper|
Thank you Peter Marriott for identifying this species for us
EXTRA - Photo Specific Information:
Notice the long trailing scales on the wings which have no damage. This is a strong indication of it being newly emerged.
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee)
The flightless females are ~8mm long, wingspan ~10mm; more grey on top, browner underneath. Unlike female clouded footmen, these do have wings. They are reduced and can't produce flight. When we first saw her the fore-wings were resting along the side as well as the hind-wings, but they stayed out the whole time we were photographing. At first we thought we saw a spider on the flyscreen, but were stunned to find it was a moth.
We have found 11 males (so far), in every season, with most over winter (June/July). We've only found 2 females in October.
Males are quite variable in colour. Body length is up to ~10mm, wingspan up to ~30mm
We find the process of identification easier to start with a darker one and work back to the paler / worn specimens.
The males also have an unusual "scarf" around the neck, which was most evident on S7, which was also one of the paler specimens. The scarf stands up as the head is bent down.