Female, Laying eggs
|Class:||Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)|
|Order:||Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)|
|Family:||Wood Moth (:Cossoidea Cossidae)|
|Species:||Wood Moth (Endoxyla cf amphiplecta)|
|This Photo:||Female, anterior|
|Other name:||Goat Moth|
Thank you Ethan Beaver for identifying and Mark Ridgeway for helping with the id of this species for us
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
Marie found this large moth being attacked by small ants. Unsure of what was going on, we put her in a container, but couldn't get the ants off (being those tiny minute ones). Brought her back to the van and found eggs in the container. Using tweezers we got the ants off, which gave her some relief. Realising she was gravid took her out into a big pot full of local soil. She immediately started to push her ovipositor into the soil and "rippled" as she pushed eggs out (we assume). Clearly she can't fly, but has wings. A more technical term for reduced winged, flightless insects is "Brachypterous".
Finding the female takes a keen observer and is a rare find, while males are not so rare. A very worn and battered specimen making 100% identification impossible. But given her body & head size of about 60mm and being in SA, E. amphiplecta seems to fit the best. She's not as dirty as she looks; the "dirt" is actually her only remaining scales she has left. Her damaged wings were about 25mm long, body width approx 10mm, giving a wingspan of ~60mm.
Since Ethan id'ed the female, we found a male of what we think is this species. Again, it's difficult to be sure with this genus and the amount of wear they endure; possibly extracting themselves from the pupal tube.
The male has head & body ~26mm, wingspan ~45mm (under half her size).