S2: Female, antennae
|Class:||Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)|
|Order:||Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)|
|Family:||Geometer (:Geometridae Ennominae Boarmiini) iNaturalist Observation|
|Species:||Spider-mimicking Moth (Zermizinga sinuata)|
|This Photo:||S2: Female, ventral|
|Other name:||Lucerne Looper|
Thank you Peter Marriott for identifying, Prof Victor W Fazio III for confirming and Dr Ken Walker for helping with the id of this species for us
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
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 & head 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.
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.
A more technical term for reduced winged, flightless insects is "Brachypterous".
The males of these are very similar to Ectropis excursaria males. The antennae here seem to have longer pectinations. The females are easy to separate out as Ectropis females have wings.
Similar Species: Dark Desert Bark Moth (Psilosticha loxoschema)