S6, Grey Male, dorsal
S8, Grey Male, size comparison
|Class:||Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)|
|Order:||Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)|
|Family:||Anthelid Moth (:Bombycoidea Anthelidae) iNaturalist Observation|
|Species:||Ruby Anthelid (Anthela rubeola)|
|This Photo:||🔍S7, Ruby Male, dorsal🔎|
Thank you Ethan Beaver & Ned Fisher for confirming the id of this species for us
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA), the Riverland and elsewhere
Head & body of adults is ~20mm, natural wingspan ~57mm, measured wingspan up to ~75mm. Larvae reach up to ~50mm long.
While called "Ruby" these can be anything from pale brown/grey through to ruby. Colour variation is not associated with gender.
Their legs & palps always seem to have ruby highlights, regardless of wing colour.
While males & females have bipectinate antennae, the females have much smaller pectinations. As is typical, the female bodies are much larger (longer & wider) than the males.
Notice the contrasting white hairs/scales on the knees.
Some larvae were found on Acacia hakeoides & others on Senna artemisioides. The larvae have 5 pairs of prolegs and 3 "real", or thoracic, legs (these are kept to adult, whereas the prolegs are lost). Notice also the spiracles (breathing holes) on their sides which are white, vertical ovals just above the prolegs.
We captured a larva in October 2021, which pupated soon after. It then emerged mid-June 2022, providing our first female; ie 8 months pupating. It's interesting to see the cocoon completely obscurs the pupal case. After she emerged we extracted the cocoon and cut it in half to show the solid pupal case inside; which was about 20mm long. The hole they emerge from is tiny, ~5mm round, compared to their body & wing size.
We didn't see an adult until May 2018 and suddenly we found around 20 males coming to night lights.
We have now photographed 20 adult specimens in May, Jun, Jul & Aug. We have photographed 5 larvae in Oct.