My grandson found this moth in central Ballarat. We cannot identify it; could you please help us?
This handsome moth is an emperor gum moth, once fairly common, but now becoming uncommon. Your specimen is a male, because of its feathery antennae. Females have unbranched antennae and are slightly larger, with up to 150mm wingspan.
The moth lives for just a couple of weeks, during which it does not feed, having stored up sufficient energy to fly and reproduce during its long caterpillar stage. Caterpillars are impressive: large, finger-sized, fleshy and light green with short bristles. They feed on young eucalyptus leaves. The moth’s tough pupal cases are often found in bushland; about 25-30mm long, oval, and attached to a stem or trunk.
- Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to email@example.com