Wild South East

a nature blog of south-east Victoria, mostly Gippsland

Day Moth- Phalanoides tristifica

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I recently had a short wander around the lower Powlett River area west of Wonthaggi which contains some very interesting coastal vegetation and wetlands including coastal Banksia woodland, primary dune scrub, damp sands herb-rich woodland and swamp scrub.

In some of the open areas, especially disturbed spots, the Willow Herb Epilobium hirtigerum was surrounded by large numbers of the Day Moth Phalanoides tristifica. 

Day Moth on Epilobium hirtigerum
Day Moth on Epilobium hirtigerum
Day Moth

Day Moth

Day Moth laying eggs.

Day Moth laying eggs.

After watching them for a while I noticed they were landing on the Willow Herb and laying small black eggs in large numbers.

Day Moth caterpillar feeding on Epilobium hirtigerum

Some caterpillars had already hatched but most of the plants were covered in many of the eggs.

These caterpillars feed mostly on Epilobium and Oenothera and Hibbertia spp

Epilobium hirtigerum

Epilobium hirtigerum

This is one of two Australian species of the genus Phalanoides, the other P. glycinae is notorious both in Australia and overseas as a pest on grape vines and goes by the name Grape Vine Moth. P. tristifica is also a pest of grape vines but less so.

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