08 May 2009

Oenosandra boisduvalii - Oenosandridae

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Oenosandra boisduvalii - Oenosandridae

A small family of only 6 species (endemic to Australia), but as Oenosandra boisduvalii is found from southern Queensland to Tasmania, then across to Western Australia, they are obviously very numerous. For such a widespread species, its food source also needs to be widespread and that is amply filled by various eucalypts, so the larvae are not likely to go hungry.

The gender appearance is quite different with this moth, and they could easily be thought to be two species. Both have a body length of 2 cm (3/4"), with the male sporting a long antennae with a fine pectinate structure, whereas the female has a more whip-like one, but this arrangement is very common with moths to enable wandering males to track down the females. The major difference between them is in their coloration, the female is dressed in a glamorous white silver cloak, ornamented with a black and gold spotted stripe, then topped off with a deep white fur collar. The male not to be outdone, has wings of contrasting darker colors, also with a liberal scattering of black and gold spots, and is him that is more likely encountered of the two.

Oenosandra boisduvalii is exclusively a night flier and is readily attracted to lights, so most Australians have probably seen them, but not looked closely enough to identify. I have recorded this species in the Esperance region during March and April, which agrees with the common name of Boisduval's Autumn Moth.