Owlet Moth - Dasypodia selenophora
Dasypodia selenophora is a most attractive moth from the Noctuidae family and when it opens its broad wings to fly, it is easy to see its resemblance to the Owlet birds. However, for some reason that completely eludes me, this beautiful moth also has a common name of 'Southern Old Lady Moth.' I can only guess that some entomologists work too hard! The term Owlet Moths acually refer to all the moths in the family Noctuidae, which is an exceptionally large one with over 35,000 described species world wide, but the Owlet Moth name is no doubt more applicable to some species (like this one), as the top right photograph illustrates.
These moths are excellent fliers and feed on the nectar of various plants, which in this instance were the large Banksia speciosa shrubs (Showy Banksia), with their large 15 cm x 7.5 mm (6"x 3") flower spikes. The wing span of this Owlet Moth is commonly around 7.5 cm (3"), with a body length around 3.5 cm (11/4"). They are locally quite common from November to February and are often attracted to house lights.