There are thought to be close to 30,000 moths in Australia. They range from micro moths to very large moths the size of a small bird. New moths are still being identified in Australia and many life histories await discovery.
Like butterflies moths have breeding ranges limited by the availability of their caterpillar foodplant. This means few butterflies or moths are found right across Australia.
Most moths fly at night (making them more difficult to see than butterflies) but a few are day flying. Moths are divided into many families.
Hawk Moth Family These are a special interest of ours. There are 65 known Hawk Moths in Australia. To date we have sighted nineteen on our property. Most of these moths were attracted at night using an insect collecting light, others were sighted at dusk feeding on flowers and a couple of day flying Bee Hawks were sighted feeding on flowers. Several Hawk Moths breed on our property. Check out their stream-lined jet fighter like shape in the Hawk Moth photos.
Note: A very detailed book on the Australian Hawk Moths is being written by Max Moulds, Jim Tuttle and David Lane. Currently no date for publication has been set.
Emperor Moth Family Of the 12 known Emperor Moths in Australia, we have seen four on our property, attracted at night to the insect collecting light. Two of these we have found breeding on our property.
The angennae of a giant male Hercules Moth, FNQ (Photo Wynne Robinson)