Have you seen this secretive central Victorian moth?

The unusual green and white patterned Cymatoplex sp. moth is known from only a dozen sightings – EVER.  It has not yet been scientifically described or even formally named.  Half of the known observations are from the Eppalock bushland property of Steve Williams.  Another one is from Fryerstown.  Last year (2013) at a Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club meeting, Steve presented a fascinating talk on his hobby to document the life history cycles of hundreds of moth species of central Victoria.  Yet this little known charismatic species has held a special fascination for him.

moth pic2(Photo by Steve Williams)

Steve has discovered that the larvae feed exclusively on the native Dropping Cassinia (Cassinia arcuata).  Yes, the common local plant also known as Coffee Bush or Chinese Scrub.  The eggs are laid on the plant, and over the next 11 ½ months, that individuals goes from egg to larvae to pupa all on the same plant specimen.

The adults emerge and fly for only a few days, during which time they mate and lay their eggs.  Adult moths have only ever been recorded during the last week of March and the first week of April, and the other life stages have never been seen in the wild.  If you have Drooping Cassinia on or near your property, now is the time to be on the look-out for this colorful moth!  If you see one flying about at night, or resting on a window, please let us know as it would provide valuable scientific and conservation knowledge (with a photo if possible, and also the date and location).

With the permission of the Entomological Society of Victoria, we are fortunate to be able to provide access to an easy-to-read paper that Steve recently wrote for the Victorian Entomologist journal (click here), which gives more information about the life history of this species and some good identifying photos.

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