We have finally had some rain and with just that little bit of moisture in the soil the magnificent Ghost and Rain Moths from the Hepialidae oxycanus family (5 different species) came through in large numbers.

This is much to the joy of the Sugar Gliders who love them as do bats, ringtail possums, many birds and numerous other insectivores. The Rain Moths emerge from under the ground where they have been feeding on eucalypt roots for up to six years to mate and disperse, scattering their 30,000 eggs across the ground before dying after about two days. 

The image below, taken by Zak Atkins, shows a Sugar Glider eating a large female Rain Moth. I had the good fortune to witness the possums chasing the moths in the Messmate trees after the rains out the back of Niblick St on May 8—there were hundreds of moths on the sheet that night.

sugargliderSugar Glider eating Rain Moth

Just before the heavier rains arrived, we were visited by the very large and magnificent Batwing Moths or White Stemmed Gum Moths, Chelepteryx collesi. They are our second biggest moths of the district, coming out after the first wet in autumn. Like the Rain Moths, they also breed and die and have no mouth parts to feed.

batwing mothBatwing Moth (male, 110 mm wingspan)

Their cousin, the smaller White Stemmed Wattle Moth, Chelepteryx chelepteryx, also visited in the first week of May before the batwings.

white stemmed wattleWhite Stemmed Wattle Moth (female, 85 mm wingspan)

One night in early May, Mandy Mitchell-Taverner heard loud cries as if someone was being murdered outside her house. She bravely ventured out only to find what she thinks was an Eastern Barn Owl. They are smaller and generally lighter in colour than Masked Owls, although they still have the oval face which assists them to listen for their prey.

barn owlEastern Barn Owl

When walking past the teatree marshlands off Denham track, which have partially refilled, Patrick Flanagan and Janet Stephens heard a fabulous chorus of frogs which they digitally recorded. On listening to these calls, we identified at least three species.

spotted marsh frogSpotted Marsh Frog

common eastern toadletCommon Eastern Toadlet

brown tree frogBrown Tree Frog

Recently, out along the rock platforms at low tide on Point Roadknight, I noticed many thousands of tiny limpets which on closer observation resembled the four or five different species that can be found on the point. As far as could be ascertained, these were the second or third stage of the juvenile limpets coming back to re-colonise the rock platform—an event that we had not noticed before.

limpetsAdult Limpet (4 cm) with sub adults (1 cm)

John Lenagan

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