Moths descend on QLD petrol station
A MOTH invasion at a Brisbane petrol station is the latest report of an influx of moths across Queensland.
After dozens of moths were spotted on petrol pumps at Mobil Ashgrove this week, experts at the Queensland Museum suspect they could be antictenia punctunculus.
"Unfortunately they have no common name. They are part of the looper caterpillar group," terrestrial biodiversity (entomology) Dr Christine Lambkin said.
"We have had inquiries now for about six weeks at QM about black white-spotted caterpillars with red-tipped flanges pointing up at the first and last abdominal segments," she said.
"We could not work out what they were and only yesterday received a good photograph. I sent that to the Australian expert Dr Cathy Byrne from TMAG Hobart and she has answered that they are antictenia punctunculus Family Geometridae: Subfamily Oenchrominae."
There have now been several reports of the moths including at the QM on the windows, and large numbers at Chinchilla.
"The last report of numbers of this species of moth were to Cathy from a colleague with an outbreak of the caterpillars defoliating ironbarks in Western Sydney in 2018. One inquiry to QM reported these on ironbarks. Unfortunately there are no images of the caterpillar available online," Dr Lambkin said.
She also explained the butterfly explosion happening across south-east Queensland in recent weeks.
"The butterflies have responded to the recent rain by emerging from diapause. Most insects are capable of stopping development at a certain stage, for butterflies and moths often the pupal stage. They can stay in that stage for years until conditions are right," she said.
"Then they emerge as adults in numbers to breed, lay eggs, caterpillars hatch on all the available food, and they will get to the pupal stage where they can wait again. With the rains coming at the right time we are seeing huge numbers of all kinds of insects. The butterflies are probably just the most obvious."
"The yellow Lemon Migrants have been around for nearly two weeks in south-east Queensland, and will probably finish soon. On the other hand the Blue Tigers are just starting to build in numbers, and migration in a westerly direction are already being reported. Other butterflies common at the moment are Blue Triangles, Common Crows, and Orchard Swallowtails."