Large moth ID

To: Steve Holliday <>
Subject: Large moth ID
From: John Brannan <>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 13:46:55 +1000
/Trictena atripalpis/ it is.
The wing markings look right and the size (female) is also right.
Many thanks Steve!


Steve Holliday wrote:

Hi John

Most likely one of the swift moths (Hepialidae) or wood/goat moths
(Cossidae) - both of these families contain some very large species. A
swift moth may be more likely as I think a lot of them are known to
emerge and fly in autumn, particularly after rain; the big wood moths
(/Endoxyla/ spp) may be more likely in summer. The swift moth
/Trictena atripalpis/ would be my guess, females have a wingspan of up
to 16cm - have a squizz at this site and see if anything looks like
yours - just click on the relevant family and browse the photos –
there are some nice shots of live specimens



-----Original Message-----
From: John Brannan 
Sent: Tuesday, 14 April 2009 11:51 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Large moth ID

I know this is off-topic for COG, but can anyone ID the very large moths

that were beating themselves to death against my studio window last night.

They are the size of a small bird, with a wingspan of maybe 5-6 inches,

bodies around 3 inches long and as fat as my forefinger. Generally a

mottled brown colour with rather slender wings. After leafing through my

fairly useless insect book, I think that they are perhaps a type of goat

moth. They don't have the pointed abdomen of the hawk moths and they

fold their wings back over their bodies at rest, rather than laying them

out flat to the sides.


John Brannan


Canberra, Australia


Phone: (+612) 6258 6038   Fax: (+612) 6258 6238


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