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Spotlighting & Mothing at Moggs Creek

It was a fantastic night out at Moggs, with many families joining us for a BBQ and walk in the Park – looking for the noisy (yet hard to spot!) Yellow-bellied Glider.

Click the play button to hear the Yellow-bellied Glider

The kids all helped with a tree-shaker activity, where we place a white sheet on the ground and shake a branch above it. All the spiders and other insects fall onto it and we get a chance to look at them. This activity revealed an incredible insect I had never seen before! It’s called Ceraon tasmaniae – in the insect order Hemiptera, in the ‘Typical Treehoppers’ Family. However, there’s no way I’d call it typical! Let’s name it, the ‘Horned Treehopper’.

The moth lights were set up and I had hopes that a Batwing Moth might show up – and sure enough, as soon as it was dark one flew in just before we headed out on our walk.

Two male Batwing Moths (Clelepteryx collesi) – females are larger(!) but lack the feather-like antennae of these guys

A large group of all ages explored the pathway and heard the gliders calling all around us, but they proved too difficult to see in the canopy – even with our new night-vision binoculars!

It was very exciting hearing them calling so close, and the UV light showed up a scorpion on the path too which was great for everyone to see.

A Forest Scorpion (Cercophonius squama) goes a flourescent aqua blue when it reflects UV light – we don’t really know why!
This spider was very well camouflaged against the ironbark – this is Cambridge’s Crab Spider (Isala cambridgei) – not one I had ever seen before

When we got back, the moth sheet was covered in large male Batwing Moths, we counted at least 16! It was a great chance for everyone to have a close look at these spectacular creatures.

Will gently holds a large Batwing moth, and a smaller one too – called the Stippled-line Moth (Smyriodes trigramma)

Some of the kids gently handled them, making sure not to touch the wings. Despite their fluttering all around us, none were harmed in any way. When I turned off the light a little later, they flew off into the night, hopefully to find a female!