Old Lady Moth visits us every Christmas Have you seen it

As a child we always knew it was nearly Christmas as these moths would fly into our house. Mum would say look the Christmas moth is back, and we would laugh. I often wondered how it knew when it was Christmas and where it spent the rest of the year as we only saw it at Christmas time.

We have again seen two in our home this year and I decided to see if I could find out something about our little friend. We took some photos and did a Google search for Christmas Moth. No Response or at least nothing to solve my mystery.

West Australian Museum

I emailed our Museum and described this friend of ours; they suggested that it could be the Old Lady Moth (Dasypodia selenophora) from the Noctuidae family.  They were spot on; their photo is the same moth that I let go today.

Another name for this moth is:

·         Southern Old Lady Moth

 

Description

These adult moths are mainly brown on the top with an orange colored underneath. The wings have a large spot which looks like an eye on each end of the wings. These are a blue- black in color. The back edges of the wings have black spots. Their head and legs are orange.

These moths have a wing span of between 7-9 cms


Habitat

These moths are found across the lower half of Australia.

Food


Their caterpillars feed on a variety of wattles (acacia) foliage during the night and secrete themselves beneath stems of the foliage or in the litter at the bases of the trees or shrubs during the day. Therefore they are well hidden most of the time.


Breeding


The adult species emerge from their cocoons over a protracted period of the year, although this is generally during the warmer months. These moths will often be seen to fly into various homes and land on the walls or curtains. If you should happen to see one of these please open the door and let it out as it l die if left in the home for a couple of days.

Has anyone else seen this moth? No matter what they call it to me I will always be our Christmas Moth.




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Comments 11 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Great hub. time and effort can be rewarding. They are very similar to the elephant hawk moth here in the U.K. Enjoy your Christmas Moth.


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

DAL Thanks for that do they come in at christmas or not.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

They look fabulous. I cannot understnad why some people are scared of moths or do not like them. These same people usually like butterflies.


Nemingha profile image

Nemingha 6 years ago

Reading this hub has just reminded me that I haven't seen any of these yet this year, I wonder why?


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

ethel, yes thats weird isnt it. Butterflies are so beautiful maybe they see the beauty and forget all else.

Neminga, so you usually see them too. thats great. They must be hiding from you this year. Funny that you only see them at christmas though.


fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

That is one huge moth. Great hub.


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

fishtiger, I have seen bigger ones but I love the rings on the wings as they look like they are watching us.


Denise Williams 4 years ago

We had one in our bathroom which gave me a wonderful opportunity to photograph it up close. After a couple of days I did start to worry how it would survive so we caught it and let it out and I am glad we did after reading about it above.


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

thanks Denise for taking the time to tell me that. Yes we have to try and save them where we can. I found one in my laundry last week but it was too late, worst luck


Moth 4 years ago

So strange, it's Christmas eve 2011, about 2am (ok, it's actually Christmas) and an old lady moth landed under the light outside. I had never seen one before and I had to do a bit of research to find out who he is! He's partaken in photo shoot and I'm stoked to have met him and found this article!


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Moth, yes it is weird how they only come around at Christmas time. Glad you had the chance to see him. I didn't get to see a live one this year worst luck. Have to wait till next year now. Hope you had a great xmas

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