Acyphas chionitis

White Tussock Moth at Greenway, ACT

Acyphas chionitis at Greenway, ACT - 27 Oct 2015
Acyphas chionitis at Greenway, ACT - 27 Oct 2015
Acyphas chionitis at Greenway, ACT - 27 Oct 2015
Acyphas chionitis at Greenway, ACT - 27 Oct 2015
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Identification history

Acyphas chionitis 14 Jun 2017 ibaird
Acyphas chionitis 14 Jun 2017 michaelb
Acyphas semiochrea 27 Apr 2017 michaelb

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User's notes

Near the Murrumbidgee River at Pine Island.

6 comments

michaelb wrote:
   28 Apr 2017
It might also be Acyphas chionitis, White Tussock Moth, See:
http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/lyma/chionit.html
ibaird wrote:
   28 Apr 2017
Apparently the females of A. semiochrea are mostly white with the yellow tufted abdomen whereas the males (black feathery antennae) may have the black half to the forewing. Although in the Lepidoptera Houses' account there is uncertainty as to whether the same name may not have been attributed to two species, hence the distinct possibility we might be dealing with A. chionitis here after all.
ibaird wrote:
   28 Apr 2017
I am inclined to think we have A, chionitis here rather than A. semiochrea because if you look at Donald Hobern's images of specimens attributed as A. chionitis on the ALA (from Aranda?) there seem to be specimens of both sexes, however the male specimens have creamy white antennae, not black antennae as shown in A. semiochroa on the Lepidotera Butterfly House website.
ibaird wrote:
   15 Jun 2017
Moths of Victoria, Part 2 Noctuoidea on page 1/4 for A. semiochroa states that the species may be separated from A. chionitis if there is a single black spot on the forewing present in the males. Given there is no black spot visible on the forewing, this specimen can be identified as A. chionitis
GlennCocking wrote:
   16 Feb 2018
The moth in the photo is a female. This is indicated by body shape with a tufted tip to the abdomen. Acyphas have bipectinate antennae in both males and females, the female pectinations being shorter. The females of both species are plain white, as are the males of chionotis and some of the males of semiochrea. So we can only be certain about the identity of those males that have some black on the forewing. It is tempting to use antennal colour, as in the ANIC collection all and only semiochraea have black antenna and the remainder are light. But I can't confirm this from the type descriptions, and MoV don't seem to use this criterion. The BOLD Bin for semiochraea seems to have only dark antennae, and the one with chionitis has only light antennae (although it has only 5 specimens and there are a lot of other small bins). Overall I suggest we use this criterion on a provisional basis, meaning this specimen stays as chionotis. [There are also suspected undescribed species that are plain white in both sexes, and some small white Euproctis species, to complicate the situation but it seems they have so far only been recorded north of the ACT or at the coast.]
ibaird wrote:
   16 Feb 2018
OK. Agreed. Thanks or the extra information. I've deleted my reference to the antennae which was clearly an heroic assumption.

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  • 1 - 3 Abundance
  • 27 Oct 2015 07:47 PM Recorded on
  • michaelb Recorded by

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  • Kunzea ericoides Associated plant
  • 12mm to 25mm Animal size

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