‘In Memorium’ (to a moth)

by Frances Cincotta

Alfred Lord Tennyson was right about nature being red in tooth and claw!

This morning I watched five minutes worth of a grim battle between a Bull Ant and an adult Cup Moth on a paver under my verandah at Newstead.

Bull Ant (Myrmecia sp.) tearing into the body of a female Painted Cup Moth at Newstead Natives Nursery, 25th March 2020

Despite the size difference between the combatants and me thinking the Bull Ant’s eyes were bigger than its stomach I could see after a while that the ant was going to be the victor. I couldn’t watch ’til the bitter end.

Wrestling match continues

Our local eucalypts are defoliated every few years by the colourful caterpillars of this local moth species. Next time you are bitten by a Bull Ant and are cursing the existence of a species that can deliver such a painful sting, keep in mind that the ants might be helping keep Painted Cup Moth numbers in check. Or perhaps the female moth had done all its egg-laying and was old and tired near the end of its life, and that’s why it got caught?

Painted Cup Moth in its larval or caterpillar stage (photographed by Frances Cincotta November 2017)

5 responses to “‘In Memorium’ (to a moth)

  1. Kirsten Hutchison

    Go ants!!!! Keep those cupmoths under control!!!

    Kirsten Hutchison
    Senior Conservation Officer

    Trust for Nature
    Phone: (03) 5470 6529 | Freecall: 1800 99 99 33 | Mobile: 0459 168 865
    Room T11, 233 Barker St, Castlemaine VIC 3450 | http://www.trustfornature.org.au
    [Facebook][cid:image139ea2.PNG@6a8c232f.4b829a8e][Instagram][LinkedIn]
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    [Trust For Nature]

    [cid:imageb7d73f.GIF@6c881da6.4a940df6] I acknowledge the traditional Aboriginal owners of Country throughout Victoria and pay my respects to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.

  2. Amazing photos Frances.

  3. Frances Cincotta

    Hi Mike and thanks. Long time no see! How cool that you are a follower of Natural Newstead blog.

  4. You don’t write often enough for this group Francis! Enjoy your work and photography – marvellous once again, thank you.

  5. Frances Cincotta

    Thanks Kaye. I am honoured that Geoff lets me guest post at all!

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