Golden Sun Moth, Synemon plana
Where do they live?
The Golden Sun Moth can be found in Victoria, ACT and a small area in NSW.
What is their habitat?
They live in native temperate grasslands and open grassy woodlands. If you keep watch in the warmest part of the day, you may see something fascinating: while the females rarely fly, the males will be flying in a zigzag pattern looking for the females.
What do they eat?
The Larvae (caterpillars) feed on the roots of native grasses. The adults have no functional mouthparts so they do not feed.
How do they reproduce?
Breeding occurs between mid-October and January. Once the moths have mated, females spend their adult life laying eggs within clumps of wallaby grass. Females are estimated to lay from 100 to 150 eggs. The eggs hatch after about 21 days and the larvae (caterpillars) then tunnel into the ground, where they live for one to three years. Adult moths live for only one to four days.
What else do I need to know?
The forewings of the females are dark grey with lighter grey patterning, while the hindwings are reduced in size and are bright orange with black spots along the edges. The males have dark brown forewings with lighter grey patterning. The hindwings are bronze to brown with dark brown patches. Both males and females have clubbed antennae and a wing span of up to 3.4 centimetres.
Where do they fit in the tree of life?
What is their conservation status?
The Golden Sun Moth does not have an IUCN listing.
In Australia, the Golden Sun Moth is Critically Endangered.