Seasonal Almanac

Start of autumn: cool wind arrives (4 of 5)

February 8th, 2009

Start of autumn 4 of 15My desk lamp in the dark room attraced this little furry moth. I took a photograph and tried to identify it using CSIRO Entomology site on ‘Australian Moths’.

This online scientific resource organises the data hierachly, listing families alphabetically, which link to sub-families and species. Each species is accompanied by a photograph, biological classification details, author of photographs, sighting location and date. The site’s structuring probably reflects the greater Linnean principles. The photographs certainly demostrate a wonderful diversity of moths found in Australia.

The difficulty, of course, is to idenfity a species by sight rather than by name. I looked for simiarlies between my moth and the ones photographed, but what kind of characteristics am I looking for? What kind of visual appearences group the species into a family? Moreover, I didn’t get much visual details of the moth’s wings which makes the identification difficult. Is this a species that belong to the Anthela family?

2 Responses to “Start of autumn: cool wind arrives (4 of 5)”

  1. 1 Louise
    February 16th, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Hello Jo

    The original owner of this property was a CSIRO entymologist. My favourite identification book to date is the Warrumbungles flower book that has sections by colour – it’s quite amazing, this means you can actually use it whilst walking. I guess that’s the beauty of colour, simplistic. It’s interesting though, points of access/how to profile information, the key moot point for modern day recordkeeping.

  2. 2 jolaw
    February 16th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Hello Louise,

    I am coming up against this problem a lot when identifying species online. Most resources organise their information by the species’ names (and if I know the name, I probably wouldn’t need to look it up!).

    But I did have some luck when trying to identify the Passion hoppers. At first, I didn’t know where to start as I didn’t even know what kind of insects they were – flies, moths? I was none the wiser after searching on CSIRO moth online and other databases. So out of desparation I googled a description: ‘small black and transparent inscents on passionfruit vine’ – then out popped the results! Incidentally, New Zealand authors are prolific on the subject of these hoppers (which spread to there from Australia).