Golden Sun Moth

Photo(s): 

Golden Sun Moth

Synemon plana


Active only during the hottest part of hot, sunny, and relatively still days. The adult moths live for 1-4 days. Larvae spend 2 or more years underground. Adult moths emerge from underground between November-December. Females lay 100 to 150 eggs; they rarely fly and mostly walk. Males can make long flights but do not travel more than 100 m away from suitable habitat patches. This means it is difficult for them to colonise new areas at a distance. 


Details Description
Type
Invertebrate
Group
Insect - Moth
Identifying Characteristics

Medium sized, day-flying moth with a wing span up to 34 cm. Females have a slightly smaller wingspan of 31 cm and a long tapering body. The upperside of the forewings of females is grey patterned; their hindwings are bright orange with black spots along the edges. The male's upperside forewings are grey and and hindwings are bronze-brown. Both have clubbed antennae.

Distinctive Markings

Day flying moth. Clubbed antennae. The female's upper hindwing is bright orange with black spots along the edges; the male's is bronze-brown.

Diet

Herbivore.  Larvae feed on the roots of native grasses. 

Habitat

Native grasslands and grassy woodlands, especially those with wallaby grasses (Rytidosperma spp.), but also grasslands with native red-leg grass (Bothriochloa macra), spear-grasses (Austrostipa spp.), weeping grass (Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides) or kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra). They prefer grasslands with bare ground between tussocks, probably so males can more easily find females.

Native Status
Native to Australia
Taxonomy
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Insecta
Order
Lepidoptera
Family
Castniidae
Genus
Synemon
Species
plana
This moth was widespread in south-eastern Australia at the time of European settlement. Now found only in a few small sites in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria. Most of these sites are railway or roadside reserves or private land.

Distribution maps indicate current and historic locations where species have been sighted.

Source: Atlas of Living Australia

Conservation Status
DEPI Advisory List
Not listed
FFG Act
Listed as threatened
EPBC Act
Critically endangered
FFG Action Statement

The conservation status of species is listed within Victoria and Australia.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI) Advisory List consists of non-statutory advisory lists of rare or threatened flora and fauna within Victoria.

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) lists threatened species in Victoria. Under the Act, an Action Statement is produced for each listed species.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government’s key piece of environmental legislation, listing nationally threatened native species and ecological communities.