SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SUN-MOTHS
Synemon 'Ignita' (Kangaroo Island Sun-moth)
Female 52mm from Kangaroo Island
|The Kangaroo Island Sun-moth is a large, very
pretty species, either closely related to, or a form of S. magnifica
Strand, which occurs in the eastern states. Within South Australia this unstudied species
has only been found on Kangaroo Island (K.I.), where it utilises the dryland sedge Lepidosperma
viscidum (Sticky Sword-sedge) (Cyperaceae) as a
hostplant. The wing expanse is 34-52mm and the reported flight period is late
BCSA member Andy Young recently recorded the life history of this sun-moth. The eggs of S. 'Ignita' are laid singly on the stems of the hostplant near its base, and females have a preference for smaller plants. Newly emerged larvae are red coloured. (S. magnifica has been well studied: Common, I.F.B. & Edwards, E.D. 1981. The life history and early stages of Synemon magnifica Strand (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). J. Aust. Ent. Soc. 20: 295302).
The species has a restricted range on K.I. where it still
seems to be secure but is threatened by farming, urbanisation and fire management
practices. It is likely to also occur in moist, southern temperate areas on the mainland,
where areas of its hostplant grow in sufficient density that have been historically
undisturbed and not sprayed by herbicides and insecticides.
Newly emerged female on larval host Lepidosperma
The empty pupal shell (exuvium) protruding from the ground, is visible in the lower right hand corner.
Newly emerged female in a tent-like resting position on a shrub
Newly emerged male resting in open-wings position on the ground
Photography by Andy Young
Spindle shaped egg slightly dehydrated, showing four longitudinal
confirming the Synemon 'Ignita' relationship with Synemon magnifica
Photography by L. Hunt & Andy Young
Habitat for S. 'Ignita' on K.I.
Lepidosperma viscidum (Sticky sword-sedge) (Cyperaceae).
Photography by R. Grund
Author: R. GRUND, © copyright 10 April 2011, all rights reserved.
Last update 25 April 2011.