Kangaroo Island Sun-moth

Synemon 'Ignita'

ignita_f_KI_HPIM7654-7661.jpg (71.6 KB)
Female 52 mm 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 34-52 mm and the reported flight period is late November-early February.

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: 295-302).

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.

ignita distribution