There are many beautiful Agathia species from South east Asia to Queensland. Lime green tends to predominate edged by various signs of living leaf damage. This 'discarded leaf' appears to have 'snagged' on a mossy trunk. Agathia prasinaspis extends from New Guinea to Queensland north eastern Australia
There are many beautiful Agathia species from South east Asia to Queensland Australia. Lime green tends to predominate edged by various signs of living leaf damage. This discarded leaf appears to have 'snagged' on a leaf-mined leaf. Agathia prasinaspis extends from New Guinea to Queensland north eastern Australia
Often lichen species occur side by side, locked into a mozaiced competition pattern on tree bark and rocks. The intermeshed fungal 'foliage' makes for a complex 'jigsaw' that offers a safe background on which adapted animals can make a living - some even eating the nutritious combination of fungus and algae that we know as lichen. The combination of a green and white lichen is the model that this geometer moth has exploited. Antitrygodes parvimacula extends from New Guinea to Queensland north eastern Australia
Berta is a small genus of 13 described delicate lacy geometer moths occurring from South East Asia to north eastern Australia. They are clearly practitioners of the 'two lichens' camouflage approach. Berta sp. TBC is probably endemic to New Guinea as this species photo was taken in the highlands
This charming little moth clearly is safest when it is settled among the complex visual mosaic presented to predators by green and white lichens growing on a living leaf. The white margin could equate to mould taking route at the edges of bite marks from leaf-eating monkeys to young tree kangaroos. It is surprisingly widespread extending from Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Philippines, Borneo where it crosses the Wallace line to southern Moluccas, Sulawesi east to New Guinea and north east Australia
South east Asian mothsComostola cedillaMalaysia mothsSumatra mothsPhilippines mothsBorneo mothsMoluccan mothsSulawesi mothsNew Guinea mothsAustralia mothsQueensland mothsWet Tropics mothsGeometridaeliving leaf lichen camouflage
Being a diminutive emerald, and therefore a living leaf camouflage practitioner, this species is too small to be a whole leaf. So a part of a whole that has probably been detached from its parent tree by a leaf-eating mammal, probably a primate west of the Wallace line and probably a marsupial east of that line. Once the chunk fell onto foliage below a white fungus is quick to colonise the freshly tooth-trimmed edges and there appears to be evidence of a small leaf-miner caterpillar's feeding track. Comostola nereidaria extends from Borneo, southern Moluccas, Sulawesi east to New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands and north eastern Australia
Turquoise is a rare colour in terrestrial plants, lichens, fungi and animals. I suspect it is more common in marine environments. Nevertheless to be found in a small moth implies that there must be a static background on which it can camouflage. Also given its extensive range from India to the western Pacific there must be something widespread and common enough to allow the moth to make a living.The answer comes in the form of a blue-green lichen. Comostola pyrrhogona extends from India, Thailand, southern China to Taiwan, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and north east to Moluccas, New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island and northern eastern Australia
South east Asia mothsComostola pyrrhogonaGeometridaeIndia mothsTaiwan mothsMalaysia mothsIndonesia mothsBorneo mothsSumatra mothsJava mothsMoluccan mothsNew Guinea mothsVanuatu mothsNew Caledonia mothsNorfolk Island mothsAustralia mothsQueensland mothslichen camouflage
Callhistia dohertyi is endemic to New Guinea and is one of eight described members of its genus. All species are large, diurnal and bear warning colours. One species bearing the name 'grandis' (meaning large) has a remarkable hindwing shape in the form of a parallelogram - a rare phenomenon in any wing-bearing animal. Nevertheless New Guinea seems to have an uncanny ability to produce the 'genetically unexpected', somewhat reminiscent of Madagascar
The current taxonomic concept of Gelasma implies some interesting zoogeographic implications. This distribution pattern suggests a 'post Gondwanan arc'. So we have species in Madagascar, north-western India, South east Asia, Philippines, south to Borneo and east to New Guinea then south to Tasmania, the most southern extension of the genus. Certainly Tasmania is well known for maintaining Gondwanan flora and fauna. Perhaps the ancestor of Gelasma was widely spread through proto-Africa, India and Australia. India broke off first and, geologically speaking, charged northwards carrying ancestral Gelasma and crashed into the Asian plate forming the Himalayas. Gelasma then spread through South east Asia, speciating locally and then re-meeting ancestors in New Guinea and Australia. Gelasma orthodesma extends from New Guinea to Queensland north eastern Australia
To a hungry bird, lizard, or frog this geometer moth caterpillar 'shouts out a warning' in a visual language that crosses boundaries - "if you eat me I will make you sick, if not kill you"! However there is a cost to the caterpillar population. A young inexperienced bird, lizard, or frog has to learn the hard way by grabbing the first sacrificial caterpillar and tasting it. Hopefully the first jaw or beak crunch is enough to cause regurgitation of the fatally damaged caterpillar. Also, hopefully, the caterpillar's colour and pattern becomes indelibly stamped into the search image storage area of the brain of the predator. This will mean one less caterpillar will not be removed from the gene pool by that predator when the next encounter occurs. I wonder what the adult moth looks like?
The genus Metallochlora contains 16 described species ranging from Subsaharan Africa and Madagascar across the Indian Ocean to eastern Indonesia, New Guinea and then to northern and eastern Australia. There appears to be no records for countries bordering the northern Indian Ocean suggesting that the genus in its present manifestation maybe of Gondwanan origin. Metallochlora venusta extends from New Guinea to Queensland north eastern Australia
When I first spied this living beauty from a distance I thought I was looking at a discarded lolly wrapper. Given that I was far from a shop that might sell such trappings of modern society and where men wear penis gourds and women wear grass skirts I wondered about this. I then wandered over closer to the glowing blue and realised it was in fact a stunning diurnal moth. As I did not have a net at the time I stopped at a distance and got my camera ready. Then metre by metre I crept closer on my knees. As I was going onto my elbows I noticed the acrid smell of urine and thought that either a pig or a human had recently urinated in this spot. The salts were 'intoxicating' for the moth which must have had its fill as it only allowed me one shot before fluttering off
The 'luscious' geometrid genus Milionia extends from the north-eastern Himalayas, north east to southern Japan then south through the islands of the Indomalayan archipelago as far east as New Guinea and Queensland north eastern Australia. It is represented by over 140 species depending on who's taxonomy you follow. The major centre for diversity for the genus is in the heavily dissected mountain valleys of New Guinea.
The snapshot story of camouflage on these wings might go like this; the green part of the leaf is still living; the brown parts are dead. In addition the darkened streaks and spots might be old feeding scars from tiny sucking insects. Add some fresh white mold to the edges of the living and dead tissue and you have a convincing dying leaf. Omiza miliaria obnubilata extends from India, Malaysia, east to Sulawesi and southeast to Ceram and New Guinea
South East Asian MothsIndia mothsThailand mothsMalaysia mothsBorneo mothsSabah mothsGeometridaeOmiza miliaria obnubilataMt. Kinabalu National Park mothsNew Guinea mothsIndonesia mothsPapua mothsdying leaf camouflageGeometer moth
Grey lichen is normally in good supply in rainforests and they mozaic-coat both wood and rock. The so-called foliose lichens bear broad wrinkled fungal flanges that cast a fine shadow at their margins. Pingasa chlora extends from the Philippines, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Moluccas to New Guinea and then south to subtropical eastern Australia
South east Asia mothsMalaysia mothsIndonesian mothsGeometridaePingasa chloraPhilippines mothsBorneo mothsSumatra mothsJava mothsSulawesi mothsMolucca mothsNew Guinea mothsPapua mothsAustralia mothsQueensland mothsgrey lichen camouflage
The genus Tanaorhinus extends from the Himalayan foothills across South east Asia to southern China and Japan, then south to the Philippines, Borneo, Malaysia, Indonesia and east to New Guinea. As far goes comparative comments relating to this genus in one of the worlds largest families of animals, I would suggest that the following common trends are present; for a living leaf camouflage practitioner with moderate fungal attack patterns then they are larger than average, the hooked forewing tips are typical for another subfamily in this giant family - just to confuse issues!
Depending on the size of the leaf and the size of the mouth that bites it and how many bites it takes will affect the final snapshot view. The wings of this geometer moth show fresh bites lacking browned edges at the hind wingtip and an older 'stained' bite at the forewing tips corner. Add a spray of sooty mould and some smaller leaf feeder radial scars and you have a design that will fool a predator more than 50% of the time. Traminda aventiaria extends from India, Thailand, China and Peninsular Malaysia to the Philippines and Borneo where it crosses the Wallace line to Sulawesi, the Moluccas and east as far as New Guinea and northern Australia
South east Asia mothsTraminda aventiariaGeometridaeIndia mothsChina mothsThailand mothsPhilippines mothsBorneo mothsSumatra mothsJava mothsSulawesi mothsMolucca mothsNew Guinea mothsNorthern Territory mothsAustralia mothsWestern Australia mothsdead leaf camouflage