At our place, the laundry is outside and downstairs underneath the house, always a creepy place to visit in the night time when you hear those mysterious rustlings in the grass and bushes around the doorway. Even during the day time it’s a foreboding place, always dark and mysterious with no window and only the gaps between the old gyprock sheets letting in cracks of light. And the naked bulb doesn’t improve the atmosphere, day or night, so a torch (or a super bright spotlight in my case!) is always required whenever doing the laundry.
Lately I noticed some movement in the shadows in the corner of the laundry and when I shone a light in the general direction, I saw a convergence of some type of moth. They were quite large and seemed a boring old brown colour and seemed to like hanging out in groups, making interesting patterns on the wall.
The next time I went down to the laundry I took my camera hoping to get a photo so I could google it and identify what type of moth they were, just out of curiosity. Imagine my surprise when the flash went off and I checked the digital image only to find not a big brown moth as I had expected, but a beautifully coloured insect. Wow!
So I took a few more pictures and then wandered back upstairs to do some research on this new find of mine and I wanted to share this magnificent moth with you all.
This marvellous creature is called a Granny’s Cloak Moth and belongs to a family of owlet moths. It is a common native species in Australia, mostly found on the east coast. You will find these moths in any dark habitat, such as caves and hollow trees as well as dark places like cupboards inside a house, sheds and garages (and also laundries!).
The caterpillar has a long, flat body with a brown coat dotted with black and white spots. The adult moths appear brown in colour, however, under the right lighting (eg flash photography) they appear to be beautiful iridescent shades of purple. The delicate wings have scalloped edges and each wing has an eye spot. Their wingspan can be up to 7.5cm (3 inches).
They eat mainly Acacia plants which is part of the wattle tree family (we have a very large wattle tree not far from the laundry) and they are usually only active at night when birds, their predators, are asleep, although they can also be bothered by bats. The moths have super sensitive hearing and are able to pick up the echolocation calls of certain bats so they can avoid being the bats next meal.
Trivia Bit – a group of moths is called an eclipse!
What’s hiding in your laundry?!