Pink Underwing Moth, southern subspecies
Phyllodes imperialis smithersi
This magnificent moth is found only in old growth montane rainforest. Mary Cairncross is one of only a few confirmed breeding habitats for the southern subspecies found between northern NSW and north-east Queensland. When at rest, the fore wings cover the hind wings, giving the appearance of a dead leaf to potential predators. The moth feeds on damaged fruit. The larvae feed on the vine Carronia multisepalea making it a very selective eater. The larvae are equally impressive. When disturbed they bend forward, stretching their skin to reveal what appears to be a pair of large, blue-black eyes and a double row of white teeth-like markings to deter would-be predators. The pink underwing moth has been found in only five locations and is listed as threatened under federal legislation.
(Illustration by Jane Thompson)
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