Community,

Known to everyone involved in local tree-planting programs, the fall rubber moth caterpillars are blue-green, fleshy, and hairless, with fine black, red, and cream-colored markings. The most noticeable markings are two small cream-colored spots on a hump on the back. These caterpillars are usually less than 25 mm long. Last weekend we were busy removing hundreds of these caterpillars from a young mixed native plantation where they had only damaged shiny gums. These rubber trees have the typical soft bluish youth leaves preferred by the autumn rubber moth. Some of the young trees had only leaf trunks left, apart from the folded and sealed leaf shelters that the caterpillars formed at the tips of the branches. The tiny, newly hatched caterpillars initially only eat the leaf surface and leave behind the skeleton. As they get bigger, they use up everything but the middle stem, then the whole leaf. They bind the leaves together to hide them when they get bigger. Several of them are often found together in their folded leafy shelters. Like clustered black sawfly maggots (“spitfires”), caterpillars of the autumn rubber moth rest during the day and eat at night. Whole young trees can sometimes be defoliated, but they usually recover even though they were a year old in growth. Some trees are attacked for a second year. Selected tree species are mostly those with fragrant, soft, blue-green young leaves. The autumn gum moth seems to feed almost exclusively on planted eucalyptus trees, but it is undoubtedly unnoticed in native forests. It’s a native insect. The caterpillars are considered an extremely destructive source of food on juvenile leaves in blue gum plantations under four years of age. The adult moth is unknown, which may suggest that a relatively small number of caterpillars have fully grown. It is speckled brown with a wingspan of 35-40 mm. Its hind wings are dull orange. A new state government list of rare Victorian plants and animals includes many species found in Ballarat. Some of the critically endangered birds include the curlew, swift, and black hawk, while the critically endangered plants include the pale perpetual swamp (Coronidium gunnianum) found in Mullawalah Wetlands, Miners Rest and other places, the yarra gum ( widespread here, but rarely in large populations), the Plains species of the Murnong or Yam daisy and the cut-leaf daisy known from Clunes and Skipton. These and many more are included in the current list of threatened animal and plant species. We saw this great red and black spider in the Little Desert in June, did we also have it in Ballarat? AA, Allendale. This is a male red and black spider. There are two similar species, with this one likely Ambicodamus crinitus. It occurs here as well as in the Wimmera and is not uncommon. This is not a large spider, with females around 12mm long while males are closer to 10mm. Yours has an oversized red head and body section and an undersized black belly. Most are better proportioned. It could be confused with the male mouse spider, but it’s not that big, fat, or hairy. In addition, its red head is lighter and broader, and its slender red legs have black tips. Despite its bright red “warning” color, its bite is considered harmless to us.

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Known to everyone involved in local tree-planting programs, the fall rubber moth caterpillars are blue-green, fleshy, and hairless, with fine black, red, and cream-colored markings.

The most noticeable markings are two small cream-colored spots on a hump on the back. These caterpillars are usually less than 25 mm long.

Last weekend we were busy removing hundreds of these caterpillars from a young mixed native plantation where they had only damaged shiny gums.

These rubber trees have the typical soft bluish youth leaves preferred by the autumn rubber moth.

Some of the young trees had only leaf trunks left, apart from the folded and sealed leaf shelters that the caterpillars formed at the tips of the branches.

The tiny, newly hatched caterpillars initially only eat the leaf surface and leave behind the skeleton.

As they get bigger, they use up everything but the middle stem, then the whole leaf. They bind the leaves together to hide them when they get bigger.

Several of them are often found together in their folded huts

Like bundled black sawfly maggots (“spitfires”), the caterpillars of the autumn rubber moth rest during the day and eat at night.

Whole young trees can sometimes be defoliated, but they usually recover even though they were a year old in growth.

Some trees are attacked for a second year.

Selected tree species are mostly those with fragrant, soft, blue-green young leaves.

The autumn gum moth seems to feed almost exclusively on planted eucalyptus trees, but it is undoubtedly unnoticed in native forests. It’s a native insect.

The caterpillars are considered an extremely destructive source of food on juvenile leaves in blue gum plantations under four years of age.

The adult moth is unknown, which may suggest that a relatively small number of caterpillars have fully grown.

It is speckled brown with a wingspan of 35-40 mm. Its hind wings are dull orange.

A new state government list of rare Victorian plants and animals includes many species found in Ballarat.

Some of the critically endangered birds include the curlew, swift, and black hawk, while the critically endangered plants include the pale perpetual swamp (Coronidium gunnianum) found in Mullawalah Wetlands, Miners Rest and other places, the yarra gum ( widespread here, but rarely in large populations), the Plains species of the Murnong or Yam daisy and the cut-leaf daisy known from Clunes and Skipton.

These and many more are included in the current list of threatened animal and plant species.

We saw this great red and black spider in the Little Desert in June, did we also have it in Ballarat?

This is a male red and black spider.

There are two similar species, with this one likely Ambicodamus crinitus.

It occurs here as well as in the Wimmera and is not uncommon.

This is not a large spider, with females around 12mm long while males are closer to 10mm.

Yours has an oversized red head and body section and an undersized black belly.

Most are better proportioned.

It could be confused with the male mouse spider, but it’s not that big, fat, or hairy.

In addition, its red head is lighter and broader, and its slender red legs have black tips.

Despite its bright red “warning” color, its bite is considered harmless to us.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Email to [email protected] or to Roger Thomas, The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353.