Following the lead of David Rentz at BunyipCo, I put out some fruit to lure in nocturnal frugivores. Over the past few nights, the frugivores have all been furry tree-climbers ...
... but last night, a winged fruit-eater made an appearance.
Ischyja manlia is a large noctuid moth (Noctuidae: Catocalinae) found from India through South East Asia to Queensland. PaDIL (Pests and Disease Imaging Library) lists it as an exotic. CSIRO's handy Australian Moths Online depicts several set specimens, including this one caught by Frederick Dodd.
It spoils citrus crops by piercing the fruit skin with its proboscis and sucking up the juice. Not only does this damage the fruit directly, but also opens it up to further attack by insects and moulds. This moth didn't have to work too hard for its meal. It seemed happy to share with ants.
A related genus of fruit-piercing moths, Calyptra, includes species that use their sharp-tipped proboscis to puncture the skin of mammals so they can drink blood. Other noctuids feed on tears from birds and mammals. Although unusual for moths, these are all variations on the theme of liquid feeding. Other insects — especially flies — have travelled along a similar path. Most noctuids restrict themselves to plant products. Lucky, really, because there are well over 1,000 species of them in Australia.
As far as I know, Ischyja is not a vampire moth. But I might add more garlic to the pasta, just to be on the safe side.