The Four O’clock Moth is a wonderfully bright moth found around Cairns. Dysphania numana has distinctive yellow and purple-black colouring. This one was spotted resting on clothes drying outside on a washing line.
Named the 4 O’clock Moth (or Four O’clock Moth), these are often spotted late in the day. Don’t set your alarm for 4pm though – they don’t run to schedule!
More photos of Dysphania numana from previous years show one resting on the brickwork in the sun, and another taken of one on the front of a car. Clearly they’re not too fussy about where they rest.
If you’re looking to identify moths around Far North Queensland, here are a couple of sites to begin your search:
Australian Moths Online is a dataset shared by CSIRO, and contains images of some of the half of Australia’s 22000 moth species! Whilst this is a good resource, it does require knowledge of the scientific name to start to narrow down a search, otherwise you’ll find yourself blindly clicking through pages and pages of moths.
The link above is the dataset site. The parent CSIRO information page is here.
The site I found the common name for this moth on was Destination Daintree’s Insects page.
From here, I was able to find out the scientific name through a Google Search, and this led me to iNaturalist’s Four oÇlock Moth page which had the interesting piece of information that told me there had been a “Taxonomic Swap”. Reference to this swap indicates the Four O’clock Moth was previously referred to as Dysphania fenestrata (Cramer, 1779). Dysphania numana appears to be a senior synonym of Dysphania fenestrata (Swainson, 1833). Leong et al 2009.