Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Bogong Moths Agrotis fusa, Noctuidae

During winter their larvae, black cutworms, feed on broad-leaved plant seedlings over a wide area from southern Queensland to South Australia. In spring they migrate to the Snowy Mountains and Victorian Alps where they aestivate in caves throughout the summer, from November to Frebruary. They tended to crowd together in rock crevices and cover walls. It was at this time of year that the Aboriginal People used to congregate to feast on the roasted moths. They are also an important part of the diet of the Mountain Pygmy Possum (Burramys). Later in the year they return to their breeding grounds to reproduce.

They accumulate arsenic in their tissues from the soil their food plants grow on and this has been found to be accumulating in higher levels in the caves where they hibernate from the bodies of those that die during aestivation. There is now concern it could affect their predators such as the Mountain Pygmy Possum.


  1. Bogong Moths - The Australian Museum

Sources & Further reading

  1. Flood, Josephine, 2004, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, JB Publications.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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