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Tasmanian saltmarsh looper moth

Current status

[Photo of saltmarsh(tip) moth by P. McQullan.]

The Saltmarsh looper moth (Dasybela achroa) is listed as vulnerable under Tasmania's Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. Like most of our invertebrates it does not yet appear in the schedules of the Federal Act, but this may change if it is successfully nominated.

Why is this moth a threatened species?

This moth is threatened because it has a very restricted distribution and because its habitat is not protected. This moth is endemic to Tasmania which means it has only been found here. It appears to be restricted to saline habitats although its food plant species has not yet been identified.

What do we know about this moth?

Two specimens were recorded by the entomologist Oswald Lower in 1902 and labelled as coming from Hobart. Despite surveys in this area they have not been found since 1902. Then in 1994 the Tip Action Group at Lauderdale wanted information about the proposed tip extension site. Light traps were set up and suddenly the moth was rediscovered! The tip site is a saltmarsh habitat and the adult moths feed on the saltmarsh flower's nectar. It is unlikely that the moth was found in metropolitan Hobart and the original specimens were probably mislabelled so were being searched for in the wrong places.

We need to learn more about this moth

Although there are probably some hundreds of this moth living at Lauderdale on the saltmarsh, it has not yet been recorded from other likely saltmarsh areas despite recent searches at Marion Bay and Barilla Bay. We need to identify the food plant of the caterpillar. If it relies on a plant that lives only in saltmarshes, the moth will be very limited in its distribution.

View Distribution Map