ANSWER: This wasn’t easy – but this large and beautiful moth was from Australia and is in the family Xyloryctidae (Philarista sp.). We have a handful of representatives of this group here in the US and Ted MacRae over on Beetles in the Bush has a few great photographs of them. Somehow I think we got the short end of the stick because this family reaches the peak of its staggering diversity in Australia. It’s amazing to me that this animal is related to the tiny grey flower moths we have!
Jim Hayden was closest with the guess of an Australian Oecophorid – which I have photographed for next week.
If you’re interested in learning more about this family go check out the Xyloryctine Moths of Australia blog!
This week I’m going to make the moth into a challenge. Who can tell me what family this is? Any takers on genus/species? My only hint is that this is a pretty hefty sized moth measuring in at over 53mm and it’s from the California Academy collections.