Protecting the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth

Published on 10 September 2021

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Council has taken action to protect the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth at HP Barr Reserve in Wangaratta. The moth was photographed by a local resident at HP Barr Reserve in December 2020. It was later identified as the Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana), which is listed as critically endangered under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Council has installed flagging tape to restrict vehicle access to the area until a survey can be completed in late October to early January to confirm the presence of the moth and the extent of its habitat. Under the EPBC Act, all proposed works to be undertaken at HP Barr Reserve will require an assessment to ensure there will be no significant impact to the moth or habitat.

“Identifying a rare, endangered Golden Sun Moth in one of our reserves is extremely exciting and now we need to take steps to ensure it is protected," said Council’s Natural Resource Management & Sustainability Coordinator Tina Whatley. “We’re asking the community to take notice of the restricted area so we can protect the potential habitat and conduct further studies."

Golden Sun Moth Facts

  • The Golden Sun Moth is a medium-sized day flying moth with two discrete life stages (larval stage and the adult stage).
  • They only fly in the brightest part of the day, from around 10am to 2pm.
  • The adults are generally dull-coloured; females have brighter hind wings.
  • They have extremely short lives as a moth, typically lasting only one to four days.
  • The Golden Sun Moth has been recorded in native grasslands and grassy woodlands, which contain wallaby grass, spear grass as well as degraded grasslands dominated by Chilean needlegrass.
  • Most populations are now extinct except for a handful in north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales.
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