Rare moth under threat in Canberra
A mysterious moth so rare that it does not even have a common name has been making headlines in Canberra. Synemon plana is a brown, orange and black moth with a wingspan of about 3.5 centimetres. Neither males nor females have functional mouthparts, and do not feed or drink as adults: they emerge from pupae ready to mate, lay their eggs and die within 24 to 48 hours. The species has only one real breeding site - the RAN communications station at Belconnen, in Canberra's western suburbs. The naval station has been well maintained by the RAN with limited public access, high mowing and light grazing by sheep, providing ideal conditions for the moth and for the plant community on which it depends.