Native Hawkmoth outbreak, North West Island

Category:
Announcement
Applies:
12 April to 31 May 2022
Published:
13 April 2022 1:34pm
ID:
21856

This alert applies to the following park:

North West Island is experiencing an outbreak of native hawkmoth Hippotion velox. The Island will be impacted by the defoliation of the Pisonia trees decreasing shade and dropping of hawkmoth larvae. If you are planning to camp at North West Island at this time you may wish to consider an extra tarp to prevent hawkmoth caterpillars dropping onto your gear and for shade.

Defoliation from the Australian native hawkmoth is a common occurrence in the Capricornia Cays National Park. Outbreaks can occur following periods of rapid growth ‘flushes’. Conditions suitable for an outbreak are often long periods of low rainfall followed by good rains, usually combined with seabird nesting season when there is a spike in nutrients (guano) on the island. The Pisonia forests do recover quickly from the defoliation with no long–term effects. Native Hawkmoths are a substantial and maybe even important factor in nutrient cycling, increasing turnover rates of the high nutrient environment. QPWS tracks the occurrence of these outbreaks under the QPWS pest management system.

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