We expect insects to appear earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

We expect moths to alter their activity patterns due to climate change warming the Earth and altering precipitation regimes.

Click on the images below to learn more about the species, their phenophase behaviours, and how to identify them, so you can contribute your ClimateWatch observations.

The Atlas Moth is a very large, iconic insect with a wingspan of approximately 17cm. It is rusty-brown in colour, with a double white band and a large white spot on each wing. Eggs are white and almost spherical, each laid singly on a leaf. Caterpillars can be white to green, 10cm or longer, with floppy spines.
It is likely that by all emerging at the same time of year, cicadas can increase their chances of survival by overwhelming predators with their huge numbers. This means that at least some of the cicadas survive to lay eggs, ensuring the survival of the species. A green, stout body with opaque green, leaf-like wings and pink-brown eyes with two pairs of wings that are strengthened with veins. Its antennae are small and bristle-like. The male has a greatly enlarged hollow bladder. Size Female 3 – 3.5 cm long, Male 4.5 – 5 cm long; Wings 4 – 5 cm long.
Baby bugs (nymphs) are initially bright green as are the eggs from which they hatch, before turning orange-red with a black dot on their back. An adult is bronzy-black with a broad thick body and a triangular back plate. Its head is small in relation to the rest of its body and it has orange antennae and leg joints. Size Eggs are about 2.5 mm in diameter; adults are about 2.5 cm long.
The caterpillar (larva) is initially pale yellow with fine hairs, before turning green. It has narrow yellow lines on its body which are sometimes hard to see. The upper side of the butterfly (adult) is white with a black tip on its forewing (front wing) and a black patch on the front edge of its hindwing. A male has one black spot on its forewing, while a female has two black spots. Looking from underneath, the forewing is white with two black spots and the hindwing is yellow. Size Caterpillar about 3.5 cm; Butterfly up to 5 cm wingspan.
The caterpillar (larva) is initially a pale yellow-grey, before turning green with long black hairs along its body. Its head is brown-black with short hairs. The female butterfly (adult) is orange with creamy yellow and dark brown patches towards the tip of its forewings (front wings). The male is less colourful, being brown and orange with no pale patches. It also has an obvious raised vein in the middle of its forewing. Both males and females have a small eye-spot on each wing. The undersides of the wings in both the male and female are paler with faint markings, and their hindwings have very few markings. The female’s hindwing is darker then its forewing. It is difficult to identify these butterflies when they are resting with their wings closed. The males emerge quite a while earlier in the year before the females. Size Caterpillar about 3.5 cm long; Butterfly wingspan 5.5 – 7.5 cm (females are larger than males).
The caterpillar (larva) is initially dark in colour with broad yellow-orange bands running across its body, and two rows of black spines running down its back. Its head is black and smooth. As it matures its body becomes blue-black. Just before becoming a pupa it turns dark green with orange-yellow blotches on its back and some small scattered pale blue-and-white spots. The butterfly (adult) has black wings covered with white-grey patches, and red-and-blue patches on its hindwing. The back edge of its hindwing is scalloped and the tip of its body is yellow. Size Caterpillar up to 4 cm long; Butterfly wingspan about 7 cm.
Bright yellow and black bands across its abdomen, with a pair of black spots and a black triangle on each yellow band. It has yellow legs, black antennae and two pairs of transparent wings. Nests are commonly built underground with only their small entrance holes visible, which are about 2 - 3 cm across. Size 1.2 – 1.5 cm long (worker); 2 cm long (queen)
A beetle with a shiny black back and head with bright yellow-green markings, and dark brown to black legs. Distinctive feature Violin-shaped markings on its back (after which it is named). Size About 2 cm
The male has dark brown forewings (front wings) with pale grey scales, and bronzy-brown hindwings with dark brown patches. The undersides of both wings are pale grey and black. The female has bright orange hindwings with black spots near the edge, while its forewings are similar to the male’s but more grey than brown. The underside of all its wings is white with small black spots near the edge. Both sexes have green eyes. Distinctive feature Its antennae are clubbed, with a knob at the end. Size Male wingspan 3.4 cm, female wingspan 3.1 cm.
The Honey Bee's head, upper body and legs are black, and its hairy abdomen is striped black and brown (or yellow/orange). It is pale when it first emerges from the nest, but soon develops a darker colouring. Size 1.2 – 1.6 cm long (Queen bee is slightly longer)
Leaf Beetles are also known as Pittosporum Beetles or Bursaria Beetles, after their host species. The beetles have a bright red head and pronotum with an entirely blue or green body. The larvae have a brown head with six distinct black eye spots on each side. Pale underside, dark upperside with dark spines. They are aposemtatic, meaning they are posionous to visual predators. Be very careful if handling them. Size 0.6 - 1.4 cm long; body narrow and flat. Length to width ratio ranges from 2:1 to 2.5:1. Length to height ratio is 3.5:1.
Predominantly pale tawny-orange with a heavy black border that encloses large white spots in the forewing. The inner leading edge of the forewing is deep red-brown. The underside is similar to the upper side but paler with narrower black margins. Males have a distinct patch of dark grey sex-scales on the upper side of the hindwing. The caterpillars have three pairs of tentacles and yellow, white and black rings. Size 7 - 8 cm wingspan.
The caterpillar (larva) is green with a hump on its upper back and small white dots over its body. The butterfly (adult) has brown or black outer wings with some white markings plus two green blotches, and green inner wings (closest to its body). The underside of each wing has the same patterning but the green parts tend to be darker. It has “tails” at the tip of each hindwing. There are two recognised subspecies Graphium macleayanus macleayanus from Queensland and NSW, and Graphium macleayanus moggana from Tasmania, Victoria and parts of subalpine NSW. Size Caterpillar 4 cm long; Butterfly wingspan 5 – 6 cm (can reach up to 8 cm).
The caterpillar (larva) is initially green, white and brown and resembles bird droppings. A mature caterpillar has a dark brown head, a green body with some pale yellow and brown markings, and spines along its back. The male butterfly (adult) is black with an arc of creamy-white spots near the tip of each forewing. Each hindwing has a creamy-white patch and a single red spot, and there are many red crescents on its underside. The female butterfly is brown to black, and the outer half of its forewing is whitish-grey. Its hindwing has a creamy-white patch, as well as a series of blue and red crescent-shaped markings. Size Caterpillar up to 6 cm long; Butterflies 10 – 12 cm wingspan.