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Mount Buffalo National Park - Minjambuta, Moths and Migration
Minjambuta, Moths and Migration

The Minjambuta are believed to be the Aboriginal people who regularly visited the Mount Buffalo Plateau. In the winter, the Minjambuta lived in the warmer valleys, below the snowline. Then, in the early summer they would being their annual journey up into the high country, to feast on the abundant Bogong Moth. It was a time for feasting, ceremony and socialising.

The Bogong Moth (Agrotis infusa) begins life as caterpillars (also known as cutworms), feeding on the winter plains west of the Great Dividing Range (inland NSW and Queensland). The summer high temperatures make the plains unfavourable for the Bogongs, so the adult moths emerge in spring to begin their migration to the cooler high country of the Great Dividing Range (usually above 1,700 metres) where they congregate in caves around the area of Mount Bogong in the Bogong National Park. Over the summer period (November to February), the adults remain congregated in the rock crevices in massive numbers, remaining dormant, whilst living off their fat reserves. The approach of winter, sees them migrate north to mate, lay their eggs, and then die, ending their annual cycle. The eggs then pupate in a cocoon in their burrow beneath the soil, with the adults emerging about four weeks later.

The Horn (1,723 m) is the highest point of Mount Buffalo and during these migration periods, the Bogong Moth can be seen in their millions. As you climb to the summit, contemplate both the Minjambuta’s journeys and the Bogong Moth’s migration to this unique place.

Mount Buffalo National Park - Flora and Fauna

The severe climate and exposure of the plateau limits the distribution and activity of the native fauna. Wildlife in the alpine environment have to contend with long cold winters, when the availability of food and the temperatures are low, and the ground is covered in snow. Several smaller mammals such as the Dusky Antechinus and Bush Rat, survive the winter by living under the mantle of snow, scurry around along runways under the snow. Wombats have been seen bulldozing snow out of the way, to feed on grasses below. On the lower slopes of the mountain can be found the Swamp Wallaby and Echidna. Whilst at night Wombats, Eastern Pygmy Possums, and Ringtail Possums come out to forage for food, and Greater and Yellow Bellied Gliders are common in taller forests.

Most birds leave the mountain for winter, although currawongs and ravens stay, as can be commonly seen at Mount Buffalo. There have been approximately 130 species of bird recorded in the Mount Buffalo National Park include the Crimson Rosellas, Gang Gang Cockatoos, Lyrebirds, Flame Robins, Honeyeaters and Kookaburras. Black Ducks have been recorded at Lake Catani, returning each spring to mate and raise their young.

Mount Buffalo National Park FloraDuring summer, snakes and lizards can be seen basking in the sun on rocky outcrops. Others like the Spotted Tree Frog are rare or threatened.

Summer is also the time when the Bogong Moth migrate from the north, looking for cracks and crevices in the granite from which to seek refuge from the summer heat and predators. Sunset at the Horn is when you can see huge numbers of moths flying out of the cracks in the granite.

The plants of the high country range from the tall montane forest, snow gum woodland through to the alpine environment where trees are unable to exist. Within this region exists plants that are unique to the area and found nowhere else.

Source: Information from Parks Victoria signage

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