Subject: Bug in a hut and some sort of sphinx moth
Location: Nkhotakota, Malawi, Africa
September 14, 2012 10:34 pm
Well, since you folks were so great about getting that sun spider identified, I have two more mystery insects for you, from my sister in the Peace Corps in Malawi.
The first one we assume is some sort of (gorgeous) sphinx moth.
The second one she says she sees everywhere, and can never seem to get to hatch out to its final stage, whatever that may be. 500 kwacha have been offered to whoever can identify it.
Several months ago, more to amuse our editorial staff than for any other reason, we ran a contest to find the loveliest insect accessory photo, and though this photo of a Giant Silk Moth (not a Sphinx Moth) has arrived considerably later, it is by far the comeliest insect accessory photo we have ever received. We searched through species on the World’s Largest Saturniidae website and we have identified this moth as a member of the genus Gonimbrasia, probably Gonimbrasia dione. The photos on Encyclopedia of Life tend to support that identification, but we will copy Bill Oehlke on our response to see if he is able to verify that identification. The other insect is a Bagworm, and we have no idea what 500 kwacha might be, but we are thrilled to claim the prize. Bagworms are caterpillars in the family Psychidae that create a protective habitat from the plants upon which they feed. Bagworms spend their entire caterpillar period within the bag which they enlarge over time to accommodate their growth, and they eventually pupate within the bag.
Congratulations, you won $1.50! Thanks, folks, I love this website.
Correction courtesy of Bill Oehlke:
The very clear basal area of forewing is more suggestive, to me, of Gonimbrasia rectilinea
Large hindwing ocellus is also more typical of rectilinear
See note above to Daniel. Nice photo. Is it possible to send me a larger version of image for my Saturniidae data base?
We always appreciate your assistance.
We are so excited about our prize. We would greatly appreciate if you are able to send the photo to Bill Oehlke who runs a wonderful website that we use for reference all the time. Many species of Giant Silk Moths are only represented online by mounted specimens, so individuals photographed in the wild are always appreciated.
Update: We got 500 Kwacha!!!!!
October 26, 2012
We were surprised to find an hand addressed envelope from Colorado in our mailbox amidst the political propaganda, and upon opening it, we found a lovely thank you note with our 500 Kwacha. What a wonderful way to end a long and difficult day.