Currently viewing the category: "Giant Silk Moths"
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Subject: Giant Moth of the of Peruvian Cloud Forest
Location: Cloud Forest – Manu Park, Peru
December 24, 2015 9:46 am
This Massive moth flew into our cabin in the Cloud Forest of Peru ( we stayed 1/2 way down the the road to Manu). I thought it was a large bat at first, and took this picture. I believe they were 1 inch slats, but this picture was taken several years ago (2007 I think), and it could be 1/2 inch slats at the minimum.
Can someone tell me anything about this moth, the species, range. Unfortunately it’s the only picture of this moth I took ( as I was horrified by the thing). Now I see that it rivals the worlds largest moth. I think it was well over a foot and had of wing span of more like 14-17 inches..
Signature: Wendy B

Giant Silkmoth: Arsenura rebeli

Giant Silkmoth: Rhescyntis hippodamia

Dear Wendy,
We were out of the office for two weeks when you wrote, and we are catching up on unanswered mail, but since you waited 8 years to write to us for an ID, we gather you were not in a big rush to learn your moth’s identity.  Though the camera angle makes seeing the details of the wings rather difficult, we believe we have correctly identified your moth as
Arsenura rebeli, and you can compare your image to these images on Colombian Insects.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to verify the ID, and he may request permission to post your image to his site.

Hello Daniel,
Thank you very much for your email.  I hope that you had a nice holiday, that is if you were on holiday.   Yes, I guess I was not in much of a hurry to identify the moth.   It is funny as I was actually horrified that it flew into our room.  I’m scared of moths ( which I recognize as ridiculous, as they are harmless, and I’m fine with spiders and snakes)….  But I digress, but I think that is why I’ve not bothered with trying to identifying it until now.    I finally thought it would be nice to know what it was, and because it was such a large creature. I’d never seen a moth or butterfly close to that big.  I thought a bat had flown into the room.   (And then I wish a bat had flown into the room).
I received the email quoted below from Adrian Hoskins.  Given the colour and markings, I think he may be correct that it was a Rhescyntis pseudomartii  Check it out and see what you think.    I really appreciate you spending time at this.
I will be interested in  Mr. Oehlke’s assessment.  He may, of course, use the photograph(s) for his website if he chooses to.
From Adrian:
Hi Wendy
That is an impressive species. I’ve never seen it myself but I’ve come across closely related species occasionally.
It is Rhescyntis pseudomartii, or possiblyRhescyntis hippodamia (Saturniidae, subfamily Arsenurinae). They may actually be different forms or subspecies of the same taxon.
Females can measure up to about 170mm across the wings, comparing quite well with the Giant Atlas Attacus atlas, which measure about 250mm across.
Best regards

Hi Wendy,
That actually does look like a better match.  I don’t believe
R. pseudomartii ranges in Peru, but R. hippodamia does.  I will wait until Bill Oehlke writes back.

Bill Oehlke provides the identification.
HI Daniel.
It is  Rhescyntis hippodamia hippodamia by location and  Rhescyntis hippodamia colombiana by markings

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Subject: More moths
Location: USA River, Arusha, Tanzania
January 13, 2016 2:25 pm
And another moth from us here in Arusha. He big too…
Signature: The Wood family

Giant Silkmoth: Epiphora mythimnia

Giant Silkmoth: Epiphora leae

Dear Wood Family,
This is another Giant Silk Moth in the family Saturniidae.  We believe we have correctly identified it as
Epiphora mythimnia thanks to the Bizland site, but since there are quite a few member of the genus listed in Tanzania, we will contact Bill Oehlke to confirm the ID.  Again, we suspect he may want to post the image to his site and we hope you grant permission.  Are the two moth images you submitted recent sightings?

Bill Oehlke provides a correction.
The Bunaea is alcinoe.
The Epiphora is either leae or vicina. If you can get elevation in meters above sea levelthat should help with id.

I did some research online on Arusha, and the area seems consistently above 1000m, so I am confident it is Epiphora leae which flies at higher eleveation than does vicina. I put the image on the leae page and it seems a very good match. Later today I will be sending Graeme Davis access to the site in way of a gift membership. Quite a coincidence that his moth turned out to be Coloradia pandora davisi.
Thanks for your continued support with image notifications.
It is one of the newer species and I still have to update Tanzania list.
Bill Oehlke

Hello Daniel
Yes both sightings recent. The Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth was yesterday morning, while the Giant Silkmoth was about a month ago or so I think but I’d have to check.
Of course Mr Oehlke can post either or both images to his site, with our pleasure. …
Hannah (of the Wood Family)


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Subject: Big moth
Location: USA River, Arusha, Tanzania
January 13, 2016 2:20 pm
Hey we live in Arusha northern Tanzania and saw this huge moth this morning. That’s my thumb for scale. What is it Please?
Signature: Thanks from the Wood family

Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth

Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth

Dear Wood Family,
This is a Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth,
Bunaea alcinoe, though we cannot say for certain which subspecies.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide the subspecies.  We suspect he may request permission to post your image to his site and we hope you grant the permission.  We get many more requests to identify the caterpillars of the Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth.

Hello Daniel
Yes both sightings recent. The Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth was yesterday morning, while the Giant Silkmoth was about a month ago or so I think but I’d have to check.
Of course Mr Oehlke can post either or both images to his site, with our pleasure.

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Subject: HawkMoth
Location: San Sebastian, Mexico
January 4, 2016 2:54 pm
Found this moth I assume to be a Hawkmoth on 3/12/15 in San Sebastian in Mexico, West Coast. Have looked verywhere to see what it might be but have not ofund out what it is. Do you have any ideas? It opened its wings wide when startled to reveal the read underneath
Signature: Graeme

Royal Moth

Pine Moth

Dear Graeme,
This is not a Hawkmoth.  We believe it is a Royal Moth in the subfamily Ceratocampinae because it so closely resembles the Hubbard’s Silkmoth,
Sphingicampa hubbardi, which is pictured on BugGuide.  We did not have any luck finding an identification, so we are going to copy Bill Oehlke to see if he is able to provide an identification.  When he assists us with unusual identifications, Bill often requests permission to post images on his own site.  We hope you will allow that.

Royal Moth

Pine Moth

HI Daniel,
It is one of the Coloradia, probably Coloradia jaliscensis.
Please see if I have permission to post these images. Very nice!
Bill Oehlke

Hi Daniel,
Thank you very much for you response. Its great to finally know what it is that I saw. No wonder I could not find it looing at Hawk-moths.
Please tell Bill that he can use my images. Could I have a link to Bill’s site?
Many thanks

Update from Bill Oehlke
Hi Daniel,
Thanks for getting back to me.
When I placed the images provided by Graeme on my jaliscensis page, I could see that it is not a good match. It is much closer to the
Coloradia pandora subspecies group, based on hindwing markings, shape of am line and distance of pm line from the outer margin.
Three Pandora subspecies are currently recognized: nominate Coloradia pandora pandora, C. pandora lindseyi and C. Pandora davisi with davisi having the furthest southern  range into Mexico, but so far known only as far south as Durango. I will post the two images to my Coloradia pandora davisi page. I feel the moth is either subspecies davisi or an undescribed subspecies of Coloradia pandora.  So far the only Coloradia species recognized from Jalisco is jaliscensis, but it clearly is not that species. It could be something new or just representative of a range extensive further south in western Mexico.

If you have Graeme’s last name, please forward that to me so I can properly credit the images.

Once I have the two images on the davisi page I will copy and paste that page to you in an email which you can forward to Graeme. If that does not work I will make a copy of the page available to Graeme on line and will send you the link.

Thanks Bill.

PS. Please also forward this response to Graeme. If he is interested in moths, I would like to have more correspondence with him. If he just had a chance encounter with this moth, then he will probably just be happy to know what it is or at least have a best guess at what it is.

Graeme responds to Bill
Thank you very much for the identification of this moth and the information you have pulled for it. Very glad I found it now. I will read up in detail in this particular species.
My Surname as it happens is very apt for the find as it is Davis. What are the chances?
And yes I do have an interest in Moths. I survey Moths in the UK for Butterfly Conservation. However I am pretty much always on survey mode, and have photographed a few moths in Costa Rica and Mexico. Many that I have tentatively identified, and others I do not even know where to start with. My other half is from the States and as such I get to travel there a bit too, but always try to get a trip further South.
Do you have a link for your website? I’d love to see what other finds you have.

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Subject: Royal Moth?
Location: Panama, Central America
December 17, 2015 9:37 pm
Can you identify this moth., about 4″ wing span. In Boquete Panama, elev 4500’… Tropical cloud forest. Thx!
Signature: Curious clare

Automeris hamata

Automeris hamata

Dear Curious Clare,
This is not a Royal Moth, but a Giant Silkmoth in the subfamily Hemileucinae, known as the Buck and Io Moth family in North America.  We believe we have correctly identified your moth as
Automeris hamata on the World’s Largest Saturniidae Site, a member’s only site, and it is also pictured on the Fauna of Paraguay site.  Many members of the genus have pronounced eyespots on the underwings that are hidden when the moth is at rest, but revealed if the moth is disturbed by a predator.  A bird thinking it might be about to eat a tasty moth would be surprised into perceiving a potentially larger predator with enormous eyes, providing a defense mechanism for the moth.  We will check with Bill Oehlke to verify our identification as there are many similar looking members of the genus. We suspect Bill may request permission to post your images on his site as well, and we hope you provide that permission.

Automeris hamata

Automeris hamata

Yes, that is hamata.
Thanks for thinking of me. Would be great to get the date.

Daniel, thank you! This is so cool to have a resource such as yours ….I scanned and scanned sites but could find no exact match so thanks again. Of course, Bill may use the photos …no credit necessary.
Happy Holidays!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Zimbabwean Moth
Location: Africa, Zimbabwe
December 15, 2015 8:15 am
hello bugman
cannot identify this beautiful specimen we found today in harare, zimbabwe…
thank you for helping my 6 year old son distinguish it!
Signature: Cool Bug man

Giant Silk Moth

Giant Silk Moth:  Gonimbrasia macrothyris

Dear Vivienne,
We believe we have correctly identified your Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae as
Gonimbrasia (Nudaurelia) macrothyris on the member’s only World’s Largest Saturniidae Site and we then researched that name and located a beautiful image on Todd Amacker’s Favorite FlickR Photos.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to verify the identification and we suspect he may request permission to post your image on his site as well.

Thank you so much Daniel!  Happy to share image… you can see true ‘size’ when there’s a reference, even if it is a 6 year olds hand!

Bill Oehlke Responds
Hi Daniel,
It is either macrothyris or something undescribed but very closely related.
Please see if you can get a date and more precise location and permission for me to post with credit to photographer. I would need photographer’s name to credit image properly.

I’m the Photographer, is hand of A 6 year old not an adult 😊 would love if they use my image!!
Exact location, umwinsidale, Harare, Zimbabwe – taken yesterday 15th December
Thank u again for all your help
Vivienne Croisette

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination