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
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.
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 http://insecta.pro/taxonomy/16131. 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.
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.
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.
It is Rhescyntis hippodamia hippodamia by location and Rhescyntis hippodamia colombiana by markings