Huge moth on Lounge chair
Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 8:12 AM
Hello there, I came across this website a couple months ago when I was randomly surfing the internet. I think this is a great asset because I’ve always encountered some downright weird bugs here in the tropics. I encountered this moth early one morning after waking up. I must admit, I’m a sissy when it comes to bugs so I inched my way back inside my house without even taking my eye off the moth to ensure that it wouldn’t fly at me. lol. It was pretty big, about 5 inches across and I was amazed at how pretty it was and sort of silky looking. I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me what it is or at least offer a suggestion because I have been curious about it for a long long time. Thank you!
Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
This is a Giant Silk Moth in the family Saturniidae, and the best place to identify specimens from this family from around the world is on Bill Oehlke’s private website: The World’s Largest Saturniidae Site. Since there was no way to search the species from Trinidad, we searched Venezuela. You should know that islands around the world are notorious (that is a good thing) for having endemic species and subspecies because the longer they have no contact with their nearest relatives on the mainland, the more evolutionary changes result in distinctly different populations. This is the foundation of Charles Darwin’s studies in the Galapagos Islands. We have identified you moth as being in the genus Rhescyntis and the two species found in Venezuela are Rhescyntis hippodamia and Rhescyntis hermes. Of the two, Rhescyntis hermes is the darker moth. The subspecies Rhescyntis hippodamia norax, which is found in Central America including Panama might be the frontrunner for the proper identification. We finally located an image of Rhescyntis hippodamia on the Moths of Belize website, and this was the only image of the genus we could find that has public access. It should be noted that your photo is not of the highest quality, and this might make exact identification quite difficult. Posting your letter and image has taken us over an hour due to the research and the lethargy of our long outdated computer. We really need to buy a new computer which will facilitate faster postings and enable us to post more letters per day. We have other work to do today and this may be our only posting today.