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Moth Genus Named for notorious Roman Emperor!!!
Subject: Moth from Japan
Location: Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
November 3, 2013 3:39 am
Dear Bugman,
Here is a photo of a beautiful moth that visited my school in Japan. It was found on November 1, 2013 in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. It is quite furry and, I’m sure you will agree, has gorgeous markings. I tried to find a match online, but was unsuccessful.
Yours in curiosity,
Signature: Shaney

Saturniid Moth

Saturniid Moth

Subject: Moth identified!
Location: Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
November 3, 2013 4:14 am
Hi Mr. Bugman,
I just submitted a moth, but with the help of a friend, I think I figured out what it was.
Saturnia jonasii (a kind of Giant Silkworm Moth)
or in Japanese
hime yama mayu
(”Hime” means ”princess”, so I think that is a fitting name for this moth!)
Sorry to have bothered you!
Signature: Shaney

Giant Silkmoth

Giant Silkmoth

Dear Shaney,
It is no bother posting your beautiful photos of
Saturnia jonasii, but we do want to consult with Bill Oehlke, a specialist in Saturniids, to see if he can confirm your identification.  We do not feel confident making the call ourselves, but we do acknowledge the resemblance to the mounted Saturnia jonasii that is pictured on the Harmony Museum site.

Bill Oehlke confirms, and provides some food for thought!!!
Saturnia (Rinaca) jonasii also known as Caligula jonasii.

Thanks Bill,
We can’t help but to wonder who would name a genus after the most notorious Emperor of Rome.  This might demand a bit more research on our part. 
The name Caligula jonasii (Butler, 1877) is used on Lepidoptera.pro and on Global Biodiversity Information Facility.  Does the genus Caligula replace the genera Saturnia and Rinaca or was it later reclassified into Saturnia?  Any information on this is greatly welcomed.

Clarification courtesy of Bill Oehlke
Daniel,
As far as I know Saturnia is the correct and most recent genus placement and (Rinaca) is a subgenus of Saturnia. Whenever you see the second name capitalized and bordered by ( ) it is a subgenus.
There are several jonasii subspecies so this one is actually Saturnia (Rinaca) jonasii jonasii
Bill

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

2 Responses to Giant Silkmoth from Japan: Caligula jonasii!!!

  1. Shaney says:

    Thank you, Mr. Bugman! Our students will be excited to read about this!

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