Subject: Butterfly or Moth?
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
December 20, 2013 9:50 pm
This thing was huge next to my daughter and its antennae looked like bright orange pipe cleaners! What is it?
This is a very bedraggled male Giant Silkworm Moth. Whenever we are presented with a photo of a Giant Silkworm Moth or Saturniid Moth that we do not recognize, we turn to the World’s Largest Saturniidae Site, a website with a private membership, to attempt an identification. We found your moth identified as the Large Eyed Emperor Moth, Gonimbrasia (Nudaurelia) macrothyris (Rothshild, 1906) Bunaea. Armed with a name, we scoured the internet for additional images we could link to, and we found images of mounted specimens of Nudaurelia macrothyris on several websites, including African Moths, Bold Systems Taxonomy Browser and Lepidoptera Barcode of Life. It is curious that this species has a common name in English, yet there is a noticeable dearth of images available online. We wonder if it is considered a rarity. We are going to copy Bill Oehlke to see if he is able to provide any additional information.
I do not think Gonimbrasia (Nudaurelia) macrothyris is rare. This particular specimen is quite dark in the forewing median area and may be a subspecies or closely related species if it is not macrothyris.
It is fairly widespread in the southern half of Africa.