Currently viewing the category: "Giant Silk Moths"

Subject:  Emperor moth caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Plettenberg Bay. South Africa
Date: 01/02/2020
Time: 03:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugma:  We have noticed these beautiful caterpillars at the same time each year. This year quite a few of them have “eggs” attached to them. It looks like these caterpillars die. Could this be a parasite wasp?
How you want your letter signed:  Jenny

Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillars with parasitoid Wasp Pupae

Dear Jenny,
We believe we already responded to a comment you posted to another posting on our site.  Alas, these Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillars,
Bunaea alcinoe, appear to have fallen victim to a parasitoid Wasp, probably a Braconid or Chalcid Wasp.  According to Siyabona Africa:  “The Bunaea alcinoe (common emperor) caterpillars mentioned above, had been discovered by a tiny specie of the large family of parasitoid Braconid wasps (Braconidae). The adult wasp had penetrated the live caterpillar(s) with her ovipositor and laid eggs inside the caterpillar. The eggs had hatched into larvae which fed within the caterpillar.  The larvae, on reaching full size, cut their way out of the caterpillar and formed tiny, white cocoons, within which they pupated, on the outside of the caterpillar. Within a few days the mature wasps cut their way out of the cocoons to repeat the cycle. The caterpillars, denuded of their nutrients and depending on their rate of leaf consumption, slowly shrivel and die.”

Many thanks for this detailed and interesting reply. Much appreciated.
Kind regards

Subject:  Giant silk moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Sabie, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Date: 01/03/2020
Time: 02:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this moth at a take out drive through in a small town called Sabie in the the province Mpumalanga in South Africa. Eastern part of the country. Google image search did not yield much information
How you want your letter signed:  Shirley

Giant Silk Moth: Cirina forda

Dear Shirley,
This is indeed a Giant Silk Moth in the family Saturniidae, and we believe we have correctly identified it as
Cirina forda thanks to images posted online on African Moths and on iNaturalist where it is called a Pallid Emperor Moth.

Subject:  Giant African Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Harare, Zimbabwe
Date: 12/30/2019
Time: 12:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi – found a moth in the garden on 19 Dec 2019 which sadly appeared to have died the next day. It looks like a Giant Silk Moth – previously sent in to you and identified as such. Also from Harare. I can send you a photo of the complete moth if required.
How you want your letter signed:  James Ball

Giant Silk Moth: Gonimbrasia macrothyris

Dear James,
This is indeed a Giant Silk Moth and we are confident it is
Gonimbrasia macrothyris which is pictured on Afro Moths.

Hi Daniel
Thank you very much for your prompt and informative reply. I will be sending in some other ‘bugs’ for ID.
James Ball

Subject:  Beautiful giant moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Pretoria, South Africa
Date: 10/20/2019
Time: 01:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I found this beautiful giant moth on my windowsill and was wondering where I can satisfy my curiosity on their lifespan, feeding, etc. Google doesn’t seem to have much? It looked like it was busy dying, which made me kind of sad. I love these creatures, nature really is amazing! How can I get more moths into my garden, and if they feed on the trees (which I don’t mind), does it actually damage the tree?
How you want your letter signed:  Dominique

Cabbage Emperor Moth: Bunaea alcinoe

Dear Dominique,
We believe we have  correctly identified your Giant Silk Moth or Emperor Moth as the Cabbage Emperor Moth
Bunaea alcinoe thanks to images posted to African Moths.  There does appear to be some variability in colors and markings.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your skill and effort. I’ll be looking out for these guys some more in my garden now!
Hi again Dominique,
We get many more Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillar images than we do images of adult moths.  Watch for the Caterpillars on preferred food plants.  According to African Moths:  “LARVAL FOODPLANTS 
Celtis africana, Celtis kraussiana, Bauhinia reticulata, Croton, Cussonia spicata, Ekebergia ruepellii, Ekebergia mayeri, Gymnospora senegalensis, Khaya anthotheca, Khaya grandifolia, Harpephyllum caffrum, Terminalia catappa, Maesa lanceolata, Sapium ellipticum, Persea americana, Anthocleista schweinfurthii, Piper umbellatum, Schinus molle, Crossopteryx febrifuga, Dacryodes edulis, Mangifera indica, Acacia auriculiformis, Sarcocephalus latifolius.”  Numerous food plants probably contribute to extensive range, which is according to African Moths:  “Angola, Benin, Burkina Fasso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, DRCongo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.”

Subject:  Polyphemus
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida
Date: 10/06/2019
Time: 01:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this almost becoming prey to a bird when I came outside. Luckily I scared the bird off but the moth was struggling to get up. I put the dog inside and came back out to find it waddling up the tree to safety. Can you tell if it’s a female, pregnant, or going to be ok? Is there anything I can do?
How you want your letter signed:  Concerned neighbor

Female Polyphemus Moth

Dear Concerned neighborh,
This is indeed a Polyphemus Moth and she is a female moth.  Since all Giant Silkmoths, including the Polyphemus, do not feed as adults, they only have a few days to mate and produce a new generation, so virtually all female Polyphemus Moths are “pregnant”.  You should let nature takes its course, but your kind actions in rescuing this individual from a bird has earned you the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Subject:  Pink Moth with Fuzzy Red Head
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida
Date: 09/15/2019
Time: 04:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found a moth with beautiful pink wings. It’s fuzzy head was a dark red with the color transitioning into the wings. Fuzzy thick arms and on its underside it was brown. It’s currently September in Central Florida. It was sitting on a window at a pharmacy.
How you want your letter signed:  🙂

Female Io Moth

Dear :),
This is a female Io Moth, but her most distinguishing physical feature is not apparent in your image.  Both female and male Io Moth have striking eyespot markings on the underwings that are hidden when the moth is at rest.  Once startled, the moth reveals the underwings, potentially frightening a predator into perceiving that it has wakened a sleeping giant that could turn around and eat the predator.  This illusion is protective mimicry.  We suspect this individual was attracted by the pharmacy lights and then decided to stay and rest during the day until the following night.