Giant Silkmoth from Ecuador: Caio harrietae

Subject:  Large moth on the coast of Ecuador (2/20/2019)
Geographic location of the bug:  Manabi Province, Ecuador (Santa Marianita)
Date: 02/20/2019
Time: 02:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman, thanks for all the resources you’ve provided on your website! I live at sea level, (actually a 2 minute walk to the beach) and after the rains I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of giant moths are taking over. On my own I just can’t seem to pin it down (I checked a taxonomy website and the only other google search like them is an captioned stock photo.
They’re all around the same size, maybe varying by an half an inch or so and come in various shades of brown to silvery gray, with what look like shaggy fur on the backs, shared features being the sort of half-moon markings and band across the bottom from what I an tell.
Here’s some photos (one with a standard usd quarter next to it) and I’ll try and answer anything if you need more info!
How you want your letter signed:  Ada

Giant Silkmoth

Dear Ada,
This is a Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae.  Members of this family do not feed as adults, so they only live about a week, long enough to mate and reproduce.  We believe your individual might be in the genus
Arsenura, which is well represented on Bold Systems.  There are several species from the genus found in Ecuador.  We will attempt to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a species identification.

Giant Silkmoth

Bill Oehlke Responds
Hi Daniel,
This is a Caio species, either harrietae or championi.
It is quite dark in either case, but that might just be the lighting. I favour harrietae.
Please see if I have permission to post to website as harrietae? And check to see if photographer wants to be credited?
Thanks for thinking of me.
Bill Oehlke

Hi, thank you so much for getting back to me!
The pictures were all taken in late morning (11am) in indirect (overcast), I agree, they look unusually dark but the pictures are as accurate as they appear in real life as far as color goes, I would agree that the one was unusually dark in color.

Of course you can use the pictures, I after looking around I would agree just on at a glance that it belongs as harrietae.
They’re amazingly beautiful (and as big as a bat!), usually I only see the wings on the sidewalk, to see alive specimens during the day was very awesome.

Leave a Comment