Ed. Note: Please submit images of Tropical Swallowtail Moths using our Ask What’s That Bug? link.
Subject: What’s that moth?
May 18, 2014 10:54 pm
Three of the same variety of moths flew into my house on the 16th floor last night at 9pm. I live in Singapore (South East Asia). It’s large, about 21cm wide. While I have had moths visiting before, I’ve never had three visitors of the same kind, especially since I live in a very densely populated housing area. Does this particular species travel in groups? The photos I have attached are pictures of the same moth from different angles.
This Tropical Swallowtail Moth, Lyssa zampa, is a species found throughout Southeast Asia. According to Habitat News which last reported significant sightings in 2010: “In May 2005, Singapore witnessed the widespread occurrence of adult Lyssa zampa, the large, nocturnal white-striped moth known variously as the ‘Tropical Swallowtail Moth’ and the ‘Giant Uranid Moth’. I recalled incidents from my youth when these large moths used to appear seasonally in Singapore on damp nights. Veteran biologist Kok Oi Yee, agreed, saying the moth used to appear in large numbers in Singapore back in the 1960’s and she was sure it used to happened between May to July. Not in recent years though. With urbanisation reducing forest cover and the number of areas near forests in Singapore, perhaps it is not surprising there are fewer observations of large numbers of moths. This outbreak had us discussing the climate and the food plant, reportedly a species of Endospermum but we could not say much beyond speculation.” Large numbers of Tropical Swallowtail Moths appear cyclically, and in certain years there are significant population explosions resulting in numerous sightings. Otterman Speaks reported a sighting this past April.
Some Questions about the Tropical Swallowtail Moth
May 20, 2014 9:45 pm
1) I would just like to know how do you tell the difference between a male and female
tropical swallowtail moth Lyssa zampa (Lepidoptera: Uraniidae) ?
2) Do males and females have different period where they emerge from their chryslis?
3) What do they feed on?
Signature: Hui Min
Dear Hui Min,
We have added your questions to the featured posting of the Tropical Swallowtail Moth. We have already gotten several comments, including a report that about thirty individual were sighted at The National Library Building in Singapore. We will attempt to research your questions.