Image Size: 10″ x 7-3/4″
With its prominent, intricately patterned eyespots and elongated hindwing tails, the Madagascar Moon Moth appears like a bird perched on a tree trunk. It is also a formidable adversary. Its sight is reinforced by the scalloped reddish brown bands on the anterior wings and the more diffuse pattern on the hindwings. The recurved forewing tips and outer margin on the elongate hindwing tails are a darker red-brown dusted with grayish white. The wing color is sexually dimorphic, with males predominantly green and the females more yellow. The antennae in both males and females are feathery or pectinate.
The larvae of Argema mittrei are grass colored, with long conical protuberances accented in short black and elongate yellow hairs. This moth spins a very solid gray cocoon with minute sieve-like holes.
One of the silkmoths, the Madagascar Moon Moth is, indeed, a lepidopterist’s delight, and is restricted in its range to this island home of so many unusual species.
Text by Jacqueline Miller, Ph. D., Associate Curator, Allyn Museum of Entomology, Florida Museum of Natural History and Former President, The Lepidopterists’ Society
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Located in Duxbury MA