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Saturniid Moth

Bunaeopsis arabella

Description:

A very large moth (size of my hand) that had decided to lay her eggs on the side of a tent - luckily a permanently erected tent! The next day she was still laying eggs, this time on a fence post.

Notes:

I believe this moth comes from the Saturniidae family and may be the Aurivillius fuscus but have had trouble finding any info. Any ideas?


1 species ID suggestions

bayucca
bayucca 2 years ago
Bunaeopsis arabella Lepidoptera Barcode of Life

26 Comments (1–25)

bill.oehlke
bill.oehlke a year ago

Bunaeopsis arabella has the common name of "Injured Emperor", probably because of the extensive red on the hindwings. To Karen L,
I misspelled Bunaea alcinoe in my naming of your caterpillar image. Sorry if you went looking for it under Bunae instead of Bunaea.

Sometimes female Saturniidae will oviposit off foodplant. They are actually very popular for collectors to rear because the adult moths do not feed, and adult females will lay hundreds of eggs on the insides on inflated brown paper bags for anyone who wants to collect eggs and rear the various species. The moths are very beautiful in most cases.

This particular female may have been attracted to a night light, landed where she did, and deposited some of her eggs, Sometimes females will dump a few eggs just to lighten the "payload" which might be 250-350 eggs. You can see she still has quite a heavy body.

I have been studying Saturniidae for many many years and can help with identifications of most Saturniidae adults and or their larvae.

I maintain a private membership site, called World's Largest Saturniidae
Site, where over 1500 worldwide Saturniidae species are depicted. I think all of the 45 (approximate number) Saturniidae from South Africa are depicted.


Bill Oehlke

bayucca
bayucca a year ago

Thanks Bill for confirming my ID! Uff...

RachaelB
RachaelB a year ago

Thanks Bill, I've sent you an e-mail.

bill.oehlke
bill.oehlke a year ago

To Karen L,
I had a look at the caterpillar you mention, and it belongs to the same family, but it is not the larva of Bunaeopsis arabella. It is the caterpillar of Bunae alcinoe, the Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth or African Emperor.
Bill Oehlke
very nice photo

bill.oehlke
bill.oehlke a year ago

Yes, It is Bunaeopsis arabella, one of the Saturniidae. Emperor moths is a phrase often used quite loosely. This moth can be found in the book,
"Emperor Moths of Kwazulu-Natal".
I wish permission to post the images, credited to you, on my Bunaeopsis arabella page which is part of the World's Largest Saturniidae Site??
Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com

RachaelB
RachaelB 2 years ago

Thanks Bayucca, will do.

bayucca
bayucca 2 years ago

Now that this one is getting famous you should change the common name in "Saturniid Moth". Emperor Moth is probably reserved for the European Emperor Moths, see my former comment below.

RachaelB
RachaelB 2 years ago

Thanks everyone - I didn't even know there was a blog! :-)

Sumukha Javagal
Sumukha Javagal 2 years ago

Congrats on the blog feature Rachael..!

CarolSnowMilne
CarolSnowMilne 2 years ago

What a fantastic series. Congratulations!

pamsai
pamsai 2 years ago

Congratulations Rachael... Nice to have a special spotter in the family!

KarenL
KarenL 2 years ago

Congratulations Rachael, this huge beauty is featured in the Project Noah blog today - http://blog.projectnoah.org/

MayraSpringmann
MayraSpringmann 2 years ago

Fantastic colors!!

TeresaBurke
TeresaBurke 2 years ago

How pretty!

bayucca
bayucca 2 years ago

I do not know what moths are actually belonging to the so-called Emperor Moth. To my knowledge there are only 2 moths called Emperor Moth and they are both European ones: Saturnia pavonia (Small Emperor Moth) and Saturnia pyri (Large Emperor Moth). There is even a picture of Van Gogh called "Emperor Moth", so I think I would not call your's an Emperor Moth, but a Saturniidae Moth or better in English "Saturniid Moth". I do not know if the term Arabella Moth is an accepted taxon.
http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.js...
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/em...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnia_pa...
http://www.schmetterling-raupe.de/art/py...
If you look at the wildlifetrust link it is just called Emperor moth which is not fully correct, but it is the only one (of the 2) which are occuring in the British Island. So there you might call it just Emperor Moth and in my country you would ask: Which one you mean? ;-)...

KarenL
KarenL 2 years ago

Really cool to see this moth as I spotted the caterpillar of this species when I was in South Africa - http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/707...

RachaelB
RachaelB 2 years ago

So is it's common name, Emperor Moth?

RachaelB
RachaelB 2 years ago

Thanks bayucca, your ID looks pretty spot on to me.

craigwilliams
craigwilliams 2 years ago

What a stunner! I'm curious about the choice of egg laying site. Is there a known reason why it would lay on the canvas and fence post rather than a food plant?

bayucca
bayucca 2 years ago

I am pretty sure it is a Bunaeopsis sp., although I first also thought of Aurivilius (btw. Aurivilius is the first describer of Arabella ;-)...). I think Bunaeopsis arabella looks quite fine.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 2 years ago

What a spotting - absolutely gorgeous !! Thanks

RachaelB
RachaelB 2 years ago

WOW, that gallery is amazing -thanks Martin. The Aurivillius are looking the closest so far...

MartinL
MartinL 2 years ago

This spectacular moth is a saturnidae and an emperor moth. I don't have a match for you but here's a beautiful gallery that I'm sure you will enjoy inseted. http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/kirbywo...

KarenL
KarenL 2 years ago

Stunning moth!

Ismael Chaves
Ismael Chaves 2 years ago

Beautiful!

Mpumalanga, South Africa

Lat: -25.63, Long: 30.33

Spotted on Jan 1, 2012
Submitted on Jan 28, 2012

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