LUNAR/MOON MOTH– Argema mimosae

Magriet Meintjes

TOLWE, South Africa

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Artist's Description

Location captured: Groenland safari’s, Tolwe, Limpopo Privince, SOUTH AFRICA

Camera NikonD50
Lens: Sigma 70-300mm DG
*_Please.. before reading the info:

I did this capture at a barbeque one evening in Dec 2008 when this Lunar Moth actually placed himself on my Grand-daughters head where she was situated under the light at the barbeque._*

LUNAR/MOON MOTH – Argema mimosae
LOCATION CAPTURED: Groenland Safari’s, Tolwe, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Giants amongst moths, including the largest moths in the world. South African species can attain wingspan of 180mm. Many have elaborate ring-like eyespots on the hind wings, reduced in some to thin, crescentic clear windows.
Antennae (especially of males) are obviously comb-like. The huge wings are cryptically colored and often have a hooked tip.
There are a few diurnal species, but most are nocturnal and readily attracted to lights.
Adults of both sexes do not feed and are short-lived, mating, laying eggs and dying in 3-5 days.
Larvae often change appearance between instars, and are as diagnostic as the adults, brightly colored and covered in spines or tubercles ( a few are hairy or entirely smooth ).
They are large and consume vast quantities of green material. Pupae usually rest in an earthen cell or (rarely) construct a cocoon.
Some larvae (Mopane worms) are eaten, others are pests on pine or blue-gum plantations (range of food plants very large) Most of 74 species in the region are abundant and widespread in subtropical parts of the country, although endemics also occur in limited areas.

IDENTIFICATION: Large (wingspan 120mm), emerald green, with yellow and red eyespots on wings.
LARVAE: Green, with thin white bands and rows of long projections on back. Cocoon silvery and pitted with small holes.
BIOLOGY: Larvae feed on corkwood ( Commiphora ), Marula ( Sclerocarya birrea and Tamboti ( Spirostachys Africana ).
HABITAT: Subtropicalbushveld. There Aare 2 broods in he southern parts of its

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