22 November 2012

Neotropical silkmoths at REGUA

Yet another moth post from REGUA in south-east Brazil, this time focusing on the incredibly beautiful and diverse silkmoths. Silkmoths, family Saturniidae, include the largest moths as well as some of the largest of all insects. Distributed throughout the world and numbering around 2,300 species, they are most diverse in the Neotropics.

Here's a few of the silkmoths that we caught at REGUA's Guapi Assu Bird Lodge back in September.

Genus: Eacles

Imperial Moth Eacles imperialis, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 20 September 2012

Genus: Adeloneivaia

Adeloneivaia boisduvali, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 14 September 2012

Genus: Syssphinx

Male Syssphinx molina, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 12 September 2012

Female Syssphinx molina, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 20 September 2012

Genus: Automeris

Male Automeris annulata, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 14 September 2012. When
disturbed this moth would face towards me, tilt forward slightly and open it's
wings to reveal the eye-like markings on the hindwings.

Male Automeris annulata, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 14 September 2012. Close
up of the head. The eyes are below the antennae.

An old Automeris cinctistriga, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 21 September 2012

Genus: Copaxa

Male Copaxa decrescens, Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, 20 September 2012. I should
have placed a scale next to this moth. It was the same size as my hand!

Some invaluable images to help with silkmoth identification can be found here.

Note, the commercially bred Domesticated Silkmoth Bombyx mori, the caterpillar of which has been used to produce commercial silk for over 5,000 years, is not a saturniid but actually a domesticated form of the Wild Silkmoth Bombyx mandarina, from the Bombycidae family.

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