Monday, April 19, 2010

Madagascan Moon Moth Argema mittrei

Another drop dead gorgeous moth. Also known as the Comet Moth.

I swear if I ever see one I'll be prepared with a camera and a video camera. As in I'll take them with me on every butterfly house trip that I go to.

And I plant to go to quite a few.

The Comet moth (Argema mittrei) is an African moon moth, a large wild silk moth found only in the wild in certain parts of Madagascar but able to breed in captivity. In Madagascar are a few breeding areas and there are a few zoos that attempt breeding too. Some of them are quite successful.

The Madagascan Comet Moth is one of the world's biggest moth, the male has a wing span of twenty centimeters and a tail span of fifteen centimeters. As a Moth they only live for 4 to 5 days and they are only fertile the first day after getting out of the cocoon. The cocoon has holes in it to keep the future moth from drowning in its rainforest climate.

As a caterpillar they feed on eucalyptus leaves (only fresh ones, which makes it harder to breed them in captivity) and grow to a reasonable size before getting in the cocoon. They stay in there for about two to six months depending on the climate.

Makes you wonder how they breed at all if they're only fertile on the first day after emergence.

God bless them. And as a bonus you get a nice video of one:

They need to vibrate in order to warm up so they can fly. Being cold blooded they need to warm up first before flying.

I find these things gorgeous. I love them. Anyone who gets to see one let alone hold one is lucky.

I envy you all. Hopefully someday I can join you.


Khaled Selim said...

Colors, antennae, legs and even the long tail segment of the wings

are just amazing
thanks for the lovely pic & vid

Brittanie said...

Your most welcome. =)

Amazing indeed.

Kimberly said...

Hi, I found one of these in my backyard the other night...Still have it here, and took a pic. No idea where it came from, as I live in MA...It must have been bred in captivity.