🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Speckled Emperor Moth

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
~ Richard Bach

A Speckled Emperor Moth, (Wattled Emperor Moth, Mopane worm) resting on a Restios plant in my garden. It is from the Saturniidae (Silk Moths) family. I actually found her inside the house and brought her out to safety (not sure how SAFE it is...?) and she seemed quite content to just rest a while before disappearing into the thickets.
Camera : Kodak EasyShare C195 Digital

This moth is widely distributed throughout southern, central and east Africa. Across most of its distribution, the species is bivoltine, with the first generation emerging from pupation in November to December and the second in February to March, only in more arid areas is it univoltine.

Adult moths lay a single cluster of 50 to 200 eggs around twigs or on the leaves of host plants over a two month period. After approximately ten days, the larvae emerge and then pass through five instars before pupation. Instars I to III of the caterpillars are strictly gregarious and will forage together in aggregations of 20 to 200 individuals. After moulting into instar IV, caterpillars disperse immediately to become solitary. The larval stage lasts approximately 6 weeks, during which time the caterpillars undergo a 4000 fold increase in body mass. At the end of the larval stage, the fifth instar caterpillars burrow into the soil, where they undergo a period of diapause. Eclosion occurs either one or six to seven months after pupation, depending on the generation. The non-feeding adult stage lasts only two to three days, during which time the only function of the imago is to find receptive mates and to oviposit.
Info from "Mopane.org"

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