Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Perfect Specimen

The Hercules Moth, Coscinocera hercules, could be the largest moth in the world. It depends on how you make the measurements. Not to worry; it is indeed the largest moth in Australia.

For the past few days since the drought broke and we have been having heavy rain and wind, Hercules have been showing up at the light. It is not unusual to find males clinging to adjacent vegetation throughout the year but to find a female, and one in perfect condition, is a bit unusual. Females are larger than the males, have more robust bodies and have shorter antennae. In addition they have shorter "tails" on the hind wings.

Adding to the interest two females showed up on consecutive nights.

Hercules moth caterpillars feed on a number of trees in our area. The Bleeding Heart, Omalanthus nutans, is a common host and we have several on the property. Readers can increase the chances of Hercules moths breeding in their area by planting Bleeding Heart tree.

This specimen measured 21.6 cm across the top of the forewings.

4 comments:

Linda Rogan said...

Hi David,
It looks as if we left just a few days to early. We did get to see and photograph a male on our last morning at Birdwatchers Cabin.

I have had Bleeding Heart trees im my garden but somehow I don't think the moths would adapt to Melbourne weather as well as the tree.

Cheers

Duncan said...

Beauty!

Ian McMillan said...

Wonderful creature.

Mosura said...

Absolutely marvelous. Would love to see one.