Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hercules Moth

Image from Rob & Stephanie Levy
The Hercules Moth is one of the largest moths in the entire world, with a wingspan of up to 27cm! While they Atlas Moth of South East Asia has then just slightly beat in the wingspan category, the Hercules does take the size award in its native tropical habitats in New Guinea and Northern Australia. The largest Hercules Moth ever found was 36cm (14.17in) across! Males are slightly smaller than the females, but their tails tend to be longer and their coloration is more vibrant.

Hercules Moth caterpillars can grow quite large as well, with some measuring 12cm in length. They are bluish green in color, and have false else that are intended to distract and confuse predators. Caterpillars are hearty eaters, with one of their favorite plants being the bleeding heart tree. They only actually consume 6-8 species of plant, despite living in dense and varied rainforest habitats.

Image from Animals Picture Archive
As adults, Hercules moths live short lives. Females emerge from the chrysalis without mouths, so they cannot feed. They only live as long as their food reserves allow, typically 4-5 days. In this time she finds a mate using pheromones, locates a good food source to lay her 80-100 eggs upon, and then dies. Tragic! Males don't do much better. They too are unable to feed, and the goal of their short life is to find a lady moth, mate, and then die.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Hercules Moth and I am now wishing I had written a blog entry on this one :)

    It is really unfortunate that such a spectacular adult moth doesn't live for an extended period of time. Although, I guess it would take quite a bit of energy to run their bodily functions.

    Thanks for the great post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...