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Emperor Gum Moth

Opodiphthera eucalypti
Emperor Gum Moths are large Moths found in Australia, as well as in New Zealand where they have been introduced. They have a wingspan of around 6in (15cm), and furry, reddish-brown wings with eye spots.

As Caterpillars they are born very dark, and actually turn a striking green color before spinning a cocoon  The Caterpillar stage can last weeks and even months, and during that time they feed on as many leaves as possible, as this stage is the only time that these insects actually eat.

After emerging from their cocoons, the adult moths are unable to feed, and have to rely on all that stored up energy from their Caterpillar meals. They seek out a mate, lay their eggs, and die. This stage lasts only a few weeks, maximum.

The Emperor Gum Moth is a scientifically significant insect, as it is the very first insect that science was able to develop continuous cell cultures from. The process used to do this, back in 1962, is still being used (in a modified form) today.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Australia
Size : Wingspan up to 15cm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Lepidoptera
Family : Saturniidae -- Genus : Opodiphthera -- Species : O. eucalypti

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