For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Emperor Moth (Gonimbrasia belina)

Emperor moths belong to the Saturniidae family and are probably the giants of the moth world with wingspans up to 7 inches. They are the most spectacular of all and come in brilliant colors.
This one has a wingspan of 4 inches and I found it sitting amongst the leaves of a bush early in the morning before it was warm enough for them to start flying around.
Most have elaborate eye-spots on the wings and large antennae. They are attracted to lights at night but some of the species are found during the day time.
The pupa of the species are normally found in the ground where they develop.
Mopane moths belong to this same family and are eaten as a delicacy by many people.
I sometimes think that moths are as beautiful as butterflies. There are definitely some stunning species around.

28 comments:

mainly mongoose (Lynda) said...

I love that second shot; it looks like he's inviting you to dance!
I thought I'd better let you know that I have malaria (urgh!) which I must have contracted here, so if you're feeling under the weather at all, go get yourself tested.
BTW your favourite dam is currently home to about 10 hippos (including two tiny babies). Every time I walk by with the dogs, several of them come surfing toward me, bellowing and yawning, which is a bit nerve-wracking. I spend my time hastily calculating whether I can out run them to the lappa... (no chance at the moment, sadly).

Jo said...

Oh the second shot looks like he's bowing to you, Joan. Brilliant shots. I love moths and glad you share so many with us. I have never thought of a mopane worm becoming a moth Now is that obtuse or what! (LOL!) Have a blessed day. Jo

Sandra said...

moths are every bit as beautiful as butterflies and some are hard to tell apart. the emperor is gorgous enough to be called and emperor. love the close up warm and fuzzy looks. these are amazing to me.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I want a camera that takes macro :-) Stunning photos. Joan, is the caterpillar from this moth very hairy and do the hairs cause problems if touched? Diane

Craver Vii said...

I am wondering why the word "delicacy" is used for stuff that I would never put in my mouth.

I see that you held this moth in your hands. You didn't nibble on it too, did you?

Andrea said...

They are so beautiful...
When you see a moth like this the first idea could be to touch it,but they are so delicate and it's better only to admire it.

Gaelyn said...

Certainly a moth to bow down to. Its soft furry look is inviting to the touch. But much like the Emperor himself, best to just look. Great captures as always Joan.

Becky and Gary said...

How gorgeous is this! A 7" wing span. I can't imagine it! I would LOVE to see this moth. You took some awesome shots Joan. Bravo!
Love the white headband.
B.

Ida said...

Jy begin dit reg te kry dat ek van motte hou! Great shots!

francescbb@hotmail.es said...

Excellent pictures!! Super photos!!

Frank, Barcelona

http://balapertotarreu.blogspot.com

Rambling Woods said...

Oh my goodness...what a sweet face... I didn't have time to study the moths this summer with the garden, but next year for sure...

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jo. I guess when one does not take much notice of bugs (and most people dont) you never really think of things like that. I must confess that I gave it very little thought before I started taking pictures of them too. Hope you are having a great weekend.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Sandra. They are every bit as lovely but I think that most people tend to see only the dull white or brown ones and do not know about all the lovely ones there are.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. So get one. :) It is very rewarding to be able to get shots of all these little creatures. :)

No, this ones caterpillar is very smooth skinned and has skin-like ridges on it. I have seen a picture of one but never been able to find one to get shots of but I am still looking. :)

Those hairy ones you should never touch as almost all of them have barbs which stick in your skin and burn like crazy!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I would not either Craver but then I dont eat fish of any kind so I guess I am just fussy. The export of mopani worms is a million dollar trade here and most 5 star hotels all over the world have things like them and crocodile on their menues. Just goes to show what some people will do!! LOL!! No nibbles for me thank you, would rather starve or eat leaves. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are right Andrea, however I do pick these up sometimes in order to get shots of their bodies. If one is carefull, it does not hurt them at all and they fly off quite comfortable when released.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Gaelyn. This is certainly a prince in the making if not an emperor. Some of these moths are very fuzzy and quite cute.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Becky. Most of these moths are found world wide and I am sure you have them there too. They can however, be hard to find.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Dankie Ida. Die beste ding van hierdie blog is dat ek al baie mense se meening van die gogas verander het. Een vrou was in die begin so bang vir spinnekoppe en nou neem sy haar eie fotos van hulle en maak hulle nie meer dood nie. Dit it wonderlik om te weet dat ek 'n verskil kan maak in mense wat duisende myle veer bly.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting Frank.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Yes, you sure did have an eventful summer Michelle. It is so easy to attract them to gardens by leaving a light on. I was out last night doing the same thing but did not take any pictures as they were mostly what I have photographs of already but our summer is just starting so maybe later in the season I will try again.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Lynda.

Oh no!! That is awful!! I hope you are feeling better by now. Malaria is really bad as you never get rid of it. I luckily do not have any symptoms but mosquitoes never really bite me, they just buzz around my ear to annoy me. :)

LOL!! They can be scary fellow when they stare at you like that especially when you have to go past the places where they their paths out of the water are. I saw one baby when I was there and managed to get a shot of it coming out for air. I am pleased to hear there is another one too.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Joan thanks for the reply re the caterpillar. We are trying very hard to save so Nigel can retire ASAP. Afraid a camera with macro is out of the question:-( My cheap little digital will have to suffice. Diane

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Mine is too Diane. A Kodak Z710. Cheeck it out. The macro on it is fantastic!!

You are welcome to the info.

JM said...

The second shot is amazing!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jose. They came out pretty good.

Mary said...

It looks so soft. I'd like to pet it like a kitten.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are right about that Mary. On the otherhand, bears look soft and furry too and I would not want one as a pet. :)