Monday, 2 January 2017

Argema mittrei

A female Madagascan Moon Moth has emerged!  Here she is, looking stunning.  She is similar in size to the male, but a little different, most noticeably with her tails being so much shorter than the male's ridiculously extravagant ones.

With her, freshly emerged, and two new males, I thought we might be in with a chance of some babies, but despite best efforts, they seem completely disinterested.  She has now begun laying eggs, but as she has not paired with either male, sadly they will be infertile.  The mittrei lay the largest eggs of any lepidoptera - here are some with a 5p coin for size comparison.

I am resigned to not breeding my mittrei, they are not the easiest moths to pair.  I don't know how true it is, but I have read that they are only fertile for the first 24 hours after emergence.  Even if you only live as a moth for a week, being able to breed for just the first day of your adult life seems a bit extreme - you would wonder how they could survive life in the wild under such circumstances - imagine it, you've reached adulthood and emerged successfully, but only have 24 hours to find a mate or you are doomed to die without offspring.  Seems pretty harsh!!

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