ABH 68.001

Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia

BF 1643

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(Linnaeus, 1758)
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c 40-60 mm.


Males are reddish grey with two white patches on the forewings which contain prominent eye spots. There is a suffused white band at the termen of each forewing and a red apical streak. The dark eye spots on the tawny-coloured hindwings are concealed when the moth is at rest but shown when the moth is alarmed or threatened. There is a diffused blackish band towards the outer margins of the hindwings. The females are larger than males and mainly grey on both wings and has similar markings


Life Cycle

This moth flies by day and the males can be seen skipping over the moorlans at speed in search of females that shelter within the heather in May and June. Mature caterpillars of the emperor moth is lime green with yellow or orange warts, which sprout black bristles!The bright green larvae have been recorded on meadowsweet and heather. The full-grown larvae spin a tough silken cocoon attached to the stems of heather and other low-growing herbage. The pupa overwinters. Like many cocoon spinning species, they are often predated on by small mammals during the winter months.Males are active in sunshine and are seen flying swiftly and erratically over heather in search of newly emerged females. These stay concealed low down in the vegetation where they can occasionally be seen during the day. Females, which are nocturnal, are also attracted to light in small numbers.  Mid-April to late June..The fully grown caterpillar is green with black hoops containing yellow wart-like spots, and feeds on moorland plants such as heather (Calluna) and bramble (Rubus).


Emperor Moths are spectacular moths associated with heaths, bogs and moorland. , it has large eye markings which scare off predators.





 20 petit paon de nuit

  By jean-pierre Hamon (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons