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Argema mimosae

The African moon moth (Argema mimosae) is a giant silk moth of the Family Saturniidae. Similar in appearance to the giant Madagascan moon moth (Argema mittrei), but smaller, this moth can be found widely in Eastern Africa and more locally in Southern Africa, including near the east coast of South Africa. An adult can measure 10 to 12 centimetres (3.9 to 4.7 in) across its wingspan and 12 to 14 centimetres (4.7 to 5.5 in) from head to the tip of its elongated 'tail-like' second pair of wings. Its forward wings have a distinctive grey-coloured 'furry' leading edge, giving a very rough surface, presumably for aerodynamic reasons. Apart from the eye-like markings on its wings, the colouring and shape of the wings give the appearance of a piece of foliage, especially the 'tail-like' structures of the rearmost wings which resemble a dried out leaf stem - presumably for camouflage in its natural environment.

Identification[edit]

Emerald green with yellow and red eyespots on wings. Long tail and hindwing. Larva are green with thin white bands and rows of long projections on back. The cocoons are silvery and pitted with small holes.

Biology[edit]

Larvae feed on corkwood (Commiphora), marula (Sclerocarya birrea) and tamboti (Spirostachys africana)

Habitat[edit]

In Southern Africa, especially subtropical bushveld. There are 2 broods in the southern parts of its range


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