"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Emperor Emerges

I am so excited that a male Emperor moth has emerged from one of the cocoons - he really is THE most beautiful moth.

I feel so privileged to have followed the life cycle from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult. This particularly individual will be released at the nearest colony of Emperor moths. I am still hoping a female will emerge so I can try assembling (when you take the female to various locations,I shall include my garden, to see if she attracts any local males).

Emperor moths belong to the family Saturniidae which comprises around 1,300 species worldwide mainly in the tropics of Central and South America. The Emperor moth (Saturnia pavonia) is the only British species of the family. There is just one generation a year between April and late May and the males fly during the day. Larval foodplants include heathers, alder buckthorn, bramble, hawthorns and sallow although the adults do not feed. Habitats include heathland, moorland bogs, fens, hedgerows and field margins. I've never seen one in the wild but the species is common and widely distributed so they are worth looking out for.


Margaret Adamson said...

he certainly is VERY beautiful.

Countryside Tales said...

This is fantastic news! And what a perfect specimen, you must be so thrilled. I was lucky enough to see a wild one up on Dartmoor this time last year. They are truly fabulous. Well done you :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks very much Margaret :)

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT - it was a relief when he emerged as the first one a few weeks ago had crumpled wings which was very sad. Would love to see one in the wild - will have a look for some when I release him at Sutton Park.

amanda peters said...

No wonder you are very pleased, stunning moth, beautiful markings..well done.
Amanda xx

SeagullSuzie said...

Now that is exciting. I would be jumping up and down for joy-quite literally, isn't nature marvellous and well done you!

Toffeeapple said...

What a stunning creature! Well done on rearing him.

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. I am still feeling exceedingly chuffed.

SeagullSuzie - Thanks Suzie. Yes I really am excited (still). Its that "champagne type" feeling you get like when you passed an exam or driving test or just spotted a new species of bird you've always wanted to see! :)

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much - all those hours spent cleaning out caterpillar all very worthwhile now! :)

David Turner said...

He is an absolute stunner :-) I have yet to see one in the wild as well, though when I start mothing up on the moors I am hoping to see plenty of these beauties :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks so much David. They are such stunning moths - good luck with your searches on the moors and I look forward to seeing some photos :)