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Emperor Moth

Ruth Taylor (May)



I saw this female emperor moth whilst climbing at Tremadog yesterday.
Female Emperor moths fly at night but release a pheremone during the day to attract the 'daytime flying' males. The males, who can be identified by their orange hind wings, are able to detect the scent from up to a kilometer away.
In Europe they are known as Night Peacocks due to the decorative 'eyes' on the wings.
Sadly they only have a fourteen day lifespan.
They have no mouths or stomachs so they don't waste time eating eat - they just mate!

An interesting fact about the moth's cocoon is that the neck of the cocoon is extremely narrow and the emerging moth must squeeze its way slowly out of this tiny hole.

There is an interesting story that goes along with this fact. I doubt if it is true but it does help to explain the reason for the moth's struggle to exit through this tiny gap. See what you think:

One day a man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. He sat and watched the moth struggling to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck.

Then the man being kind decided to help the moth. So he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings which never developed further. It never was able to fly and pretty soon it died.

What the man in his kindness and haste failed to understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was Nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom. By depriving the moth of this struggle, he deprived the emperor moth of a correct and healthy development.






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