Madagascan Bullseye Silkmoths / by Bennett Photography

A friend of mine happened to take interest in a batch of 4 exotic caterpillars that got brought into his work place, a local pet and animal store, so intrigued he decided to step outside his usual comfort zone of fish and marine life he bought the 4 and took them home to care for and feed.

A few days had passed and these caterpillar went from being hungry little nibblers, eating away at various oak leaves and the like to going more rather unmotivated behavour patterns, was it time?


The caterpllar covered themselves in silk and begun to cacoon, hardening into a husk the 4 of them become very still and lay there in wait.
Several hours passed, until one cacoon begun to move, splitting open to reveal the once was caterpillar inside had become large, hairy and somewhat different!
 

I got in touch with Ashley as I just had to go for a little shoot with these beautiful insects!

Empty Madagascan Silkmoth cacoon

Out climbed a rather beautiful Moth, later identified as a Madagascan Bullseye Silkmoth, colourful, fluffy and exuberant

 

3 of them had flourished into Moths, sadly one perished during its cacoon stage, the female was especially full of zest, fluttering around, and altogether a difficult photo subject.

However the fully formed male was less eager to waste its energy and sat still mostly, you see this breed of silkmoth only feed whilst in larvae form, once fully formed as a Moth they lose their mouth parts and with it, the ability to feed, so with only a few days worth of lifespan, their only purpose once fledged is to reproduce and lay the eggs in a suitable hatchery, of which there are dozens of, the female had laid more than half a dozen at the time I spent with them.

 

The physiology of the Bullseye silkmoth is fairly large, they are densely covered in thick orange and brown furr, which doesn't dissipate all that much dust unlike most moths, if any at all.
They have large black compound eyes, much like most of their butterfly and moth cousins, large frilly silica like antenae, which many hair lined probes on each, they have a bulky main body, with 6 long and furry legs that are home to a long hook like claw for grip, with a long thick thorax, their 4 wings are large in span, measuring about 3-4 inches when spread wide, which are covered in brown furr with very eye catching "bullseye" patterns embossed by a pink whisp line on the leading edges.

The frail wings are not designed for long life, and after just a few hours of flight begin to lose scales and furr, even fracturing at the ends and splitting, very delicate indeed

 

The female as I was taking photographs, laid about half a dozen eggs, They're tiny, about the size of a flea, mustard in colour and round, they were quite sticky to the touch which serves as a binding agent to help the parent moth attach them to a suitable surface such as branch or tree

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It will be interesting to see whether or not these eggs are successful or not in growing more caterpillars.