Photographed this beautiful, bright, multi-colored large sized moth in a small hamlet called Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
This moth has closest resemblance to the Emperor Gum Moth (Opodiphthera eucalypti), strangely a native resident of Australia and New Zealand.
This species was formerly placed in the genus Antheraea.
The eggs are laid on a leaf either singly or several in a row. They are pale cream in color and are approx 2 mm in length. The eggs are usually laid on native eucalyptus trees but are sometimes found on introduced species such as the peppercorn, silver birch, liquid amber and apricot trees. They hatch between 7 and 10 days after being laid.
Caterpillars can usually be found on young adult leaves between October and March (the Australian Spring and Summer). When the caterpillars hatch they are black with short hairs on top of little nodes on their bodies called tubercles. The hairs are not poisonous and will not sting. As the caterpillars mature they change color each time the shed their skin (which totals to five stages in the caterpillar's appearance). The fully grown caterpillars are usually found on the highest branches of the host tree where the leaves are the youngest and easiest to digest. By the final stage before pupation the caterpillars have developed striking coloration, having a yellow/cream stripe down their bright green/blue body and nodes of red and blue. Despite this they are still surprisingly hard to spot. The caterpillar stage in the emperor gum moth's life cycle can last for many weeks, depending on the temperature and weather conditions.
When the caterpillar is fully mature it spins a dark brown silken cocoon on a branch which usually has a leaf to protect it with. When spinning is complete, the caterpillar sheds its final skin and takes the form of its pupal life stage. Within a day of spinning completion, the cocoon sets to a hard waterproof shell with a rough exterior and a smooth interior wall. Air holes can be seen along the side of the cocoon indicating that the cocoon is probably otherwise airtight. The moth usually emerges from the cocoon the following year (in Spring or early Summer) but depending on weather conditions can stay in the cocoon from anywhere between two and five years. One case has even been recorded of a moth emerging out of the cocoon after 10 years.
When the metamorphosis is complete, the adult moth regurgitates a fluid to soften the tough cocoon and then cuts a hole using sharp hooks on the base of each fore wing. The effort to release itself from the cocoon is vital for its wings to expand and dry after emerging. Pupae cut from the cocoon will hatch, but the moths' wings will never expand.
The emperor gum moth does not feed after it emerges from the cocoon, relying solely on the energy it stored as a caterpillar. Their adult life span is limited to a couple weeks in which they mate, lay eggs and die. The moths, like the caterpillars, are very striking in appearance. The emperor gum moth is a very large moth, having a wingspan of 120 to 150 mm. Females are generally smaller than males. The furless wings and body are multi-colored, but are in overall tones of pale reddish/brown. The wings are decorated with four prominent ‘eyes’ and various other markings in a symmetrical formation. The antennae of the males are feathery, while the females' are thinner and with fewer hairs.
Considering that this is the Emperor Gum Moth, it keeps me amazed at the beauty of nature as how a species resident to Australia so far away, is found in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh, in the North Eastern part of India. Not sure if there is any climatic resemblance too in the two regions oceans away :).
First of all, it looks like Emperor Gum Moth to me, Paromita. Carry out a bit of research from there, beginning with Wikipedia.
This is one of the most beautiful Moths I have seen on TN. My own experience of shooting them is very limited.
The image is a wonderful macro with perfect details and colours on the Moth's wings. The antennae in particular are well captured and look spectacular in their typical shape.
The focus has gone slightly soft at the bottom, but that is a minor nit.
Well done and TFS.