Comet moth

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Comet moth
Argema mittrei male mounted.jpg
Adult male
Argema mittrei female mounted.jpg
Adult female
Scientific classification
A. mittrei
Binomial name
Argema mittrei
  • Argema cometes (Guenée, 1864)
  • Argema idea (Felder, 1874)
  • Argema madagascariensis (Barlett, 1873)

The comet moth or Madagascan moon moth (Argema mittrei)[2] is a moth native to the rain forests of Madagascar. The species was first described by Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville in 1847. The male has a wingspan of 20 cm and a tail span of 15 cm, making it one of the world's largest silk moths. The female lays from 120-170 eggs,[3] and after hatching, the larvae feed on Eugenia and Weinmannia leaves for approximately two months before pupating.[4] The cocoon has numerous holes to keep the pupa from drowning in the daily rains of its natural habitat.[3] The adult moth cannot feed and only lives for 4 to 5 days.[3] Although endangered in the wild due to habitat loss, the comet moth has been bred in captivity.[3]

In its natural habit, larvae feed on Weinmania eriocampa, Uapaca species, Eugenia cuneifolia and Sclerocarya caffra.

Substitution plants are Rhus cotinus, Eucalyptus gunnii, Pistacia terebinthus, Pistacia lentiscus, Rhus copallina, Rhus laurina, Rhus toxicodendron, Rhus typhina, Schinus molle, Schinus terebinthifolius, Mimosa species and Liquidambar styraciflua.[5]

This moths figures on the former banknote of 1000 Malagasy ariary.[6]


  1. ^ De Prins, J. & De Prins, W. (2018). "Argema mittrei (Guérin-Méneville, 1847)". Afromoths. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  2. ^ "Comet moth". The Magic of Life Butterfly House. Aberystwyth: The Magic of Life Trust. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Rollison, Emily; Thackston, James (2003). "Argema mittrei". Clemson University Arthropod Collection. Clemson University. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  4. ^ Anon. "Madagascan Comet Moth". Heart of England butterflies. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  5. ^ Papillon-comète de Madagascar (Argema mittrei) (in French)
  6. ^ Madagascar Library