Comet moth

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Comet Moth
Argema mittrei male mounted.jpg
Adult male
Argema mittrei female mounted.jpg
Adult female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae
Genus: Argema
Species: A. mittrei
Binomial name
Argema mittrei
  • Argema cometes (Guenée, 1864)
  • Argema idea (Felder, 1874)
  • Argema madagascariensis (Barlett, 1873)

The comet moth (Argema mittrei) or Madagascan moon moth[2] is an African moth, native to the rain forests of Madagascar. The male has a wingspan of twenty centimeters and a tail span of fifteen centimeters, 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 is being successfully bred in captivity.[3]

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

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

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


  1. ^
  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 collextion. Clemson University. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  4. ^ Anon. "Madagascan Comet Moth". Heart of England butterflies. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  5. ^ papillon-comete-de-madagascar
  6. ^