Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica

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Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Genus: Hemiceratoides
H. hieroglyphica
Binomial name
Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica
(Saalmüller, 1891)
  • Calpe hieroglyphica (Saalmüller, 1891)
  • Hemiceras hieroglyphica (Saalmüller, 1891)
  • Hemiceratoides vadoni Viette, 1976

Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica is a moth from Madagascar. It was discovered in 2006 that it frequents sleeping birds at night, and drinks their tears, using a specialized, harpoon-like proboscis.[1] Tear-feeding moths outside of Madagascar (for example Mecistoptera griseifusa in the Hypeninae subfamily), are not directly related to this species, and have evolved dissimilar mechanisms for drinking from large animals like deer or crocodiles.

The adults have a wingspan of 52 mm.[2]


This species is known from Nigeria, South Africa and Madagascar.[3]


  • Malagasy birds as hosts for eye-frequenting moths. Biology Letters doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0581
  • New Scientist: Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds (December 2006)
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Malagasy birds as hosts for eye-frequenting moths
  • Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs. New York: St. Martin's, 1988.
  1. ^ Hilgartner, R., M. Raoilison, W. Büttiker, D.C. Lees, and H.W. Krenn. 2007. Malagasy birds as hosts for eye-frequenting moths. Biology Letters 3: 117–120.
  2. ^ Saalmüller, Max, 1892, Lepideptoren von Madagaskar - Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, page 405; ref.724; fig.208
  3. ^ afromoths.net