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Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Hercules Moth 

Hercules Moth
Photo: C & D Frith
Australia's Wet Tropics
Rainforest Life

Hercules Moth (Coscinocera hercules)

  • The Hercules moth belongs to the family Saturniidae.
  • It is the largest species of moth in Australia and one of the largest in the world
  • It is found in both Tropical North Queensland and in New-Guinea.
  • Males are slightly smaller than females which can have a wingspan of 25cm.
  • The males have larger feather like antenna and more tapering, tail-like wings.
  • Females secrete chemicals (pheromones) to attract the males.
  • After mating, the females lay 80-100 eggs on the leaves or stems of 6-8 rainforest plant species, which represent the moths only food plants.
  • The females die after mating and egg laying as they have no mouth parts and so are unable to eat.
  • The females live only as long as their fat deposits last.
  • The blue-green caterpillars grow to 10cm before they spin cocoons and pupate.
  • Can be seen around the leaves of the bleeding heart tree.
  • They are attracted in substantial numbers to flood lights around the Barron River Hydro Power Station.

Additional Information:

  • This species and the tropical Asian 'Atlas moth' compete for biggest moths in the world, if measured by wing area.

  • The colours are various shades of leaf browns.

  • There are, as with many in the family, small 'windows' in the wings.

  • The males have long 'tails' off the wings (right).

  • Adults are then generally seen from January to April.
    Script: Courtesy of  Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
PH & Fax: 07 4095 3754 International: 61 7 4095 3754

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