I seem to take most of my photos these days while walking the dogs. That’s not the easiest of circumstances: two dog leads in one hand, balancing my iPhone with the other.
Today, at the top of Mt Victoria in Wellington, it was blowing an icy gale. As we walked I spotted something in the gutter. A closer look and I took it to be a dead moth. A huge one, that I’d never seen before.
As I used the end of a dog lead to gently open the wings out I realised that the moth was in fact still alive.
It had enormous light brown wings, with darker tips and a distinctive dot, partly filled with pink, on each wing. The legs were furry, and the antennae looked like feathers.
Later, after a bit of searching at home, I found it to be a Gum Emperor-moth, Opodiphthera eucalypti:
The wing colour of the adult is pale brown, often with a rosy tinge. The wing is clothed with soft setae (bristles), giving it a furry appearance. The wing-span of the male is 85-110 mm, that of the female 95-130 mm. The most prominent features on both pairs of wings are the eye spots (Fig.4). On the forewings these are about 7 mm in diameter, ringed in reddish-brown with pink centres.
Read more about the moth at:
I managed a couple of photos. Click the smaller versions below to see them at a larger size.