Emperor Moth

Saturnia pavonia (68.001)

With a wingspan measuring between 40 and 60mm, the Emperor Moth is one of our largest and most spectacular native moths.

The males, which are smaller than the females have beautiful forewings marked in red, grey and brown with distinctive eyespots. The hindwings are bright orange also with a large eyespot. They fly during the day in April and May, searching for newly emerged virgin females with which to mate.

The larger females fly at night and are overall grey in colouration but otherwise mirror the male with the four magnificent eyespots, one each on the upperside of each wing.

The Emperor Moth overwinters as pupae within a light brown, papery cocoon. The female moth layes her eggs in batches attached to the foodplant. The distinctive caterpillars whose markings and colouration change with each instar can be found from late May through to August. The fully grown caterpillar is green with black hoops containing yellow wart-like spots.

Please note: From February 2023 all sightings records should be submitted via the iRecord Butterflies app available via the iTunes or Google Store. Find out more here: iRecord at Butterfly Conservation.