Did you know?
The longest insect is the Stick insect ( Phasmatodea) which can grow up to a length of 200mm
The heaviest insect is the mid-African is the African Goliath Beetle( Goliathus spp., Cetoniinae) which weighs approximately 75g.
And the insect with the biggest wingspan is the tropical moths( Lepidoptera) ; which in South Africa is emperor moth family( Saturiniidae)
These magnificent moths are often seen at Buffalo Thorn Lodge with a wingspan of up to 120mm and its bright green colour it is hard to miss.
It belongs to the emperor moth family (Saturniidae) and is found along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal and around the northern borders of South Africa.
The life cycle of this spectacular moth starts with a mating pair. The female will lay a clutch of eggs and after a period of about 10 days these will hatch into caterpillars (larvae).
The caterpillar stage lasts between 6 to 12 weeks during the winter. In the next stage the caterpillar pupates into a silvery cocoon. Out of this, the circle is complete with a moth emerging again. Lunar moths are very short-lived, laying eggs and dying in 3-5 days.
The adults do not feed but the caterpillar eats vast quantities of marula, tamboti and corkwood tree leaves. Local people use the cocoons of the Lunar Moth to make ankle rattles- this is achieved by filling them with small pebbles.
Inseklopedie van Suider Africa, Erik Holm, 2008. Lapa Uitgewers
Game Ranger in your backpack, Megan Emmett and Sean Patrick, 2010. Briza Publications
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