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Brahmaea wallichii insulata Inoue, 1984 枯球籮紋蛾

Tags: insect | moth


Brahmaea wallichii insulata Inoue, 1984 枯球籮紋蛾


Brahmaea wallichii insulata is the only species of this family in Taiwan. The appearances of male and female moths are similar. The adults have a wingspan of 129~152 mm. Adults are nocturnal and phototaxic. The larvae mainly feed on plants from the Oleaceae family such as Fraxinus japonica, Ligustrum ibota, Ligustrum japonicum, Osmanthus asiaticus, and O. ilicifolius. Mature larvae pupate underground. Emergence occurs in March-April, June-August and mid-October.
The “holy butterfly,” which in fact is Brahmaea wallichii insulata, appears every March 3 (lunar calendar) on the birthday of the Heavenly Emperor at the Shoujhen temple on Alishan, boding the festive celebration. The phenomenon, according to studies, results from the abundance of Oleaceae plants around the temple and the coincidence of its breeding season during the period. The adults are attracted to the light and the incense from the temple and make the “holy appearance.”
The subspecies is distributed in Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei, and Taiwan. In Taiwan, it can be seen in Yanmingshan, Wulai, Shangbaling (Northern Cross-Island Highway), Chituan, Kwanwu, Wuchishan, Beipu (Waiping Village), Wushe, Lushan, Meifeng, Shengmu, Alishan, Fenchihu, Shanping, and Shiashan.

National Museum of Natural Science (The Digital Museum of Nature & Culture)