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The Western Marbled Emperor

Avatar of koney koney - 04. February 2020 - Environment

In the few days of his short life a male marbled emperor has to find a female to mate.

Dirk Heinrich 

After the first good rains between December and February, large white-grey moths with a wing length of 6.5 to 9.5 cm appear. They are easy to recognize by the grey-brown pattern and the jagged brownish-yellow lines on the front and rear wings. A special feature is the so-called eye on the front wings, a circular mark to scare off predators.  

As soon as the rainy season begins, marbled emperor moths, as well as the western marbled emperor moth, (Heniocha dyops) are out and about in their hundreds. Ready to mate, the males are constantly looking for the slightly larger females. Males are attracted by the females’ pheromones (scents). 

After mating, the females look for a forage plant, mainly the black thorn (Acacia mellifera), and deposit their eggs in rows of six to ten. The tiny caterpillars hatch after just a few days and eat continuously until they have grown to a length of about 6.5 cm. Between March and April they pupate in the ground at a depth of 10 cm. The next generation of adult hakkie moths hatches after the first good rains from December to February. In Namibia they occur from Keetmanshoop in the south to Etosha National Park and the Kavango regions in the north and to Gobabis in the east. 

See Namibia Outdoor for more detailed information on the marbled emperor moth.

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