Home / Uncategorized / Madagascan Sunset (Chrysiridia rhipheus)

Madagascan Sunset (Chrysiridia rhipheus)

Madagascan Sunset Moth
i.pinimg.com

Madagascan sunset moth, a day-flying species of the Uraniidae family, is indigenous to Madagascar as its name suggests. However, initially, experts regarded Bengal or China to be its place of origin that was ruled out eventually. Described in 1773, entomologist Dru Drury considered it a butterfly and put it in the Papilio genus. Later, in 1823, Jacob Hubner identified it as a moth, placing it in the Chrysiridia genus. Bright and colorful, mostly due to its wings, the moth generates an impressive and appealing appearance.

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Madagascan Sunset Moth Caterpillar
upload.wikimedia.org

The larva has a whitish-yellow body spotted in black and also red feet covered with black hairs. The five pairs of prolegs of the caterpillar are fixed to the third, sixth, and tenth abdominal segments. On the other hand, its six real legs remain attached to its thorax. On hatching, they mainly feed on the tissues situated in the middle of the veins of the leaves. Eventually, they start consuming many other things like fruit, tendrils, petioles, young stems, and flowers. They spin silk that is a part of their adaptation strategy, helping them cling on to their host plants’ leaves.

Scientific Classification


  • Family: Uraniidae
  • Genus: Chrysiridia
  • Scientific Name: Chrysiridia rhipheus

Pupa

The larva remains enclosed with the cocoon, and the pupal stage spans between 17 and 23 days.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and Appearance: When opened, the wings are black with iridescent markings of green, blue, and red. White scales remain present on the edges of all four wings, wider and more prominent on the hind wings. When closed, patches of pink and purple are also visible alongside other colors.

A variation in the pattern may occur from one species to another, and the color distribution on the wings is asymmetrical. The males are much brighter than their female counterparts.

Madagascan Sunset
static.turbosquid.com
Chrysiridia rhipheus
i.pinimg.com

Average wingspan: 7 – 11 cm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: MarchAugust (maximum); October-December (minimum)

Eggs

The eggs weigh about 1 mg and have a dome shape, with 17 projecting ribs. The females lay them near the host plants in a cluster of about 80 at a time.

Quick Facts

Other namesMadagascar sunset moth
DistributionMadagascar
HabitatDiverse, from deciduous forests to rain forest regions
PredatorsWasps, birds, ants
Lifespan of adultsNot recorded
Host plantsSpecies of the Omphalea genus (O. ankaranensis, O. occidentalis, O. oppositifolia, O. palmata
Adult dietNectars of flowering plants like Terminalia catappa, Camellia sinensis, Mangifera indica, Eucalyptus saligna  

Did You Know

  • It made its appearance on a postage stamp in 2007.
  • Because of its magnificent look, it has been a sought-after choice of collectors, also making its way into several coffee table books.
  • During the Victorian era the wings of the Madagascar sunset moth were made into jewelry.
  • Its multi-colored shimmering wings replicate the sunset, thus the name.
Madagascar Sunset Moth
i.pinimg.com
Madagascan Sunset Moth Picture
static.inaturalist.org
Madagascan Sunset Moth Image
upload.wikimedia.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *