Saturday, January 4, 2014


Class: Insecta.  Order: Lepidoptera.  Family: Saturniidae.  Genus: Syntherata.  Species: janetta.
Common name: Emperor moth.

This large moth comes in various colour forms - they can be yellow, orange, pinkish-brown, grey or brick-red.   They have a wing span of 140mm and are found on various species of trees including mangroves and citrus trees.  The larvae feed on tree leaves.

These moths are attracted to house lights:

The female lays a row of white oval eggs (diameter of about 0.5mm).

The young caterpillars are yellow and have stiff hairs; they turn olive green and have lumpy 'bits' (tubercles) with tufts of short stiff hairs.

The caterpillar pupates in an oval cocoon.

An emperor moth on a flyscreen door:

and this photo shows its feathery antennae:

These moths are found in the Kimberleys in Western Australia, the top end of the Northern Terriroty and from Cape York in Queensland to Sydney in New South Wales.


  1. Hari OM
    They are beautiful - I have only ever seen one 'in the wild' as it were. YAM xx

    1. They are beautiful but not sure I'd want to have one flying around our outside light. x

  2. 140mm? That's 14cm, I don't think I've ever seen one of these. Even having lived in Brisbane and then twice in Sydney. I didn't know moths came this big. I've seen a few large darkish brown moths here in SA, about 7-8cm wingspan, usually around late summer-early autumn, early in the mornings. I had one land in my hair once, now there's an experience I never want to repeat.

    1. I actually went back and checked the facts and it does say 140mm. I too thought it rather large but then what we call a Christmas moth here in Perth is pretty darned big and certainly one I hate to have fluttering around me. We've had one on our front verandah for a few weeks now and one night Phil let it in but fortunately we managed to get it outside again. I hate it when they come to close.